Water and War

16 March 2017 | Mark Zeitoun


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Water is a human right, but too often one of the causes and tools of today’s wars. If we confront the politics behind the scenes with international standards, we can reverse that trend.


Water has been integral to war since before the Belgians manipulated the dykes of the Yser River to halt a German advance, in the muddy and blood-ridden trenches of World War I. With this in mind, the fight to control dams in Syria and Iraq – as with tensions spilling over transboundary rivers around the world – are entirely predictable, and well within our grasp to resolve. Yet water continues to be misunderstood by pundits, diplomats and politicians alike as a natural resource devoid of politics; a matter for environmental scientists and engineers.


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