Water Politics

Scratch the surface and you’ll find that many of today’s conflicts are about water, not ideology. An inconvenient truth.

Consider the shrinking Lake Chad in West Africa, the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan, and ISIS control of the Tigris and Euphrates, to name but 3 cases.

It was the view of one of my lecturers at SOAS 15 years ago that the next war in the Middle East would be over water. He did not predict US/UK intervention in 2003, but I don’t think he was far wrong.

Today there are probably around 50 countries (effecting almost 3 billion people) at high risk of violent conflict due to climate change, environmental degradation and related fresh water crises.

The geo-politics of water will dominate our age, though of course it will be packaged as a clash of civilisations, such is our thirst for palatable explanations.

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