Water Policies in the Middle East

Water Policies in the Middle East

  • 30 September 2002

Water has always been a source of conflict in the Middle
East. The water problem in this region presents an extremely
complex subject, and the violent history of the region
has been strongly shaped by its geography in general and
its rivers in particular. He indicated that the rivers of the
Middle East are thus of strategic importance for peace
among the countries of the region which have, in principle, a
common historical, cultural and religious heritage. Dr. Bagis
noted, however, that the demand for water in the Middle
East has grown substantially due to many factors, including
rapid population growth, agricultural development, cultural
practices, and foreign and domestic policy. The speaker
discussed the link between water, conflicts and wars, which
reflects the stability of the region. Furthermore, the idea of
‘neighborhood’ is a difficult concept in the Middle East,
one fraught with hostility and mistrust, with alliances often
based on a common enemy rather than on joint economic
interest. He also inquired about the efficacy of the ways to
eliminate the causes of tension between the states sharing
the waters of rivers, such as Turkey, Iraq and Syria. He
expressed his belief that the spirit of cooperation is the
only way to overcome water conflict in the Middle East.
He called for a better understanding of the meaning of
cooperation between the countries in the region, which does
not compromise the concept of independence, especially in
the context of the limited prospects of national policies in
achieving self-sufficiency in all areas. He praised the recent
improvement made at the level of the bilateral relations
between Syria and Turkey and looks toward expanding the
scope of cooperation between them.

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LECTURER

Monday 30 September 2002

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Monday 30 September 2002

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