The Water Wars begin

I’ve been hearing the doom merchants telling us that the ultimate weapon that we will use against each other is water.

I’ve observed over the years the growth in privatisation of water supplies, usually by multinational corporations selling bottled water, often to the detriment of the people who naturally assumed that a local water supply would always be available, and was somehow free of commercialisation.

So it appears we are now seeing step two.. Water isn’t just bought then sold. It’s withheld as a weapon of deprivation with the intent to kill.

Take a look at this article.

As Islamic State militants wage a violent campaign for power in Iraq, they are exploiting water resources as a “weapon,” experts say.

“The Islamic State militants who have rampaged across northern Iraq are increasingly using water as a weapon, cutting off supplies to villages that resist their rule and pressing to expand their control over the country’s water infrastructure,” the Washington Post reported.

The dynamic has led U.S. forces to repeatedly bomb the militants close to the Mosul and Haditha water facilities, Iraq’s largest dams. Control of the dams is important to the militants because they want to create the image that they are building a real state, according to the report.

The dry weather in Iraq raises the stakes when it comes to water resources.

“In the desert, water is life, and that’s especially true in the areas of Iraq and Syria controlled by the Islamic State. Two great rivers – the Tigris and Euphrates – both cross through territories under ISIS control. Those rivers are a source of drinking water, irrigation and electricity for people in the region. ISIS has been struggling to gain control of water so they can use it as a weapon. Indeed some of the most intense fighting has been for control of the most Mosul dam, the largest in Iraq,” NPR reported.

Middle East security researcher Matthew Machowski explained that power over water is fundamental to the militants’ goals.

“Water is obviously one of the most important commodities in the Middle East and particularly in Syria and in Iraq. ISIS has used water since the beginning of its campaign. And we have to remember that in order to create a state, one doesn’t only control a geographical area. You have to establish the industrial base behind it and the infrastructure. And water infrastructure together with electricity infrastructure is obviously the most important,” he told NPR.

Iraqi air force pilots have tried to reach their own troops with water, but sometimes it has wound up in the hands of militants. One such aid drop was “meant to help Iraqi soldiers desperately fending off jihadist fighters near Saqlawia in the western province of Anbar,” the Daily Mail reported in October.

“The error raises further questions about the effectiveness of Iraq’s fledgling air force at a time when the U.S.-led coalition will be depending on its military to help push back the insurgency,” the report said.

 

OUCH.