U.S. intel estimate: Struggle over shrinking water reserves could spark Mideast war (WORLD TRIBUNE) WASHINGTON 03/26/12)
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. intelligence community has determined that
water shortages in the Middle East could lead to severe tension over
the next decade.
The National Intelligence Estimate for 2012 has assessed that Middle
East and other nations could be drawn into a confrontation as they
with decreasing water reserves. The estimate, compiled by the Office
Director of National Intelligence, cited such countries as Egypt,
Israel, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.
“As water problems become more acute, the likelihood is that states
will use them as leverage,” a senior U.S. intelligence official told
a briefing on March 22.
This is not the first time that the prospect of a Middle East water
war was raised. As early as 1985, Egyptian presidential aide
Butros Butros-Ghali said the region could be hurled into conflict
over control of major rivers, including the Nile.
The U.S. assessment did not envision a war over Middle East water
resources over the next decade. But the NIE said water shortages were
already harming development and increasing poverty and environmental
“We don’t see water problems by themselves causing state failure,”
the official said. “But in combination with other issues, water could
tip over the edge into social disruptions, which leads to political
disruptions and ultimately to state failure.”
The U.S. intelligence community also expected Al Qaida and other
insurgency groups to exploit the water shortage in the Middle East.
said water desalination plants could become major targets in pro-U.S.
countries in the Gulf, Levant and North Africa.
“Terrorists are looking for high-visibility structures to attack,” the
official said. (Copyright © 2012 East West Services, Inc. 03/26/12)
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