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Iraq walks a dangerous tightrope to relieve hydropolitical tension with neighbours

13 3 10

Daily reminders of Iraq’s tragic state of affairs are brought up across online spaces daily. The trending video of a dishdasha-clad Iraqi citizen, wading through what is left of the River Tigris – which is now ankle-deep – is just the latest. It shows, for the first time in contemporary history, people crossing the Tigris on foot.

The media’s spotlight, while permanently fixed on Iraq’s politics, has illuminated very little about the looming water scarcity crisis in the country. Iraq shares 70 of its water resources with Turkey. The headwaters of both the River Euphrates and Tigris are on Turkish land, waters Turkey has continued to harness.

Beneath political distractions, Iraq’s life source, some fear, may become permanently defunct. Hydroelectric dam projects in neighbouring Turkey are largely to blame, resulting in frightening levels of water abstraction as part of its $32 billion Southeastern Anatolia scheme.

Only two days after the filling of the Ilisu Dam reservoir resumed, Turkey halted its decision in response to official complaints lodged by Iraqi politicians and water planners. The decision was announced over Twitter by Turkey’s ambassador to Baghdad, Fatih Yildiz, to........

© Middle East Monitor