Teardrops Falling

Oil prices are pulling back as they await what Iran says will be a swift response to the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani.  The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, cried at the funeral of slain Gen. Qassem Soleimani. I rather see tears in the eyes of the Ayatollah than more tears in the eyes of parents of American servicemen and women.

Qassem Soleimani not only led a reign of terror maiming thousands and killing U.S. soldiers and had even more plans to kill Americans. He led the killing of Iranian protestors who spoke out against this regime. Retired General David Petraeus said that President Trump’s killing of Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani was “impossible” to “overstate the importance” of the U.S. military taking out Qassem Soleimani. “It is more significant than the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi. Soleimani was the architect and operational commander of the Iranian effort to solidify control of the so-called Shia crescent, stretching from Iran to Iraq through Syria and into southern Lebanon. He is responsible for providing explosives, projectiles, and arms and other munitions that killed well over 600 American soldiers and many more of our coalition and Iraqi partners just in Iraq, as well as in many other countries such as Syria. So his death is of enormous significance.”

Yet while the oil markets are worried about an Iranian response, the market has pulled back off from its highs as it is unclear what actions Iran can or will take. Because of the threats, steps are being taken to protect the flow of oil in tankers. Risk premiums are rising for freight and insurance costs for tankers passing through the Mideast Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. The UK is sending warships to protect its tankers. Reuters is reporting that, “A flotilla of oil tankers is sailing empty from Europe and the Mediterranean toward the U.S. Gulf Coast to take advantage of surging shipping rates, according to shipping sources and Refinitiv Eikon data on Monday. Eight tankers, an unusually high number, are in the Atlantic and steaming to the United States, with a capacity of up to 5.6 million barrels of oil combined. Freight rates for Aframax vessels out of the U.S. Gulf coast hit record levels last month, drawing more vessels to the region.

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