Water Wars in Middle East

We can consider as a starting point is the report of Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) headquartered in Washington, DC, “the Middle East’s water problem”, in 1986. In the report, there were such as the prophecies that the drought which begins due to reduced of the rivers flow in the Middle East, will increase, and water will be more valuable than oil included in the results of the research in daily life. The most interesting part of this report was that:
“Nile, Tigris and the Euphrates … In the Middle East, a future war, surely will be the sharing of the waters of three rivers …”

What happened in those years?

Saddam was massacring thousands of Kurds from 1986 until 1989. How Saddam has achieved this bloody power? In 1979, Saddam became president with a covered revolution. The same year, the Islamic revolution happened in Iran. Western countries and lead actor America, had backed the bloody war that lasted eight years of Saddam with Iran. Saddam weapons which have used between 1986-1989 did not fall from the sky, those had been American and European aids.

But, Saddam like every dictator, did not fit in mold. And, he betrayed the feeding him. He invaded Kuwait in 1990. America would not no longer be together with Saddam, and then he started to dance with Russia.

From 1990 in quickly, the statement about Israel’s water problems began to come out successively.

“Israel’s University of Haifa, Prof. Armon Sofer said, it will be war in the Middle East due to the use of water resources.” (Milliyet, 31 October 1990)

“Angry water fights were not new for the Middle East. It was related to the previous several battles three major rivers: the Nile, Tigris, Euphrates.” (Newsweek, 12 February 1990)

“Water scarcity threatens Israel.” (Shalom, Jan. 9, 1991)

“At next years in Jerusalem’s boulevards will not smell rose, and perhaps a country that Israel will be forced to abandon the image of desert bloom eye-catching. As in the old culture and inside the Negev cotton, the holy city needs a lot of water for decoration, but there is no water. (L’Express, August 16, 1991)

“Shimon Peres: Population is increasing. If we can not create the possibility to produce the water, this time we will fight for water.” (Cumhuriyet, 12 June 1991)

“One of the most important reasons of Israel’s invaded Southern Lebanon and the West Bank, these places have the rich water resources. Golan Heights are mountainous, rainy and fertile regions. It can not afford to lose these places in. Also, Israel occupied the portion of Lake Tiberias which belongs the Syria and using the whole lake. Because the sea water treatment process too costly. It even affects the inflation of Israel…

Water power can be used together to win the friendship and trade. But at the same time it is similar nuclear power, if once known by the people that you have it, it awakens in them great respect. Turkey’s water-rich regions of the Southeast. If the events in the Southeast Anatolia expand, also neighborly relations will be even more important.” (Economist, December 14, 1991)

“The Israeli Agriculture Minister Rafael Eitan: water in the region is a ticking bomb.” (Hürriyet, 14 July 1991)

“The Israeli Agriculture Minister Rafael Eitan, warns:” The water level in Lake Tiberias has never been so low any time. Water reserves of Israel under life-threatening.” (Nature, Aug. 1991)

“Israel stated that it is willing to cooperate with Turkey on GAP, Israel is deprived of water resources, but Turkey has rich in water, land and labor.” (Shalom January 29, 1992)
“Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin: I hope that the water problem is not resolved with the gun.” (Sabah, 22 December 1992)

“Western sources have pointed that the water which has begun to become more valuable than oil in the Middle East, can blow the war winds in the region by winning a strategic importance towards the 2000s.” (Cumhuriyet, 23 July 1992)

In the same year the terrorist organization PKK that is so-called defence the rights of Kurds in Turkey, was signature the bloodiest actions. PKK was busting the villages and killing children, elders, teachers and soldiers.

Those who could not live in Turkey, were fleeing to Syria, then were returning with armed again to Turkey. Some of the PKK terrorists were getting training in Germany, Greece, Italy, Belgium and France camps. Almost every west countries support them.

But, for what?

“…Many communities use the water of the Tigris and Euphrates basin or are affected by dams built on the river though. Kurds are the most affected communities. A many important rivers arise in Turkey where the population density consist from Kurds or in the control of Kurdish areas where are in safe Kurdish region in northern Iraq. As the most significant beneficiaries, Kurdish communities have the right to participate in a meaningful way in the decision-making process that will affect them. Therefore, the delegation calls to establish effective mechanisms to all relevant states to Turkey, Iraq and Syria in the region, in all negotiations related to water, the Kurdish minority and such as those affected social groups and water users to ensure the participation of the most important rights…”(1)

This quotes from Kurdish Human Rights Project (established in England) web pages documents. But now it cannot read I don’t know why. What do you think?

Let’s see Turkey’s waters that could not be shared.

UN sees the Middle East as the most problematic region of the world about water.
While Middle East Region has 5% of the world’s population, it has water resources only 1% of world. Moreover, 90% of the water resources (as in the Euphrates and Tigris for example) consist from transboundary waters in this region. Turkey is located in the midst of war, which will be released in this case.

