Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 27, 2015

The Wars In Syria And Iraq Are Also Water Wars - More Will Come

Foreign Affairs has a recommendable piece on the water wars between Turkey, Syria and Iraq: Rivers of Babylon.

Turkey has build many, many dams throughout the country to provide electricity but also for farming. When I traveled in the Turkish east in the 1990s many new projects, parts of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) were visible and newly dammed water was provided to the dry regions in the south-east through open channels. A lot of this water was wasted due to vaporization but also due to the choice of water intensive news crops in a hot and often desert like region.

The water newly provided to farmers in Turkey used to flow down the Euphrates and Tigris to Syria and Iraq. Three drought years in Syria, 2006-2009, induced many farmers to leave their dry field and to move to cities where they found little work:

By 2011, drought-related crop failure had pushed up to 1.5 million displaced farmers to abandon their land; the displaced became a wellspring of recruits for the Free Syrian Army and for such groups as the Islamic State (also called ISIS) and al Qaeda. Testimonies gathered by reporters and activists in conflict zones suggest that the lack of government help during the drought was a central motivating factor in the antigovernment rebellion. Moreover, a 2011 study shows that today’s rebel strongholds of Aleppo, Deir al-Zour, and Raqqa were among the areas hardest hit by crop failure.

The situation is Iraq is similar if not worse. Major regions have lost the basis for their agriculture and the farmers ask for solutions and more support.

In Karbala, Iraq, farmers are in despair and are reportedly considering abandoning their land. In Baghdad, the poorest neighborhoods rely on the Red Cross for drinking water. At times, the Red Cross has had to supply over 150,000 liters a day. Further south, Iraq’s central marshes, the Middle East’s largest wetlands, are disappearing again after being re-flooded after Saddam Hussein was ousted. In Chibayish, a town in the wetlands that one of the authors of this piece recently visited, buffalo and fish are dying. Currently, agriculture there supports at least 60,000 people. Those and hundreds of thousands more will face great hardship as water resources continue to decline.

The lack of water is not the only reason for the wars in Syria and Iraq. But it made these countries prone to inner conflicts and vulnerable to outside meddling.

But the governments of Syria and Iraq can do little to help their farmers. While there are agreements about a minimum waterflow between Turkey, Syria and Iraq there is no ways Syria and Iraq could actually press Turkey to deliver the agreed upon waterflow.

Although current agreements between Syria and Turkey provide for 500 cubic meters per second, 46 percent of which goes to Iraq, summer flows can be far less. According to Jasim al Asadi, a hydrologist with Nature Iraq, by the time the Euphrates reaches Nasiriyah in Southern Iraq, a minimum of 90 cubic meters per second is required for municipal, industrial, and agricultural use. Sometimes, the flow can be as low as 18 cubic meters per second, so unsurprisingly the marshes are receding rapidly. Before major dam construction in the 1970s, the average flow in the Euphrates was about 720 cubic meters per second. Now it is about 260 as it enters Iraq.

Nearly two-third of the waterflow Iraq used to get is gone. There is no way to replace it. Moreover what little water is currently still flowing may soon be gone too:

Turkish dams, of which there are over 140, have far more storage capacity than those downstream. And when the new Turkish dam projects are completed in the next few years, as much as 1.2 million additional hectares inside Turkey will be irrigated—an eightfold increase from today.
...
Given Turkey’s relatively better water health, it might be reasonable to think that it would stop building dams at the expense of its downstream neighbors. Instead, it has done the opposite, planning to complete 1,700 new dams and weirs within its borders.

Missing in the Foreign Affairs piece is another Turkish project which diverts even more water away from its southern neighbors. In 1974 Turkey invaded and since occupied the north of Cyprus. The occupied parts  of the island were ethnically cleansed of Greek people and as many as 150,000 Turks were transferred from Turkey and settled on their land.

Turkey has now built a pipeline to provide water from onshore Turkey to the Turkish occupied part of the island:

A recently completed pipeline crossing beneath the Mediterranean will carry 75 million cubic meters of fresh water annually from Turkey to the northern i.e. Turkish part of the divided island of Cyprus.
...
The water coming through the pipelines will make the Turkish Cypriots, who already count on subsidies from Ankara for their economic survival, even more dependent on Turkey. One scenario is, therefore, that being more closely bound to the mainland, Turkish Cypriots will have less freedom when negotiating reunification with their Greek Cypriot compatriots, which will make it difficult to reach a solution.

