Biden Considers Another Kind of Withdrawal from Syria

( In the wake of lifting sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline while creating barriers to US energy production, the Biden Administration has now decided to cut off leases allowing US energy companies to invest in petroleum production in North and East Syria.

In 2019 the Trump Administration waived rules that prohibit US companies from doing business in Syria in order to allow US energy companies to facilitate Syrian oil production.

One such company that benefited from this waiver was Delta Crescent Energy – a disabled veteran-led American energy company with both special operations and petroleum experience within Syria.

Delta Crescent Energy applied for an oil investment lease in 2019 after the Trump Administration announced the waivers. And in 2020 the Treasury Office of Foreign Investment Control granted the lease for Delta Crescent to redevelop oil fields in the Kurdish-led regions of North and East Syria.

This lease came up for renewal in April 2021, and despite the company’s success and its support within the Kurdish-led region of Syria for its continuing the work, the Biden Administration only extended the lease for 30 days setting it to expire on May 31, 2021.

As the lease extension expiration inched closer, both the Kurdish region’s Syrian Defense Force and the Syrian Democratic council have personally reached out to the US State Department pleading that Delta Crescent Energy’s license to be renewed.

But their efforts failed.

On Thursday, May 27, the Biden Administration announced that it will not renew Delta Crescent Energy’s investment lease. Moreover the Biden Administration has signaled the waiver prigran put in place by the Trump Administration will no longer continue.

According to Delta Crescent Energy’s CEO John Dorrier, the company had $2 Billion in contracts to sell oil to the international market that benefited US allies in Northeastern Syria.

It was the objective of the Trump Administration to prevent ISIS from gaining control of lucrative oil fields. But not just ISIS. Maintaining control of the oil fields in North and East Syria would also prevent Iran, Russia and even China from moving in.

Bashar al-Assad and his ally Russia were stringently opposed to the presence of American energy companies in the Kurdish-led area. They denounced the move not long after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced it in 2019.

The Biden Administration ending the waivers and letting these oil production leases expire is good news for Vladimir Putin, though not so much for the US or its allies in Northeastern Syria.