“Assad promoted water intensive crops such as cotton, while not providing efficient methods of watering such crops. There were many such policies that created a scenario where the drought’s effects were even more devastating than they otherwise would have been,” “say Mohtadi.
“So one can’t say climate change will create a domino effect of instability and migration whatsoever – but Syria’s case is a warning that developing nations… should create sustainable agricultural policies.” I spoke with Shahrzad Mohtadi to find out more about the devastating drought in Syria and what other Middle Eastern nations need to do to protect their dwindling water resources – and their political stability.
You have studied quite a range of subjects ranging from micro-finance in post-Soviet Tajikistan to the political transition in Myanmar. What is it that attracted you to study climate change in the Middle East?
The Middle East is a region that grips many for its political drama. As the region already suffers from a chronic water shortage and political divisions remain fierce, climate change is yet another factor that could provoke instability. Climate model uniformly predict that the eastern Mediterranean (in political terms – the Middle East) will very likely have less rain in the future. If nations in the Middle East don’t begin implementing sustainable policies for farming and water intake that take into account future drying, the problems in the region will grow even larger.”
Read more: Green Prophet