Contributor Perspectives

The Other Security Problem Facing Iraq

Ambika Vishwanath
Board of Contributors
Aug 11, 2017 | 17:39 GMT
The Mosul Dam, Iraq's largest, provides water and electricity to millions of Iraqis.

Coalition forces have reclaimed the Mosul Dam from the Islamic State, but repairing damage to it will be costly.

(SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

Of the cruelty and turmoil that the Islamic State has inflicted on Iraq, the damage it has done to the country's waterways is often overlooked. Most reporting and analysis on the group and its pillage have focused on the human toll, and understandably so. But the Tigris and Euphrates rivers -- the beleaguered nation's lifelines -- have also suffered mightily. Over the years, the Islamic State has used the Euphrates-Tigris Basin as an instrument of war, a weapon against the Iraqi state and its people. The extremist group has used the Tigris as a mass grave, flooded plains along the Euphrates, destroyed water pumps and sanitation networks, and allegedly poisoned water delivery systems. Then, as coalition forces pushed them back, members of the Islamic State torched arable land and blew up irrigation canals. Today, thanks to the formidable efforts of the Iraqi forces and their allies, most of the country's dams,...

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