By Walid Shoebat
Drought that began in 1998 in the eastern Mediterranean, especially in Turkey, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the West Bank was likely the worst of the past nine centuries, according to a study from NASA.
Its called The Levant drought. The study found that the 1998-2012 period was drier than the previous driest interval in the time period in question, which occurred during the years from 1205 to 1219. In other words, this was the driest 15-year period of the last 900 years, and a 98 percent likelihood that it was the driest 15-year period of the last 500 years.
This is a worrisome prediction for the Pentagon and intelligence community, who see water stress and population growth as two factors that are likely to tip the scale toward more conflict and humanitarian crises in the coming decades.
And its not only in the Levant. North America, Europe and Australia lost about 20 percent of its crop from droughts since 1964 and 2007.
Richard Seager, a researcher at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Observatory in New York stated:
“[The study] truly backs up our contention… that the Syria drought was unusual and influenced by human-driven climate change. As such, it places more confidence in model projections that drying will continue and intensify across Middle East in coming decades and, yes, cause more trouble in a water scarce area”
While I always replace “climate change” to “God decided to change the climate”, by 2011, drought-related crop failure had pushed up to 1.5 million displaced farmers to abandon their land; the displaced became a wellspring of recruits for the Free Syrian Army and for ISIS and al Qaeda. Testimonies gathered by reporters and activists in conflict zones suggest that the lack of government help during the drought was a central motivating factor in the antigovernment rebellion. Moreover, a 2011 study shows that today’s rebel strongholds of Aleppo, Deir al-Zour, and Raqqa were among the areas hardest hit by crop failure.
In other words, drought changed the economic, social, and political landscape of Syria. Iraq, already reeling from ISIS and sectarian tension, could be next.
What also plays a major factor besides drought is the human factor. Keep in mind that the fall of the Ottoman Empire between the eighteenth century to the mid nineteenth century was caused by revolts which disrupted the established food supplies of the empire and caused large-scale famines to starve the major cities on a regular basis. In response, the urban populace became a restless, misruled, and anarchic mass that broke loose at the slightest provocation, responding to unemployment, famine, and plague with riots and summary executions of the officials considered responsible. This caused the Ottoman collapse.
What the Ottomans did in pouring their wrath on Christendom finally caused God to pour His wrath: “until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (Daniel 9:27) (more on that on our coming Sunday Special)
There will be no difference between the collapse of this first beast and its resurrected version of the Caliphate soon to arise, except that this unfolding will happen at a much faster pace as final “birth pangs”.
The Bible predicted that a war will erupt where Turkey with other Muslim nations will invade Jerusalem over the issue of food (Ezekiel 38:13) and that the price of wheat will skyrocket “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius …” (Revelation 6:6)
In other words, this Syrian drought, and the cataclysmic conflict that has been a related result, may be just the beginning of a long period of water stress and instability in the once-fertile Levant region.
This year, Morocco’s drought wiped out half of its wheat harvest — devastating a country where even the King has called on the nation to pray for rain. The driest start to winter in two decades in the center of the country has decimated crops in Africa’s second-biggest wheat grower, where just 15 percent of fields are irrigated. Imports may double to a record next season to account for the reduced harvest, a Bloomberg survey of six analysts showed.
Moroccans consume more than three times as much wheat as the global average, eating it in everything from thick soups to filo-dough pastry. The grain is a staple in North Africa, where higher food costs and shortages in the past six years helped trigger unrest that led to the toppling of governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The drought evoked King Mohammed VI to lead rare national rain prayers after normal Friday worship for a second time in January.
In Turkey, despite all the talk to cover the problem of a dramatic rise in output, the country has kept importing wheat as the locally produced wheat is of low quality due to unproductive seeds. The productivity level can be increased through certified seeds, according to sector players. The quality problem in wheat production has, however, not been resolved.
“Around 50-60 percent the wheat production is made with certified seeds. That’s why we cannot reach the desired productivity levels. Turkey imports wheat to produce flour as its productivity levels are low. Besides, we need to wait for rainfalls as we cannot do irrigated farming. This also affects both production and quality negatively,” said Agriculturalists’ Association of Turkey (TZD) Chairman İbrahim Yetkin.
