(NEW YORK) -- Before the U.S. takes any of its presumed military action against Syria, the oil markets are already reacting, and not in a positive way for consumers. Fears that the Middle East could become destabilized and block the flow of oil sent the price of crude up to $109 a barrel Tuesday, an 18-month-high.
Prices actually began their upward movement during the past three months over fears that the Syrian conflict would spread outside its borders along with the current turmoil in Egypt, following the ouster of the country's Islamist president in early July.
A possible military strike against Syria wouldn't necessarily target its limited oil fields. However, industry analysts are worried that big oil producers Iran and Iraq could be affected, creating a shortfall of supplies that would further drive up the cost of crude and send prices at the pump in the U.S. soaring, at least temporarily.
Meanwhile, Libya, another oil supplier, has been hit lately by protesters stopping oil production in some of its fields. Political turmoil between the government and Islamic militants has also put Libya in a state of flux.
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