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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Jun 9, 2010

The Iraqi Water Scarcity

Recently, Iraqi officials expressed their concern about Syrian plans to divert some of the water from the Tigress River for a new agricultural development project. If this project is implemented, it will have an impact on the Iraqi water share of the river. The Tigress River starts in Turkey and flows into Syria, Iraq and the Gulf.

The flow of water of the Tigress has decreased due to the construction of dams in Turkey and also due to the drought that has contributed to the dry weather of the past few years. Iraq began to experience more droughts and less water flow in both the Euphrates and Tigress Rivers since the 1970s.

Furthermore, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the destruction of its infrastructure by American bombs have led to the deterioration of the quality of water, including drinking water. Water, which is not recycled from public sewers, tends to find its way into rivers and underground water reserves. This contaminated water has been a major cause of child illness and death. The U.N. (UNICEF) pointed out in a report that 70% of child illness in Iraq is attributed to polluted water. During the past 3 years, the International Red Cross has been involved in helping Iraq with various water purification projects. Furthermore, the Iraqi government has been trying to repair what the war destroyed to bring the quality of water to an acceptable standard (al jazeera.net. 5/27/2010).

The problems of water shortages in the Arab world were noted in several previous posts. Nearly 65% of the flowing water in the Arab world starts beyond its boundaries. Furthermore, the recent conflict between Egypt and Sudan with the Nile River basin countries regarding water sharing created major concerns, especially for the Egyptians who depend on the Nile for 95% of their water needs.

This situation and others led the Water Research and Study Commission of the Arab League to meet (May 24-25, 2010) to discuss and develop a strategy regarding water sharing of rivers that flow through international boundaries (al jazeera.net 5/27/2010).

Furthermore, Arab scientists and water experts have warned that the Arab world is facing the increasing challenges of the availability of water due to climate changes and population growth. The experts recommended the creation of a water strategy for the Arab world in order to meet the coming water challenges.

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