By Theodore Shoebat
Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. (Revelation 9:12)
The government of Iraq is restricting the use of water for farmers, only allocating water for fifty percent of Iraqi farmland. This disaster is made worse by the fact that Turkey has been building dams on the Tigers and Euphrates, and taking water from the two rivers. Now the situation is so severe that Iraqi farmers are pushing their government to start importing water from Turkey.
The Hurriyet Daily News published an article on the situation, and there are some excerpts I would like to show:
Iraq has banned its farmers from planting summer crops this year as the country grapples with a crippling water shortage that shows few signs of abating.
Citing high temperatures and insufficient rains, Dhafer Abdalla, an adviser to Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources, told The Associated Press that the country has only enough water to irrigate half its farmland this summer.
But farmers fault the government for failing to modernize how it manages water and irrigation, and they blame neighboring Turkey for stopping up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers behind dams it wants to keep building.
Farmers staged demonstrations against the moratorium. In one instance, they forced the closure of a levee along a branch of the Euphrates River to let the water levels rise for irrigation.
They demand the government secure more water from Turkey, fill the country’s reservoirs, and drill into the nation’s aquifers.
About 70 percent of Iraq’s water supplies flow in from upstream countries. Turkey is siphoning off an ever-growing share of the Tigris and Euphrates to feed its growing population in a warming climate. And it is building new dams that will further squeeze water availability in Iraq.
Syria is expected to start drawing more water off the Euphrates once it emerges from the yearslong civil war.
Turkey started filling its giant Ilisu Dam upstream in June, then paused the operation until July after pleas from Baghdad. Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry says it has enough water behind the Mosul Dam to guarantee adequate flow for a year, but experts say the Ilisu could take up to three years to fill, depending on rains.
So Turkey — as part of its decades long Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) — has been building dams throughout southeastern Anatolia while taking water from the Tigris and Euphrates, and at the same time Turkey is conducting a policy of military expansionism into Iraq. While Turkey has a military presence in Iraq, it is already taking resources, making Iraq more and more agriculturally impoverished. The US’ invasion of Iraq and its toppling of Saddam led to major instability in the country, causing a ripple effect of violence into Syria. With Syria is in chaos, this has enabled countries like Iran and Turkey to take advantage of the situation and enter the country. With Iraq in horrible conditions, due to war, the situation has enabled Turkey to take water from the region, and Iraq’s condition is so bad that farmers are asking water from Turkey. In other words, the declining water supply of Iraq is only giving more political leverage to Turkey to become the rising power in the Middle East.
Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolian Project has been criticized for flooding villages, giving Turkey control over water, desertification and pushing people out of their villages. As one researcher has said:
Opponents of the project criticize the privatization of rivers, the limitation of the right to use water, expropriation of private lands, eviction of villages, depopulation, desertification, clearance of forests, and the submerging of historic homes and cultural sites. GAP has also been harshly criticized in the past for flooding villages and displacing the inhabitants. From the perspective of Kurdish inhabitants in particular, there have been occasions where GAP had brought more instability to the region and its citizens than peace and happiness. In addition, GAP has an international dimension. It has been criticized for being a project that enables Turkey to control the flow of water to downstream states, and thus to build dominance over Iraq and Syria.
According to journalist Alex Kemman, there are academics in Turkey who believe that the dams — while being portrayed as a means to economic growth — are actually part of a war strategy by the Turkish government to fight against the PKK:
I was there in 2013 and 2015 to investigate a series of state-funded dam projects that locals believe will be used for military purposes. Some academics have reported that the so-called “security dams” are actually part of a broader war strategy by the Turkish government, to counter the PKK.
The General Directorate for the Turkish state owned company behind the construction of the dams, State Hydraulic Works (DSI), admitted that the dams are “security dams against the PKK.” The head of DSI, Veysel Eroglu, is a major backer of Erdogan’s Islamist AK Party, and he is also a huge supporter of Turkey’s military operation in Syria, exclaiming early this year:
“Our hero is an army, it has captured important centers at this moment, we will never allow the terrorist organization to form a corridor, America is notwilling to set up such a terrorist state in Mexico, besides, we will not tolerate this.