Euphrates River arise from Turkey. After entering Syria going out from Turkey near Birecik, Balik and Khabur River, which are included of main source of the Euphrates, join it. Therefore, 98% of the Euphrates stems from Turkey. However, Syria argues that Balik and Khabur stem from its territory. Syria’s contribution is actually only about 11%. Iraq does not make any contribution to the water of Euphrates River, but Iraq is using 44% section of the river waters. While water contribution to the Euphrates of Turkey is 89%, Turkey is using only around 35% rate. Despite Syria contributed 11% on the Euphrates, Syria is using 21% of the river water. This rate increases with the Southeastern Anatolia Project(21 dams over the Tigris and Euphrates in Turkey) That’s why, Syria and Iraq seriously worried because of this situation. Tigris also arises from Turkey as the Euphrates; is leaving the border with Turkey near Cizre. Hezil waters of the Great Zab which are arising from Turkey, is joining the Tigris in Iraq. Tigris water had contributed to the 40% of Turkey, Iraq ‘s contribution is around 60%. Tigris is after leaving from Turkey, without going into Iraq, it forms 50 for 60 km the border between Turkey and Syria. This waterfront Tigris get Syria to benefit from the contribution of the Tigris water does not eat at all. Syria which get the opportunity to benefit from the Tigris this shore, does not contribute to Tigris water at all.

The problem Iraq and Syria with the dispute Turkey over starts in in the terminology of water. While Turkey claim the Euphrates and Tigris are”transboundary waters” as being right, Syria and Iraq, argue them as “international waters,”. Thus, they are trying to restrict Turkey’s rights of the Euphrates and on the Tigris. While Turkey accepts the amount as it sees fit “allocation of water”, Syria and Iraq, want to share the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates will connect with the agreements states. This difference of opinion creates breaking point of the problem for Turkey.

In fact, Turkey came under obligations on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in Treaty of Lausanne(1923). It is written in a manner that will protect the interests of Turkey’s water in Lausanne. More particularly, various protocols were signed during the World War 2. After 1946,1947,1976 and 1987. However, these agreements and protocols in Turkey, the Tigris and Euphrates defined benefit industrial and agricultural purposes which prevents Ankara obligations under the put provisions, were not included. About transboundary waters, there is no international rules in a comprehensive and all disputes that can be applied to determine the rights and obligations of the riparian states…

The United Nations and the European Union since 2006, wants to the Euphrates and Tigris waters are “international waters,”; not “transboundary waters”, and publish reports on this issue. The importance of water for the communities and countries, is undeniable. However, while helping a country, if the damage to other countries, this assistance is doubt the innocence.

Already the EU handle the Euphrates and Tigris subject as two separate basins, also Jordan’s basin to include Euphrates, only shows that EU protected the interests of Israel. Indeed, the underlying reason of the base of the attempt to become dependent on foreign of Turkey’s political as well as economic, mainly because water that is seen as a pretext for war after oil. How else could be interpreted that USA is trying to make Turkey economically dependent by using US’s own children IMF and the stepchild UN and the World Bank, and occupy the agenda of Turkey by using another countries data? (2)

Israel has obvious a serious water problem, has not it? This is not about Syria, Iraq or the puppet state Kurdistan, which will established by the United States in the interests of Israel.

There has been water problem which couldn’t been solved between Israel and its neighboring countries which Jordan River stakeholders, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, for years. The biggest causes of the problem are the drought which has been surrounding the region since 1988, and the withdrawal of the waters of the Jordan River. Jordan River water level has fallen below the red level which is considered to be alert in the framework of the national security concept. In 2001 the level of the river water has fallen below 215 m above sea level. If the every 30 cm level falls is correspond to 10% of Israel’s annual water consumption, is considered, it will be easier to understand the experience of water shortages of Israel. According to the estimates; If the current agricultural production to continue in the coming years in Israel, 210 million cubic meters water will need more than the current drinking water, and 375 million cubic meters water will need more than in the amount of agricultural and industrial, in 2020. (3)

Palestinian’s viewpoint: the words of “Minister for Imaginary Water”

Palestinian Water Authority Chairman Sheddad El Atili is giving a great fight against the water problem in the region. El Atili who is proclaimed himself “Minister for Imaginary Water” complains that Palestinian could not even open a single well without the permission of the Israel…

West Bank hills have the caves and crevices, where filled with the accumulation of rainwater. Groundwaters are creating only natural water source in the region. Israel which uses these reserves since the 1950s, holds the control of the region since the Six-Day War in 1967, and thus holds the military control of resources. While annual per capita is using 57 cubic meters of water in the Palestinian territories, Jewish settlement in the Israelis can use it quintuple the amount of this water. Palestinian Water Authority Chairman Sheddad says:
“I do not have the luxury to waste even a drop in the West Bank. But the situation is worse than in Gaza where the world’s largest prison is. About 2 million Palestinians live at there, due to the blockade Israel has imposed; they are not able to reach the water which deserves the definition of ‘drinking water’.”(4)

Golan Heights where Israel occupied in 1967 war and has been received back a small portion of it in 1973, are creating another problem which is increasingly complex due to related policy the underground and aboveground water sources in the region. According to information which is given by A. Arsan who is Water Works Director of Kuneytr (Syrian town at Syria- Israeli border), the Israeli administration continues to use the Banyas and Kadı River waters which are under occupied Golan region and south of the Sheikh mountain, despite UN decisions.

