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Tracking the global fallout from the Russo-Ukrainian war
An investigation published in Esquire, a change of venue, and an award.
"Frankly, fuck Delta Crescent," a senior diplomat at the National Security Council told me.
That virtually sums up the history of a shadowy, maligned and doomed wildcatting spree in Syria. My 10-month investigation into oil, State Department-sponsored profiteering and desultory altruism was published in Esquire in November.
Before I dive a bit deeper into that, an announcement: I’ve joined Coda Story, a publication covering ongoing global crises from various angles apart from the daily news cycle, as a contributing editor. I’ll write a weekly newsletter beginning in January tracking the global fallout from the war in Ukraine. You can sign-up here.
I’d be grateful if you’d join me. Tips are also welcome.
(Before any of you are auto-subscribed in the migration effort, you can usubscribe below.)
My reporting on the Delta Crescent story was part of a package of stories I wrote over the last year for which I received, at a panel in London hosted by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the 2022 Kurt Schork Freelance Award. I remain indebted to many of you and the organizations, including the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, for their support and guidance over those years of reporting two of the winning stories.
The Esquire story grew out of a Daily Beast story I’d written in 2021, and had become more relevant since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Amidst a global energy shortage, this is the story of the three men behind Delta Crescent Energy who figured that even oil from a war-torn autocracy was worth exploring. That is, until they became caught in a battle between the Pentagon, the State Department, & the president.
But this lesson won’t be learned. The Office of Foreign Assets Control at the U.S. Treasury later issued a new general rule for the region. It allowed for the very thing it banished, under different auspices.
America’s greatest export—and fallacy—is its ideology of optimism, which comes with a promise of solidarity to any who pays. Today that means working alongside inconvenient partners and authoritarians. But to remain reliant on them for energy when conflict erupts invites exploitation.
Thanks for reading.
Get in touch with tips or comments @ http://kennethrrosen.com/secure