Skip to main content

Home/ International Politics of the Middle East/ Group items tagged marshes

Rss Feed Group items tagged

Ed Webb

The weaponisation of water and Iraq's climate catastrophe - 0 views

  • From a population of half a million in the 1950s, half a century later saw approximately 20,000 remain. In the 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained the marshes to punish its inhabitants, whom he accused of betrayal during the Iraq-Iran war between 1980-1988. One of his tactics was to build dams, destroying the livelihoods of residents by withholding water. Hundreds of thousands of residents were displaced, and by the year 2000, it was estimated that 90% of the marshes had disappeared.
  • the United Nations ranked Iraq as the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change on earth
  • Residents of the marshes have stated that being granted UNESCO world heritage status has done nothing to improve their quality of life. They cite broken promises and negligence from the central government towards their plight, in regard to the constant worsening of their living conditions. These issues have provided predicaments for those whose descendants have inhabited this region for thousands of years.
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • With the majority of Marsh Arabs having already been displaced, one's choices lie between preserving history and heritage while facing debt and danger or abandoning the land in search of survival. The southern part of Iraq could end up becoming uninhabitable within our lifetime.
  • Refugees from war will become refugees once again, this time from the climate crisis.
Ed Webb

Can ISIS overcome the insurgency resource curse? - The Washington Post - 0 views

  • IS  is also gaining momentum in the struggle to control two natural resources that have defined the history of the Middle East – oil and water.
  • If control of oil has driven economic development in the modern Middle East, control of water has been a fundamental component of civilization itself. For decades, both the Syrian and Iraqi governments focused on hydrology in their bids for socioeconomic development, building a bevy of dams, canals and other infrastructure to control floods, improve agricultural irrigation and generate electricity for their populations. Denying or diverting water, though, was also tantamount to war. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) Saddam Hussein fretted that Iran would destroy dikes and dams on the upper Tigris River in order to cause flooding in Baghdad. In the early 1990s Syria and Iraq nearly went to war with Turkey over plans to divert part of the Euphrates River, and in 1992 Iraq famously cut off the water to the marshes of southern Mesopotamia in order to destroy the terrain where Shiite insurgents were hiding out. Punishing drought conditions in rural Syria may even have caused social unrest that helped precipitate the beginning of the March 2011 uprising.
  • According to New York Times reporter Thanassis Cambanis, IS  left the staff at the Tabqa Dam unharmed and in place, allowing the facility to continue operations and even selling electricity back to the Syrian government. Similarly, oil fields under IS  control continue to pump. Indeed, IS  has shrewdly managed these resources to help ensure a steady and sustainable stream of revenue. As one IS fighter told the New York Times, while Assad’s loyalists chant “Assad or burn the country,” IS retorts “We will burn Assad and keep the country.” Beside revenue from oil and water, IS  collects a variety of commercial taxes, including on trucks and cellphone towers.
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • In February 2013, IS took control of the Tabqa Hydroelectric Dam (Syria), once a showcase in Hafez al-Assad’s development plan and a major electricity source for Aleppo. Earlier this spring, IS opened up dikes around Fallujah to impede the Iraqi army as it tried to besiege the stronghold, causing flooding as far away as Najaf and Baghdad. With its recent advances, IS now controls the hydroelectric dam at Mosul, Iraq’s largest, and IS  is poised to take the dam at Haditha, the country’s second largest. With the tables turned, the Iraqi government finds itself considering a preemptive opening of the Haditha floodgates to block IS’s path.
  • Whereas resources like diamonds or drugs motivate rebel forces to take as much as they can as quickly as they can, the need to manage capital and technology-intensive natural resources has actually increased the interdependence between IS and civilians. Already in effective control of significant amounts of oil and water, the Islamic State is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Ed Webb

Climate migration in Iraq's south brings cities to crisis - The Washington Post - 0 views

  • Iraq as the fifth-most-vulnerable country to climate change. Temperatures have increased by 1.8 degrees Celsius (3.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in three decades, according to Berkeley Earth, well above the global average, and in the summers, the mercury now regularly hits 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit)
  • burning crops and desiccating marshes
  • As upstream dams in Turkey and Iran weaken the flows of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, a salty tide is creeping north from the Persian Gulf, poisoning the land
  • ...16 more annotations...
  • changing climate is forcing families to sell off their livestock and pack up for urban centers such as the region’s largest city, Basra, in search of jobs and better services
  • As hotter, more-crowded cities become the future of a warming world, a lack of preparedness will only exacerbate the discontent already fraying the social fabric
  • decades of U.S.-backed sanctions and war, combined with the weight of corruption and neglect, have left Basra’s infrastructure unable to adequately support the 2 million people the city already houses — let alone the rising tide of newcomers.
  • According to official figures, Basra province has a population of over 3 million — an increase of at least 20 percent in 10 years. And most of that growth has been in its urban areas
  • nearly 40 percent of farmers across the country reported an almost total loss of their wheat crop.
  • Social media has been awash with photos showing water buffaloes lying dead on the cracked mudflats of southern Iraq’s dried-out marshlands
  • 12 percent of residents were newcomers who had settled in Basra over the past decade, mostly because of water scarcity and a lack of economic opportunities. The number is even higher in other southern Iraqi cities, such as Shatrah and Amarah.
  • water degradation in the province cost Iraq $400 million in lost animals, palm trees and crops in 2018 alone
  • As he saw it, migration was only making the situation worse, and he felt that the slow tide of arrivals was changing his city. “Their mind-set is different; we don’t know how to deal with them,” he said. “They don’t respect the laws here.”
  • Decades of government neglect in rural areas, particularly in the education sector, have left many of the migrants illiterate.
  • often struggle to access the city’s formal labor market and instead rely on temporary employment as construction workers or truck drivers, or hawking goods from carts in the street. And their habits and attitudes clash with those of their urban cousins.
  • political leaders in southern Iraq have started blaming the city’s crime rate — as well as other problems — on its migrants.
  • A few years ago, huge demonstrations decrying corruption and unemployment were crushed with deadly force. Since then, every summer has brought scattered daily protests over authorities’ failure to provide basic services.
  • “This is how you drive these people into criminality, by discriminating,” she said. “They move to irregular neighborhoods where there’s no proper public services and no employment. And then social issues will emerge.”
  • When a heat wave forced the shutdown of Basra’s power grid in August, the homes of newcomers and longtime residents alike were plunged into darkness as millions spent sleepless nights drenched in sweat
  • “My dreams in this country are being lived by a dog in Europe,”
1 - 4 of 4
Showing 20 items per page