Another Turkish project, on, off and on again over the years, are plans to lay water and gas pipelines to Israel. Israel hopes to deliver gas to Turkey and Turkey would provide water to Israel. Water that would additionally be missed in Syria and Iraq.

We need a global solution process, with enforcement instruments, to regulate natural waterflows that cross borders. The alternative is a serious of widening wars between those countries who extensively use water in their own land while downstream countries dry up.

The Turkey, Syria, Iraq situation is not the only active water war. Pakistan and India are fighting over India occupied Kashmir which holds the headwaters of the Indus river system. The Indus is Pakistan's sole water lifeline and India has used its control over Kashmir to pressure Pakistan. The next war between India and Pakistan might be just a drought away and such a war could go nuclear.

Another water war is looming between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Ethiopia is building a mega-dam on the Nile which threatens Egypt's main water supply. It is doubtful that Egypt will allow the dam to be finished. All these cases have already or will lead to wars between countries and/or civil wars over (the lack of) water.

The flow of water between countries is one of the few issue that need global governance. A rule book and a global judicial body which provides that all people along a water stream shall benefit from it. Mega-projects like the GAP in Turkey should be tested in front of such a court and its binding rulings should be backed by significant coercive powers.

The alternative not only may but will be intense wars over access to water.

Posted by b on August 27, 2015 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

Comments

thanks b... great post focusing on an extremely important topic.

"The flow of water between countries is one of the few issue that need global governance." "The alternative not only may but will be intense wars over access to water."

i agree fully... seems like a perfect recipe for more of the later..

Posted by: james | Aug 27, 2015 1:03:19 PM | 1

Global warming? Maybe people should listen to Pope Francis.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 27, 2015 1:16:46 PM | 2

One of the main reasons for Turkey's insane and never finishing dam projects, by the way, is to flood valleys and deprive the PKK of hideouts and refuges... The Turkish Kurds are adamantly opposed to these projects.

Posted by: Bart | Aug 27, 2015 2:05:00 PM | 3

The most viable alternative: desalination plants powered by nuclear reactors. Russia has recently made agreements with Egypt, Iran, and Argentina to provide this technology. Desalination is ordinarily expensive and energy-intensive. Use of nuclear reactors is cost-effective.

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Russia-offers-nuclear-desalination-bundle-0403151.html

Posted by: LZA | Aug 27, 2015 2:05:25 PM | 4

which also destroy much valuable agricultural land, we should add...

Posted by: Bart | Aug 27, 2015 2:05:54 PM | 5

China is drying up Vietnam. USA is drying up Mexico. SoCal wants NoCal water. The French hate the Germans. The Germans hate the Poles. EU is drowning under MENA refugees. Tens of millions of Chinese are going back to the Farm. Soon comes Noche de Los Mille Machetes. Jesus saves! We are star dust. ...And we got to get ourselves back to the Garden.

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 27, 2015 2:56:01 PM | 6

b,

What do you make of Pat Lang's recent prediction that the tide has turned in Syria and that Asad and Damascus will fall?

You are right about the Turkish dams. The irrigation projects that run from Anatolia to the southeast are immense, unnatural, and conflict-producing. The farms there only operate by dumping rivers of water between crop rows. It's a sight to behold.

Posted by: r@rtalk.com | Aug 27, 2015 3:57:02 PM | 7

Thanks b, excellent point going forward into the near future.

Another angle; using water, as a weapon OF war, is as despicable as it gets. And with the genocidal blockade of Yemen by the evil US Empire and it's Mideast dictatorship Puppets, there will be no leadership on this crucial water issue from those immoral freaks.
The Empire sees water wars to its benefit, for its domination. If it can't militarily dominate it will use ANYTHING else - including planned starvation from water - for control and subjugation.

And with climate change getting worse, water wars will be even more frequent, and be seen as a tool by the powerful or those in control of water, to manipulate and threaten those not willing to bend their knee.

