When the Bush Administration invaded Iraq in 2003, it was promised that Iraqi Kurdistan would be developed into one of the most productive oil and natural gas regions in the world, and the profits would be used to win the war and rebuild the country. Fourteen years later, those dreams lie in tatters. What happened to the oil wealth?
Based on exclusive troves of documents and sources in the Iraqi and U.S. governments, investigative reporter Erin Banco tells the story of how rampant corruption and gross mismanagement have sucked billions upon billions of dollars from Kurdistan’s and Iraq’s oil coffers — and how local people are suffering as a result.
Erin Banco is a Middle East reporter whose first book is Pipe Dreams: The Plundering of Iraq’s OilWealth, which will be published by Columbia Global Reports in November 2017.
Banco has been covering armed conflict and human rights violations in the Middle East for six years. She covered the revolts in the region and the war in Syria. After graduating from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, she was a fellow at The New York Times and then the Middle East correspondent for International Business Times, breaking stories on the rise of the Islamic State group and on the Free Syrian Army arms program. Banco also traveled to Gaza to cover the war with Israel in the summer of 2014. More recently, Banco began covering the Islamic State group's economy by tracking illicit oil sales in Turkey and Iraq.
She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. She has appeared on MCNBC and Fox News and is an advocate for greater protection for journalists in conflict zones and speaks frequently on the topic. She lives in New York City.