Op-ed

Genie Oil and Gas: what WCU students need to know

Genie Oil and Gas is most likely a company you have never heard of, however, it has the most unbelievable Strategic Advisory Board. It consists of the heaviest hitters in the political, news, and financial worlds respectively.  Genie Oil and Gas has brought together Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch (founder of News Corp which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and many more media outlets), Jacob Rothschild (banking/investing mogul), Dr. Lawrence Summers (Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton and Director of the National Economic Council under Obama), former Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (who helped pass the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Bill while she chaired the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources), former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson (who also served as the Clinton administration’s Energy Secretary), and finally former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey (who co-founded the U.S. Energy Security Council).

In 2013, Genie was granted exclusive oil and gas exploration rights to a 153-square mile area in the southern part of the Golan Heights. Genie’s contract for the Golan Heights region quickly paid off, and in 2015, Yuval Bartov, the chief geologist of Genie’s Israeli unit, announced, “We’ve found 350 meters thick in the southern Golan Heights.  On average worldwide, strata are 20 to 30 meters thick, and this is 10 times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities.”  Bartov later put the discovery in simpler terms; the oil reservoirs they discovered has “the potential of billions of barrels.”

To give a little context about this discovery of oil in the Golan Heights, Israel took control of the Golan Heights region (460 square miles near the border with Syria) after the Six Days War in 1967. Israel soon began building settlements in the occupied region, displacing occupants. The Heights were officially annexed by Israel in 1981, and the expansion of the occupation continues despite international opposition and multiple U.N. resolutions opposed to the growing settlements. Ever since Israel occupied the Golan Heights, it has hoped to gain access to that area’s significant oil and gas reserves. However, developing these reserves has remained elusive.  Israel is illegally occupying the area, which renders any extraction of resources from the area illegal as well. Nevertheless, Genie has gone ahead with drilling and, with the heavy hitting cast of characters on Genie’s board, Genie has been largely shielded from public criticism. 

Many know or at least have heard the Iraq war was fought over oil, but what Genie is doing in the Golan Heights is an example taking place right now that clearly proves that bankers, media moguls and politicians most people have never heard of are conspiring behind the scenes purely for their own benefit.  My hope in writing this article is that the public learns about how these corrupt leaders of the political, media and finance worlds are working together to exploit chaos, suffering and death to enrich themselves.  The residents being pushed out for Genie’s drilling and Israel’s expansion of settlements in the Heights have little hope in fighting back against the superior Israeli fire power. Politicians and media pundits don’t give this issue the attention it deserves, but the humane and empathetic people of the world must stand in solidarity with these people going through unspeakable atrocities in Syria and spread the word until everyone is aware and these villains can no longer pull strings from the shadows. 

Chris Cunningham is a third-year communication studies major. CC900349@wcupa.edu

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