The Water Question in Conflict and Cooperation Among States in the Middle East: 1965–2005


Water is a vital resource to all living things and the Middle East constitutes one of the water scarcity regions of the world. The water question in the region is the most worrying and complicated aspect of contemporary international relations. In another sense, water plays both positive and negative roles on Middle Eastern riparian relations or politics. It allows riparian nations or states to relate together either on friendly manner or in most cases as “perceived enemies”. The historical, psychological and political barriers that have impeded cooperation and deadlocked in the diplomacy of the riparian nations in this region are allowing these nations to often slide towards conflict over water. The integration of water into developing strategic cooperation frameworks could facilitate the protection and preservation of water resources. Since the existence of Israel is a danger that threatens the Arab nations, the diversion of the Jordan waters multiplies the dangers to Arab existence as well as the GAP Project along the Tigris, Euphrates River basin by the Republic of Turkey. This book therefore, is an attempt to discuss water conflict and cooperation in the Middle East region. It focuses on the major fresh water of Tigris, Euphrates and the Jordan Rivers and the period from 1965-2005. The opening year marked the period when Israel and Syria exchanged arm shooting over the plan to divert the Jordan river head waters, presumably to pre-empt Israeli National Water Carrier policy, an out of basin plan from the sea of Galilee. While 2005 was the period when the international community intensified their effort toward water rationalization due to climate change and its implications to fresh water. Countries to be covered include Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

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