The real threat of resource war is over water, starting in the Middle East

Will Water Pressures Spark the Next Middle East Conflict? | Defense Spending

In this volatile arena burgeoning populations are outstripping supply, in the process creating a looming freshwater crisis. Such a crisis may herald the very resource wars prophesied by environmental scholars, think tanks and government agencies. In such a fragile region the upheaval caused by water disputes in one area could threaten to spill across borders, dragging multiple nations into conflict.

With water a necessary and finite resource, industrialized nations such as Israel are pressed to improve their water-use technology while insuring hydrological capabilities and supply are not infringed upon by rivals. In other words, water security – both in terms of infrastructure and sources – is an imperative for the tiny state as its consumption rises due to improved living standards and a growing population.

Meanwhile the conflicting pressure caused by declining supply and increasing demand in the Arab world is aggravated by poor management and inefficient usage at the national level. Countries such as Jordan and Syria are running out of clean water, while Egypt has become more and more protective of its supply of Nile River waters.

Wars over water resources are not altogether a new concept in the Middle East. The Six-Day War of 1967 was in part an Israeli response to a Syrian attempt to dam the Yarmuk River, which feeds the Jordan River – itself a crucial water source for Israel. Altogether some 30 military clashes over water have occurred since the Israeli state was founded. These have alternately involved Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese attempts to divert waters flowing from the Banyas, Dan, Hasbani and Yarmuk rivers into Israel. Feuds between Jewish settlers and Palestinians over a well in the West Bank city of Nablus back in March resulted in the shooting death of a Palestinian by Israeli forces.


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11 comments on “The real threat of resource war is over water, starting in the Middle East

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  1. It’s not going to be war for water in or around Israel. There’s been trouble before, and there still some now, with the settlers glomming a lot of water in the West Bank, but Israel’s population is outstripping the water supply and the Israelis have been building large desalinization plants, enough so that they’ll be able to supply more than half, perhaps as much as 3/4 of the expected demand.

    Saudi Arabia is also into gigantic desalinization projects.

  2. @ fuster:
    guy had also sortsa watersports goin on tho, not just Izzys and Soddis. Had too Yemany Yemenis and unwell wells, irate Iraqis and Turks on a tear…

    others say it’s the Chinese who have the real problem looming…

    others say it’s very large numbers in other lands… maybe I’ll see if I can get my cousins who are into that scenario to re-brief me at the MacLeod Xmas gathering.

  3. It’s raining here and the pond is full, so we have all the water we need. I’m prepared to sell at 50 cents a cubic meter, shipping and handling not included.

  4. It’s not apocalyptic, it’s just mismanagement and subsequent blame shifting,by the part of the Hashemites, since King Saud evicted them from the Keeper of the Shrines, and seat of authority in Arabia

  5. The Israelis are in the forefront of desalinization technology. Desalinization is a necessity, given the increasing population of the world. Israel will enable life to continue on Planet Earth. The Israelis will never be forgiven for this if the information becomes available. The press is doing its best to hide the progress Israel is making, however, unaware that by doing so they are helping Israel to survive.

  6. @ CK MacLeod:Well, old sog, the slaughter at the water hole is a song been sung since forever and return to forever ain’t gonna be but small and sporadic….with a chance of being called for rain.

  7. @ George Jochnowitz: George, what Israel is doing with the technology is great, but it’s not like the israelis have been entirely unselfish in their actions. They’ve been a little unfair in the way that they’ve grabbed the west Bank water away from the Arab population.
    On that fine day when a peace treaty comes and the occupation ends, I harbor some suspicion that it’s going to be the Saudis, not the Israelis, who’re going to be paying to replace the West Bank water and that the Israelis are going to attempt to continue pulling out water.
    IIFC, one of the lesser-known provisions of the Barak offer to Arafat is that the water would not to equitably shared out.

  8. @ fuster:
    It’s important to the Saudis for the Palestinians to remain a running sore and thus a way to delegitimize Israel. The Saudis have never attempted to ease the plight of the Palestinians–ever–although the cost to them would be trivial, considering their wealth.
    The Saudis, as Wikileaks has shown, know that they have nothing to fear from Israel and everything to fear from Iran. They secretly urge the US to bomb Iran, but they publicly refuse to recognize Israel’s existence, to say nothing ot its right to exist.
    It’s entirely possible to have a de facto alliance with a state one hopes will eventually be destroyed.

  9. @ George Jochnowitz:George, it’s time for you to reconsider. maybe it’s possible that the Saudis have a de facto alliance with a Palestinian people and the Saudis really don’t much care whether the Palestinians ever establish a state. Perhaps the Saudi interest doesn’t run much deeper than insuring the continued existence of and free access to the Al-Aksa mosque.
    If the Israelis and Americans are going to counter the Iranians, the Saudis are going to want the I/P questioned settled and aren’t going to require the Israelis to sign off on more than a little.

  10. Nasser was their original sponsor, the fedayeen emerged from there, but the Saudis took over the account in short order, although the GRU’s Sakharovsky, chipped in with Fatah’s financing, Later on, under General Simenov, the Cuban DGI provided training camps, and of course
    the govts of Lebanon and Tunisia respectfully provided sanctuary

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