Without water, revolution.

Tue, 05/21/2013 - 11:45

The New York Times posted an article by Thomas L. Friedman, whom analyses the correlation between water shortage and war. His article does not state that the water shortage was the root of the war but it was certainly the catalyser of uprising and one of the critical needs that made the Syrian people feel like they were being let down by their government.

The problem was as stated by Samir Aita, a Syrian economist, that after Assad took over in 2000, he opened up the regulated agricultural sector in Syria for big farmers many of them governmental cronies, to buy up land and drill as much water as they wanted, eventually severely diminishing the water table. This began driving small farmers off the land into towns, where they had to scrounge for work.

Then, between 2006 and 2011, some 60 percent of Syria’s land mass was ravaged by the drought and, with the water table already too low and river irrigation shrunken, it wiped out the livelihoods of 800,000 Syrian farmers and herders, the United Nations reported. “Half the population in Syria between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers left the land” for urban areas during the last decade, said Aita. And with Assad doing nothing to help the drought refugees, a lot of very simple farmers and their kids got politicized. “State and government was invented in this part of the world, in ancient Mesopotamia, precisely to manage irrigation and crop growing,” said Aita, “and Assad failed in that basic task.”

Syria, is in fact being likened to Somalia if nothing is done. It is a ticking time bomb where the combination of the worst drought ever, with a fast growing population and a repressive corrupt regime, is ideal for extreme religious and sectarian religions fuelled by outside governments meaning to cause havoc.

Solving the basic need of water would have been much easier than solving this complicated and disastrous war!