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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.

Nov 9, 2010

The Decrease of Water Supply in the Arab World

The Arab National Environmental annual meeting was held in Beirut, Lebanon on November 4th, 2010. The preliminary report written by Dr. Muhamad al-Ashari, reflects that there are 19 countries worldwide who suffer the most from the shortage of fresh water. 13 of these are Arab countries. Also, 19 out of 22 Arab countries are classified as water poverty stricken. Nevertheless, the 13 Arab states the report listed tend to have nearly 700 cu. met. per person per year. The world rate is 6,000 cu.met. per person per year. The Arab environmental report reflects that the 13 Arab states will have a severe shortage of water by the year 2025, which is projected to be around 500 cu.met. per person per year. According to the report, the global climate changes will have a negative impact on many regions around the world. The Middle East and North African regions will be among the hardest hit areas. Scientific projection revealed that there will be less rainfall, higher temperatures, dryness and more desertification in the Arab world. Yemen is classified at the bottom of the water poverty scale.

Recently, UNESCO issued a report reflecting that nearly 7.6 million Iraqis are suffering from the shortage of fresh clean water to drink. Furthermore, 83% of its sewage water finds its way into rivers. The Iraqi invasion in 2003 destroyed most of the infrastructure, especially in urban areas. The reconstruction and repairing of the damage caused by the war is progressing at a very slow pace. The UNESCO report revealed that 24% of the Iraqi population cannot get clean fresh water to drink. Furthermore, the decrease of water flow in both the Euphrates and Tigress rivers added to the shortage of water. Also, the drought Iraq has been experiencing for the past 7 years has added to the problem. (aljazeera.net, 11/2/10).

Egypt is also classified as a water poverty stricken state, where the average water available is around 700 cu.met. per person per year. The Arab Environmental Report noted that by the year 2025, the availability of water will drop to 500 cu.met. per person per year.

The agricultural sector consumes 83% of the water in Egypt. The rest is consumed by industry and human use (www.ahram.org, 11/4/10). It is very unfortunate that the government is moving at a very slow pace reforming the irrigation system in Egypt. The Egyptian farmer is still using the same method of irrigation as his ancestors did thousands of years ago. Agricultural experts stated that the same amount used in agriculture at the present time could irrigate around 27 millions feddan if the modern irrigation system is applied. These statistics should be viewed in light of the continuous population increase, the global climate changes and temperature increases. Furthermore, Egypt imports nearly half of its wheat from abroad. As I have indicated in previous posts, none of the 22 Arab states are food sufficient. Political leaders of the Arab world are in a deep sleep and those who are planning to do something about these challenges are moving at a very slow pace.

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