Saturday, January 7, 2006

The Role of Water in the Iraq War

I found his piece that describes the role of water in the Iraq war to be very enlightening. I know it seems like common knowledge, but it is rarely addressed and I'll bet it is rarely even thought about. But, how much carnage has taken place so that we can control the water supply in the desert?
"Consider for a moment why we have not heard the mainstream media or the President mention the role of water in the Iraq war. The Middle East is home to five percent of the world's population and only one percent of the world's renewable water supply... [the] population, comparable to the population of the United States, is on track to double in just a few decades... Iraq is a critical strategic location for both al Qaeda and the United States not just because of Iraq's oil, but because Iraq has the most extensive fresh water system in the Middle East... Understanding the role of water in the Middle East explains why there is no exit strategy from Iraq and why many Middle East experts predict the United States will be in Iraq for decades. Even Donald Rumsfeld, with a track record of being overly optimistic about the cost and duration of the Iraq war, is now setting expectations that the war will continue until 2017... Pieces to the puzzle, like the locations of the 14 "enduring" or permanent military bases and likely duration of the American occupation, can suddenly become crystal clear when you consider the locations of the Euphrates, Tigris, Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers. One only need look at the Nasiriyah "enduring base" on the Euphrates in South-East Iraq to understand the strategic value of water. The truth is that in addition to oil, water is a real reason for the invasion of Iraq... Don't be fooled by the occasional messages that our troops will leaving in a few years. The Pentagon is planning on occupying Iraq for decades. The Pentagon's long-range strategic plan is likely to require an American occupation far beyond Donald Rumsfeld's optimistic 2017 forecast.


Anonymous said...

With 6.5 Billion and counting, the role of water in geo-politics cannot be underestimated...anywhere. Nonetheless, intersting post. I hadn't noticed the interesting fact about the bases.

sevenpointman said...

Howard Roberts

A Seven-point plan for an Exit Strategy in Iraq

1) A timetable for the complete withdrawal of American and British forces must be announced.
I envision the following procedure, but suitable fine-tuning can be applied by all the people involved.

A) A ceasefire should be offered by the Occupying side to representatives of both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite community. These representatives would be guaranteed safe passage, to any meetings. The individual insurgency groups would designate who would attend.
At this meeting a written document declaring a one-month ceasefire, witnessed by a United Nations authority, will be fashioned and eventually signed. This document will be released in full, to all Iraqi newspapers, the foreign press, and the Internet.
B) US and British command will make public its withdrawal, within sixth-months of 80 % of their troops.

C) Every month, a team of United Nations observers will verify the effectiveness of the ceasefire.
All incidences on both sides will be reported.

D) Combined representative armed forces of both the Occupying nations and the insurgency organizations that agreed to the cease fire will protect the Iraqi people from actions by terrorist cells.

E) Combined representative armed forces from both the Occupying nations and the insurgency organizations will begin creating a new military and police force. Those who served, without extenuating circumstances, in the previous Iraqi military or police, will be given the first option to serve.

F) After the second month of the ceasefire, and thereafter, in increments of 10-20% ,a total of 80% will be withdrawn, to enclaves in Qatar and Bahrain. The governments of these countries will work out a temporary land-lease housing arrangement for these troops. During the time the troops will be in these countries they will not stand down, and can be re-activated in the theater, if both the chain of the command still in Iraq, the newly formed Iraqi military, the leaders of the insurgency, and two international ombudsman (one from the Arab League, one from the United Nations), as a majority, deem it necessary.

G) One-half of those troops in enclaves will leave three-months after they arrive, for the United States or other locations, not including Iraq.

H) The other half of the troops in enclaves will leave after six-months.

I) The remaining 20 % of the Occupying troops will, during this six month interval, be used as peace-keepers, and will work with all the designated organizations, to aid in reconstruction and nation-building.

J) After four months they will be moved to enclaves in the above mentioned countries.
They will remain, still active, for two month, until their return to the States, Britain and the other involved nations.

2) At the beginning of this period the United States will file a letter with the Secretary General of the Security Council of the United Nations, making null and void all written and proscribed orders by the CPA, under R. Paul Bremer. This will be announced and duly noted.

3) At the beginning of this period all contracts signed by foreign countries will be considered in abeyance until a system of fair bidding, by both Iraqi and foreign countries, will be implemented ,by an interim Productivity and Investment Board, chosen from pertinent sectors of the Iraqi economy.
Local representatives of the 18 provinces of Iraq will put this board together, in local elections.

4) At the beginning of this period, the United Nations will declare that Iraq is a sovereign state again, and will be forming a Union of 18 autonomous regions. Each region will, with the help of international experts, and local bureaucrats, do a census as a first step toward the creation of a municipal government for all 18 provinces. After the census, a voting roll will be completed. Any group that gets a list of 15% of the names on this census will be able to nominate a slate of representatives. When all the parties have chosen their slates, a period of one-month will be allowed for campaigning.
Then in a popular election the group with the most votes will represent that province.
When the voters choose a slate, they will also be asked to choose five individual members of any of the slates.
The individuals who have the five highest vote counts will represent a National government.
This whole process, in every province, will be watched by international observers as well as the local bureaucrats.

During this process of local elections, a central governing board, made up of United Nations, election governing experts, insurgency organizations, US and British peacekeepers, and Arab league representatives, will assume the temporary duties of administering Baghdad, and the central duties of governing.

When the ninety representatives are elected they will assume the legislative duties of Iraq for two years.

Within three months the parties that have at least 15% of the representatives will nominate candidates for President and Prime Minister.

A national wide election for these offices will be held within three months from their nomination.

The President and the Vice President and the Prime Minister will choose their cabinet, after the election.

5) All debts accrued by Iraq will be rescheduled to begin payment, on the principal after one year, and on the interest after two years. If Iraq is able to handle another loan during this period she should be given a grace period of two years, from the taking of the loan, to comply with any structural adjustments.

6) The United States and the United Kingdom shall pay Iraq reparations for its invasion in the total of 120 billion dollars over a period of twenty years for damages to its infrastructure. This money can be defrayed as investment, if the return does not exceed 6.5 %.

7) During the beginning period Saddam Hussein and any other prisoners who are deemed by a Council of Iraqi Judges, elected by the National representative body, as having committed crimes will be put up for trial.
The trial of Saddam Hussein will be before seven judges, chosen from this Council of Judges.
One judge, one jury, again chosen by this Council, will try all other prisoners.
All defendants will have the right to present any evidence they want, and to choose freely their own lawyers.

Ken Grandlund said...

The need for potable water is just one of the many resource challenges we'll be facing (and fighting over) in the forseeable future as our world population continues to grow unchecked.

Hell, even in our own western states, water rights and access are a major problem and cause for bickering.

One potent example can be found where the Colorado River leaves our country and trickles into Mexico. There simple isn't anything left by the time it gets there. We've diverted all of those resources for ourselves, when they once flowed straight through to the Sea of Cortez. Now those in Mexico are water poor because of our inability to share resources equitably.

There are more important things we need as humans than oil or money. One of these days we'll see some really ugly problems- uglier than those happening today, if that can be believed.

Mike of the North said...

One of the major motivating factors in the leftist swing in South America is the continuing efforts of companies like Bechtel to privatize water supplies. Go figure!