Despite UN decisions stating that Israel should withdraw from the Golan Heights, 4 dams were built in order to supply the water needs of residents who are placed in this area by Israel. However, because of some dams have been very close to the points on open fire and were built on the rivers which are flowing towards Syria, the water problem grown steadily.

Like a joke: Israel is not aware the dams which built by itself.

Arsan stated that they received a response letter from UN, after Syria brought this problem to the UN. And according to letter, “the other side, so that Israel was not aware of these dams”.

Who cares Genava Convention

According to the Geneva Convention on the use of waters by any occupier position (in this case Golan Heights are in occupied) also is prohibited. Syrian side is accusing Israel of stealing water under this contract. In addition to this, it is known that Israel takes various taxes from Syrians who are living around the lakes that Israel draws water, in return of using the lake water.

As well as the use of 750-800 million cubic meters of water per year of Israel, recently another issue emerged in Syria about the mixing sewage into the waters. Kuneytr Governor Riyad Hijab, drawing attention to a new problem, which will begin to take effect in the coming years, “the Israeli side is burying nuclear waste in the soil of the Golan and in the areas close to Syria,” he says. (5)

Do you still believe the war of the Middle East emerged out from petroleum? Do you still believe the Kurdistan which will established by US is interested in Kurdish rights?

(1) http://www.khrp.org/khrp-news/human-rights-documents/2003-publications.html

(2) Cumhuriyet Strategy Journal

(3) http://akademikperspektif.com/2013/12/31/ortadogunun-su-problemi/

(4) http://www.ntv.com.tr/arsiv/id/25451106/

(5) http://www.haberturk.com/dunya/haber/602277-suriyenin-golan-tepeleri-ile-baslayan-sorunu

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27 thoughts on “Water Wars in Middle East

    • Yes, some countries are “water-rich”, while the others “water-poor”. But even in this subject, there is a distinction on the planet, dear ars. The distinction in here is not because of the using of water resources, is coming out over sharing and running. So, while a European country can use surface water resources for the country’s own sake, for example, when Turkey wanted to do same thing, (in spite of there are numerous treaties since 1923 about this issue, and although Turkey did not violate any of them) Turkey is faced with unfair and unlawful impositions of the Europe, America, United Nations. Because, “the reasons for the existence of the countries should not be for their people” for them. Each country in this region should serve to capitalism or Israel’s interest which is more important for them, in their minds. If it does not serve, they are trying the attempts to change the map of the region geography with the decades-old war time and terrorism, and millions die.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Unfortunately, we already see these things happening with petroleum, so I suppose in the sphere of conflict, water will serve as the “new oil.” In America, I don’t necessarily see a war coming around the corner but in the Middle East it seems so. Most of our water problems are linked to big corporations like Nestle and agricultural companies sucking the natural water dry in the name of financial gain, all at the expense of people living there (California especially).

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s why the American people can not empathize with the Middle East, is not it? If it happened, if they had a water fight in front of the doors, then they would understand the pain.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. If we put an end to capitalism and the monetary system and each country shared those resources they have in abundance, no one would ever have to worry about not having enough of anything. Water is a basic human right which no one should be deprived of!

    Also, I was looking at Izmir on the map and I see you have a KFC on Mustafa Kemal Sahil Blv. That doesn’t seem like a fitting tribute to the Father of the Turks!

    Both you are ars are very lucky to live on the coast. I live in south western Ontario. I’m about an hour away from Lake Ontario, but it’s not the same as living near the water.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Water sharing in the region trying to be made in the interests of Israel. This is the main problem. Imperialists and United Nations that drawn of the place of the state of Israel and the border at once now they’re pointing to Turkey with saying:
      “If you don’t share your waters as we wish, it would be worse to you.”
      Who are you; what do you think you are!

      And, I didn’t know KFC at there:) I guess, you have much more information about Izmir more than me:) And, there are a lot of thing which is unfit Atatürk’s legacy in Turkey. Also, an hour away is not too much, my Earthling friend. But of course, it would not same sea coast. I am sorry for you:(

      Liked by 1 person

      • In my opinion, you should eat regional foods, sea foods or the vegetables foods which made with olive oil 🙂 For example, stuffed mussels, they are making great in Izmir. Look at:)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I try to eat mostly regional foods, but it can be difficult in the winter, when we have to import much of our food.

        I’m actually a vegetarian. When my health problems first started I had a very difficult time digesting meat. It got to the point where eating meat made me very sick, so I cut it out of my diet completely. I’m now trying to eat as natural a diet as possible, including olive oil everyday ;), and I have cut out almost all processed foods.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm, so you’re vegetarian. I could have been, but I cannot imagine the life without eating sea foods my Earthling friend:) Also, olive oil is right choice. The best olive oil is made in countries bordering to the Mediterranean. But I think inside these countries, Greece and Turkey have the best olive oil on this planet. And now everywhere, it is hard to reach natural food.

        Liked by 1 person

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