Your illustrated guide to the next world crisis, its energy roots, the issues, the players, the steps, and remedies

May 23, 2015 |

BD-TS-052515-6The Digest’s guide to the links between terror, petroleum dependence, economic stability, and military build-ups, as nations bear down in pursuit of energy security.

In March 2014, Truman National Security Project executive director Mike Breen warned, in an address at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference:

“The most dangerous fallacy going around today is the idea that the United States is going to become energy independent by pumping more domestic oil.

“Even on the most optimistic projection of oil production, the US share of global oil production vs. the the global demand will remain exactly the same, and the US will continue to be exposed to a volatile energy price based on that rising global demand, and rising global uncertainty.

“Energy traders are reacting to global uncertainty and anywhere in the world where there is instability inflicts higher oil prices here on US. There is no escape from energy politics unless you free yourself from the geopolitical equation based on global oil.”


Clark, Mabus, Woolsey warn on energy security

Former NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark, US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and former CIA Director Jim Woolsey have also taken the ABLC stage to voice their concerns about the US national security outlook — each has connected a series of events, originating in the global energy trade, to a potential threat to global stability and US security.

Global media report on the deteriorating global picture

They’ve been joined in recent months by a chorus of global media giants, reporting from the front lines of energy security and petroleum dependency.

The Guardian: Islamic State derives “millions of dollars per week” in revenue from petroleum sales.


The BBC: reported this month on “the world’s richest terror army”, highlighting Islamic State’s $2 billion oil-fed war chest.


Long War Journal: vividly illustrated one impact of petroleum dependency — in this case, helping to fund the capture and beheading of an American journalist.

The Independent: reported that convicted 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui implicated Saudi petrodollars in the funding of Al Queda, a charge the Saudis flatly deny.

The New York Times: reported that relatives of the 9/11 victims are suing Saudi Arabia over claims that “prominent members of the Saudi royal family donated significant amounts to al-Qaeda in the late 1990s”  and Reuters reports that the US government may declassify  its internal report on Saudi-Al-Queda ties.

Reuters: reported in February 2015 on $20 billion “missing” from Nigeria in the form of lost oil revenues. “Before he was sacked in 2013…Nigeria’s central bank governor Lamido Sanusi submitted to Nigeria’s parliament more than 300 pages of documentation – in the form of oil contracts, confidential government letters, private presidential correspondence and legal opinions,” supporting the claim.

The Associated Press: reported that US naval patrols of the disputed sea lanes and surveillance of artificial island build-outs have recently escalated US-China tensions.


The Navy Times: reported that “China said…it is entitled to keep watch over airspace and seas surrounding artificial islands it created in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, following an exchange in which its navy warned off a U.S. surveillance plane…The United States said its aerial patrolling was in accordance with international law and “no one in their right mind” would try to stop it.”


The Telegraph (UK): reported on “Beijing’s…numerous agreements with Brazil to bypass the dollar,” and warns that “if Beijing and Moscow drop dollar energy pricing, America’s reserve currency status could unravel…[and] that would undermine the US Treasury market and seriously complicate Washington’s ability to finance its vast and still fast-growing $17.5  trillion of dollar-denominated debt.”


MarketWatch: described the drop in oil prices as the “first strategic defeat” for Islamic State, driving down the funding for its operations.

A remedy

The Guardian: A new campaign,“Keep it in the Ground”, advises readers to divest petroleum-related assets in order to encourage alternatives to the troubles caused by dependence on petroleum.

The common point

What do these reports have in common? What’s the link between Islamic State, oil price volatility, the holding of petroleum assets, China’s rising militarization, the decline of the US dollar as a reserve currency, the Middle East-to-Asia sea lanes and shrinking, China’s rising oil imports, the dollarization of the oil trade, missing oil money, funding of international terrorism, international waters, sovereignty disputes in the South China sea, energy diversification, and biofuels? Turns out, a lot.

Download the complete illustrated guide

You can download the complete illustrated guide right here.

(Please note: some images may be disturbing to minors, please use discretion).

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