He also said: “it is a pride of our soldiers to run to martyrdom as if he is going to play.”
So the company behind the building of these dams, State Hydraulic Works (DSI), is ran by a member of Erdogan’s Islamist AK Party who believes in jihad. The building of the dams, then, is a part of Turkey’s geopolitical jihad.
PKK terrorists, in 2012, reportedly set 22 trucks on fire, and construction workers have been kidnapped by these militants. Regardless, that Turkey is building dams that lower the water supply of Iraq, and thus push Iraqi farmers to ask for water from Turkey, does indicate a strategy of war, not just to defeat the PKK, but to give Turkish political preponderance in the Middle East.
Turkish power rising in the Middle East can be, to a great extent, attributed to US policy. With the Saddam regime toppled, it created a power vacuum. With destabilization plaguing Syria, this also created a political power vacuum. This gave Turkey the green light to enter Syria, and now it is entering Iraq. The United States is facilitating Turkish expansionism with its recent agreement with Turkey on the “Manbij agreement” which esteems Turkey as a partner to bring stability to Syria. As Hurriyet Daily News reports:
The Manbij Roadmap agreement between the U.S. and Turkey about power-sharing in the northern Syrian city of Manbij will be “part of the political resolution,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on June 27.
“They [Turkey] will ultimately be part of political resolution there and an important part. And we need to recognize that and do our best of work alongside them,” Pompeo told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on funding for the State Department, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
The plan was announced after a June 4 meeting in Washington between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Pompeo.
The deal focuses on the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Manbij and on stability in the region. Turkey deems the YPG as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.
The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on June 24 that the two countries’ forces conducted patrols separately in the west of Manbij. The first patrols by Turkish and U.S. troops in the region began on June 18.
So the United States used Kurdish militants to defeat ISIS, and now is getting warm with Turkey by siding with the Turks against the Kurds. Turkey is the most powerful country of the Muslim world. Of course it is going to get the permission to rule, because it is the preponderating and superior force.
Removing Saddam was the catalyst to this vicious filling of power vacuums and the stealing of water by Turkey which would have otherwise been used to enrich Iraq’s agriculture. And although Saddam did conduct policies that were destructive to Iraq’s farming (like diverting rivers to dry out marshes to root out political dissidents), the reality is that Iraq under Saddam was in a much better state agriculturally. Said K. Aburis has written:
“Operating through loyalists within the Ministry of Agriculture, Saddam introduced an admirable land reform programme. Trade unions loyal to the party were allowed to function and, although unable to question the overall government policy, they did address themselves effectively to the issues of workers’ conditions and pay. An extensive social security system was introduced, and steps were taken towards improving health care.” (Saïd K. Aburis, Saddam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge)
Before the Iraq War, Iraq had a very strong agricultural economy, being one of the largest producers of dates on earth. Amnon Cohen and Noga Efrati write:
“From being one of the largest producers of dates in the world thirty years ago, Iraq’s crop dropped to such a level after the war that the ministry of agriculture began to consider importing dates. Productivity is down to about half the level of the mid-1980s, in part due to lack of technology and water, and whereas there were 150 date processing factories prior to the 2003 invasion, there are now only six, with most Iraqi dates now packaged more than 800 miles away in the United Arab Emirates.” (Amnon Cohen & Noga Efrati, Post-Saddam Iraq)
Kamran Mofid also writes on how Saddam focused much on making Iraq agriculturally self-sufficient:
“In 1980 the importance and potential of agriculture in Iraq’s overall development was once more highlighted when Saddam Hussain declared that agriculture was Iraq’s ‘permanent oil’ and that he wanted to see the country become self-sufficient and a net exporter of food within this century”. (The Economic Consequences of the Gulf War)
The water conditions of Iraq are getting so bad that there have been actual cases of gun battles between people over water, as the financial times reports. The Turks are being backed by the Europeans in their dam making enterprise. An Austrian company, Andritz AG, is taking part in this in cooperation with Turkey. European and American actions are enabling Turkey to dominate the Middle East. Be prepared for the next Ottoman Empire.