Assessments

Iraq's Water Crisis Gives the Public One More Reason to Protest

Jul 18, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
An undated photo shows Hasankeyf, an ancient city on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey that will be inundated as part of the Ilisu dam project.

An undated photo shows Hasankeyf, an ancient city on the banks of the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey that will be inundated as part of the Ilisu dam project. The dam project will likely reduce the flow of water to Iraq, eliciting popular anger.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The future looks bleak for Iraq's water supply. Long-term pressures are conspiring with an acute drought and a tricky transition in the political system to make for a full-blown crisis. Water shortages have added to public dissatisfaction over economic issues such as high unemployment, fueling mass protests in southern Iraq. Bans on crop planting and the impending filling of a reservoir in Turkey will further rile up the populace, some of whom will be forced out of rural areas and into cities because of the drought. But the problem will only get worse. Given its lingering security challenges and political instability, Iraq won't be able to solve the current water crisis on its own, and its neighbors will do more to hurt than to help the situation....

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