Iraq’s water shares and their impacts between the climate change and the political decision

Tayseer A. Al Alousi
2023 / 5 / 25

There are countries in the region that make their sovereign and pioneering decisions by adopting in their strategies measures to confront climate change and protect the demands and needs of their people. The vitality of Egypt and UAE in this domain can be observed in the scale of deserts transformed into orchards, date palm plantation, and strategic crop farms, using modern technologies, and the management of their water resources. However, there is another reality in post-2003 Iraq, as its successive governments neglected the water file, among many other files.

By monitoring the internal and external policies of those Iraqi governments, the failure of the approach to safely manage water is noticeable. Consequently, the way was paved for both Iran and Turkey to insist on applying their water policies. Iran cut off dozens of tributaries and turned them into local rivers without regard to Iraq’s binding rights and its shares of those rivers, while Turkey decreased the amount of water released, which does not meet the much-needed water for agriculture and livestock breeding, and does not reach a quarter of the Iraq’s water rights determined by treaties.

There is only little water left in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, which has been polluted by waste and the remnants of the Turkish factories and fields, let alone the unjust Iraqi consumption of water, which is unregulated with the well-known modern investment techniques.

Moreover, water consumption in Iraq witnessed cases of poisoning affecting people and animals-;- for instance, the hundreds of thousands, who were poisoned in Basra, and the fish farms that were totally destroyed, in addition to the exacerbation of desertification after the disappearance of the green belts surrounding the cities!!

The alarm bells have repeatedly sounded. Citizens are only hearing misleading promises, while the problem persists in light of the imbalance of investment budgets on the one hand, and the peasants leaving their land without anyone to farm it on the other hand. Even people who remained were almost forced to abandon their villages and countryside after the livestock died, and the land ruined.

The dilemma does not lie in the climate change alone. The political approach of the successive governments neglected to rotate the wheel of the economy, whether industrial´-or-agricultural, which posed as a heavy obstacle to investing the water share that is released. It also deprived the country from the opportunity to store its resources due to the lack of the appropriate infrastructure, and wasted the possibility of benefiting from its water by letting it scatter in the Arabian Gulf and the deserts of the country!

Thus, the internal and external political decision riskily controlled the water share, which was coupled with the Iraqi official silence on cutting off rivers by Iran and the unfair transgression of Turkey on the Iraqi shares!!

After this explanatory note, it should be asked: Isn’t it the right of the Iraqi people and their human rights organizations to sustain national and international campaigns to demand everything that is related to Iraq’s rights in its waters, as it is an existential issue that does not accept procrastination´-or-postponing!?

Dr. Tayseer Abdul-Jabbar Al-Alousi
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