WHILE TURKEY HURTS CHRISTIAN RUSSIA WILL POUR OUT GOD’S WRATH
While Turkey has ‘bad wheat’ Russia opposes genetically modified food (GMOs). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ukraine and Russia are expected to export 39 million tonnes of wheat in the 2015/16 marketing year, a massive 14 percent increase on the record volume of 2014/15. The United States is undeniably bringing up the rear, as it expects to export the lowest wheat volume since 1971/72.
But perhaps what will unfold these biblical prophecies to cause the skyrocket of prices for wheat is not just weather patterns. The continuing geopolitical tensions between Turkey and Russia and export restrictions and deteriorating domestic infrastructure are “pinch points” which will disrupt commodity flows, causing food price spikes and “severe and sustained disruption of critical food supplies”, according to analysts at Chatham House, who are mapping the risks in food commodity trade.
The shipping route from Russia that Black Sea wheat now goes through “is a highly tense region”, says Rob Bailey, research director of Chatham House. Russia exports wheat all the way to Nigeria and Mexico, which have traditionally bought US wheat.
Keep in mind that the increased output of wheat from Russia and Ukraine is sending U.S. exports to a 44-year low, further eroding the appeal for American growers who already are mired in the longest income slump since the 1980s.
As that region depends on Russia and as grain flow from the Black Sea grows, a disruption on the Bosphorus would have a severe impact on international markets. Other transport “chokepoints” for commodities from the region include the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden. 90 per cent of Russian wheat exports go through the Bosphorus. Factoring in harvest shocks from droughts so that “a quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius” becomes a fact.
Mounting tensions between Moscow and Ankara are worrying some analysts including an escalation of the Ukrainian situation or a flashpoint in Turkey, that could imperil the passage of ships through the Bosphorus.
And Turkey plays a major role in cutting off water. Kurdistan’s and Iraq’s sources of water are mainly the Tigris and Euphrates, both of which come from outside the country. With this weakness point, and all the troubles going on in the country, Turkey has been working to control the sources of water by building several dams to gain more influence over Kurdistan and Iraq and use this to achieve more political and economic pressure.
In the early 1900s, the American journalist Alfred Henry Lewis famously wrote that there are only nine meals between men and revolution. As the water resources available for agricultural production decline precipitously across the Middle East, we ignore Lewis’ observation at our peril. The Tigris-Euphrates river basin, which feeds Syria and Iraq, is rapidly drying up. This vast area already struggles to support at least ten million conflict-displaced people. And things could soon get worse; Iraq is reaching a crisis point.
Shoebat.com last year reported that between 2003 and 2009, the Tigris-Euphrates basin comprising Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and western Iran “lost groundwater faster than any other place in the world except northern India”. We also have the risk of war between Egypt and Ethiopia due to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, threatening to restrict Egypt’s access to the Nile River, which supplies 98% of Egypt’s water supply.
Turkey, Syria and Iraq are biblically doomed:
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared,” (Revelation 16:10).
The Euphrates stems from Turkey downstream to Syria and Iraq. Egypt too will suffer from the Nile being stopped:
The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry. The canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither, also the plants along the Nile, at the mouth of the river. Every sown field along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more. The fishermen will groan and lament, all who cast hooks into the Nile; those who throw nets on the water will pine away. (Isaiah 19:5-8)
“A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius …” (Revelation 6:6)
The price of wheat is addressed in Scripture at a silver denarius per quart for a reason. In New Testament times, the silver coin weight was 3.65 grams. A U.S. mint quarter has 5.625 grams of silver. If we take a measure of wheat to be a quart (32 ounces) and the price of wheat at an average of $332 per 2000 pounds (metric ton) which is 32 cents a quart in today’s prices, then a silver denarius (3.65 grams) is at $3.24. This would mean that the spike in the price of bread will increase to 10 fold.
Imagine buying a loaf of bread for $20. Years from now, folks will read this article to only reflect.