Tag Archive for 'Euphrates rivers'

As Violence Grips Iraq, Fears of Pre-Emptive Flooding Arise

Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org

“Regardless of which side might open the floodgates, it is the civilian population who would suffer in such an event, Peter Bosshard, Policy Director of International Rivers, an organization that works to protect rivers and the rights of communities that depend on them,explained to Common Dreams.

“Dams have been used as weapons of mass destruction through the ages,” Bosshard continued. “In the first recorded water war, the army of Umma, a Sumerian city state, drained irrigation canals against their enemies of Lagash in present-day Iraq, not far from Haditha Dam, 4,500 years ago. In the most infamous case, the nationalist army of Chian Kai Shek destroyed the dikes of the Yellow River in 1937 to slow the advancing Japanese army, thereby flooding hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of land and killing at least 800,000 of its own people,” he added.

Khalid Salman, head of the Haditha local council, told the Washington Post that ISIS would want take over the dam not to unleash flooding but to control the power plant powered by it, thus being able to provide a service to the local population.

“Of course they want to control the dam, which is very important, not only for Anbar, but for all of Iraq,” the Post quotes Salman as saying.

Meanwhile, violence continues to erupt in the country. Reuters reports that on Thursday battles were “raging” in the city of Tikrit, where Iraqi forces are launching a counter-attack on Sunni militant forces.”

Read more: Common Dreams

 

Leaving Water Wars In The Past, Five Middle Eastern Countries Tackle Sandstorms

Photo retrieved from: www.unccd.com

“Soil erosion, poor water management, overgrazing, and deforestation, as well as drought, another natural but worsening phenomena, all contribute to fiercer sandstorms.

Last summer, one particularly bad week-long sandstorm sent hundreds to the hospital with breathing difficulties, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty wrote at the time, according to Treehugger:

Iraq has long suffered blinding sandstorms, but several years of drought have aggravated the situation this year. The inadequate flow of water down its once-mighty rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, which are choked by dams in upstream countries like Turkey, has made things worse. Water shortages make the land dry out and become more dusty.

And despite “disputes over water from the Tigris and Euphrates [that] have long been a point of contention,” Iran, Iraq, Syria, Qatar, and Turkey have all pledged to improve vegetation and stabilize soil resources, Treehugger reported.

They will also establish a series of meteorological stations.

Hurriyet Daily News reports that “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, meeting with some of the officials, hailed the agreement on Wednesday.”

“Surely, in the near future we will witness other regional nations joining this cooperation to tackle soil erosion, air pollution and desertification,” he was quoted by the presidency website as saying.

As human survival becomes increasingly endangered by environmental instability, particularly in the Middle East where weather patterns are already extreme, we can only hope that our leaders will set aside their political hubris and embrace constructive, borderless cooperation instead.”

Read more: Green Prophet