Water has always been a vital resource in the Middle East2

Water has always been a vital resource in the Middle East2...

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Water, not Oil. Matthew Lunger International Politics of the Middle East 2 December 2007
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Water has always been a vital resource in the Middle East; wars have been fought and continue to be fought over this, the most basic, of resources. The Middle East makes up around 14% of worldwide landmass and nearly 10% of the global population yet its renewable water resources are only 2% of the worlds (Aquastat 2007). In many ways the politics of water affect the security of Middle Eastern countries even more than oil. Oil is the most plentiful resource of the region, and affects the international policies of every country in the world, while water, the scarcest resource of the region affects the relationships between the states more directly than oil. Water is the lifeblood of society. Due to transnational rivers and aquifers, international diplomacy is necessary to help solve the issue and prevent future conflict in the region. This research requires the financial backing of the Middle Eastern states and international organizations, which they can easily provide with their vast oil revenues, and deep pockets. The water resources of the Middle East are incredibly scarce, and have been the source of feuds for thousands of years. Water scarcity in the Middle East is not being solved with time, with populations in the region booming, water politics are growing in their already significant importance. Now is the time that the governments of the Middle East, and other countries throughout the world, invest in their future through increased research in desalination technologies. Improved desalination will provide time for the region to stabilize and for international supported sharing agreements to be put into place. Only with investment and with outside assistance can the water crisis in the Middle East be managed. The distribution of water in the Middle East varies greatly with each sub-region. Northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula each receive less than 10 mm/year of precipitation, while Central Asia and Mesopotamia each have more abundant water
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resources because of the rainfall from the mountains in the Himalayas and Turkey respectively. However, these totals are all relative. The worldwide average for annual water resources per capita is around 7000 m³/year. Despite all the rainfall and runoff from the mountains the rainfall from the more “wet” sub-regions averages 2300 m³/year, or 36% of the worldwide average. Just for a benchmark, the average water resources of the “dry” sub-regions is about 300 m³/year, or just less than 5% of the worldwide average. (Aquastat 2007) The average water resources are the naturally formed freshwater sources, such as aquifers and rivers. Another issue at work in the region is the dependency of countries on one another. For example, Kuwait has no natural water resources of its own and is completely dependant on water that flows into it from other countries, in this case ground water flowing from Saudi Arabia. This is also the case in many of the
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course INR 4714 taught by Professor Emecki during the Spring '08 term at FSU.

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Water has always been a vital resource in the Middle East2...

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