Defining the Geopolitics of a Thirsty WorldSM
The Beginning of Water Wars? / Water for Arms

We reported earlier that Spain was recently forced to consider importing water from France by boat to address a severe drought affecting Barcelona. As noted in a separate article, the proposal is interesting because it turns a local drought into an international situation where water scarcity can escalate conflicts, if not bring about water wars.

“…People may not fight over water,” says Mark Zeitoun, from the London School of Economics’ Centre for Environmental Policy and Governance in the UK. “But that’s not to say water shortages will not contributing to existing tensions.”

This is already happening. Zeitoun advises the Palestinian authorities in their water negotiations with Israel. The latter controls 90% of the two territories’ shared water resources. “The fact that the Palestinians are deprived of their water doesn’t help the situation,” Zeitoun says.

Like Spain, the Palestinian authorities are considering their options, and like Spain one of them is to import water – in this case from Turkey, a country which is already involved in its own water disputes with Syria and Iraq.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers start in Turkey and supply Syria and Iraq. The Turkish government is building dams on those rivers, reducing the flow downstream and stoking long-standing tensions with its neighbours. “Iraq desperately needs that water,” says Zeitoun.

Turkey already exports water to Cyprus and in 2004 signed a “water for arms” deal with none other than Israel, an agreement which sees Turkey deliver converted oil tankers full of water to Israel in exchange for tanks and air force technology….”



This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2008 at 2:47 pm and is filed under Iraq, Israel, Spain, Turkey.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. 

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