Home  > Historical Perspectives
U.S. intel estimate: Struggle over shrinking water reserves could spark Mideast war (WORLD TRIBUNE) WASHINGTON 03/26/12)Source: http://www.worldnewstribune.com/2012/03/26/u-s-intel-estimate-struggle-over-shrinking-water-reserves-could-spark-mideast-war/ WORLD TRIBUNE WORLD TRIBUNE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 struggle with decreasing water reserves. The estimate, compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, cited such countries as Egypt, Iraq, 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 damage.

“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 Islamic insurgency groups to exploit the water shortage in the Middle East. The NIE 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)

Return to Top