Middle East Water War

Are Water Wars Coming to the Middle East?

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted May 31, 2012

According to a BBC report, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki warns Arab states could be heading down a path of water wars should the countries not work together to solve this problem.

At a press conference in Baghdad, Prime Minister Maliki said the issues that need to be addressed to avoid conflict are “desertification, poor water management and the need for many Arab states to rely on the goodwill of upstream states for river water.” The latter point is especially important given the amount of conflicts that have arisen due to the Arab Spring in addition to preexisting tensions. For instance, at this very press conference, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority accused Yemen of wasting water on irrigating qat plants, which is a recreational and legal stimulant popular in the country.

In addition, a report funded by the Swiss and Swedish governments found Iraqi marshlands have been reduced by 50 to 90% from 1960 to 2000.

While the US Director of National Intelligence believes a global water war wouldn’t be likely in the next 10 years, the risk will increase because the demand for water would exceed current supplies by 40% by 2030.