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Water Politics on the World Stage

By Keith Kloor
Aug 18, 2009 7:16 PMNov 19, 2019 9:38 PM


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Turkey is playing a high-stakes game with Iraq, using water to advance its national security interests. Will Rogers at the Natural Security blog has nicely sized up this fascinating new wrinkle--yet another example of the emerging nexus between between international relations and environmental resources:

If Turkey is successful in getting Iraq to crack down on Kurdish rebels along its southern border, it may set a precedent for Turkey to use water as leverage over Iraq. And unlike in this instance where water's role as a carrot may help Turkey achieve a modicum of security from Kurdish attacks on Turkish infrastructure while benefiting the drought-stricken Iraqi people, Turkey could just as easily use its water resources as a stick to get Iraq to make concession it would not otherwise make. But in a fragile state like Iraq, playing politics with water may exacerbate existing grievances and foment more turmoil and violence; something to watch for.

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