Posted by: tom | Aug 27, 2015 4:20:02 PM | 8


cogent piece, b...

...a blueprint for water refugees, immigration funk


Posted by: john | Aug 27, 2015 4:29:13 PM | 9

Nice post b, you're right, corporate "water wars" are on the horizon. That's what corporations do, capture market share. With ocean levels rising, desal plants might be an answer. IF. the giant multi-nationals can turn massive enough profits.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination

Posted by: ben | Aug 27, 2015 4:41:01 PM | 10

Desal in So. Cal:

http://carlsbaddesal.com/

Posted by: ben | Aug 27, 2015 5:19:36 PM | 11

Puerto Rico worse than Greece

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/11/silent-run-in-puerto-rico/

Posted by: meofios | Aug 27, 2015 5:32:55 PM | 12

Right on b.

We need a global solution process, with enforcement instruments, to regulate natural waterflows that cross borders. The alternative is a serious of widening wars between those countries who extensively use water in their own land while downstream countries dry up.

The flow of water between countries is one of the few issue that need global governance. A rule book and a global judicial body which provides that all people along a water stream shall benefit from it. Mega-projects like the GAP in Turkey should be tested in front of such a court and its binding rulings should be backed by significant coercive powers.


The US is required by treaty to leave some water in the Colorado River when it flows into Mexico, but there's none left when it gets there. So the US pumps water out of the ground - heavily laced with selenium, which engenders birth defects in those unlucky enough to drink it, human and otherwise - and lets that flow down the empty bed of the Colorado into Mexico in order to meet the letter of the law.

China has built a cascade of dams on Mekong, and now the Thais are damming Mekong in Lao. It's relatively cheap and easy to buy the centralized Lao government, and the Thais and Chinese have been doing it for years, damming rivers in Lao. Millions of people in four countries along the river rely on Mekong for their livelihood, eat her fish. She is very complex. Giant catfish, for example, swim from the Tonle Sap to a point above the dam on Mekong to spawn. No more once the dam is built. And that's just one of hundreds of fish species ignored by the damned dammers.

Homo Neolibraconis is a mutant, alien strain of the species. It hates its own mother earth and all the other species of life she supports. In killing its mother and her other children Homo Neolibraconis is committing suicide. Yet, its mutant brain unbalanced, it rejoices in that fact.

It is up to the rest of us ordinary humans to control this rogue, mutant strain. All the rest of creation are relying on us.

Can there be any more unnatural structure than the rogue, gerrymandered structure of control of the resources of mother earth herself that Homo Neolibraconis has put in place?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 27, 2015 7:24:53 PM | 13

Who constructs these dams that the Erdogan government is using as a weapon against Iraq and Syria? One of these construction companies couldn't possibly be ... a company owned directly or indirectly by Çalık Holding AŞ whose CEO is Erdogan's son-in-law?

Posted by: Jen | Aug 27, 2015 7:39:54 PM | 14

The flow of water between countries is one of the few issue that need global governance.

So, as jfl touched on but didn't , in my opinion, pursue near far enough, what are the other few issues that would require global governance?

Climate Destabilization?
Pollution, both Surface Water, Ground Water and Air?
Ocean Pollution?
Atmospheric Radiation?

to name but a few.

I guess in an unfettered unregulated capitalistic free market economy the pressure of the market would work to solve these problems. Only reason it hasn't happened yet is there are still too many regulations and fetters to allow it to work.

When will Homo Neolibraconis recognize the reality that we are all in this petri dish together and we had better damn well start working as a whole body organism? Probably not until the last few dying breaths finally awaken. By then it will of course be too late for the Neolibraconis as well as the many other species we take with us.

Posted by: juannie | Aug 27, 2015 8:16:02 PM | 15

That's b I was quoting, juannie, and I think b is wary of Global Government: the noun. As I am, too. I think all government, the verb, has to be brought down a level or three. That we actual humans must all have the governing hand in governing ourselves. That we need to just seize back the power we've delegated to our 'representaives' at level upon level, all over our heads.

That we had better damn well start working as a whole body organism. Yeah. Things are going wrong on all fronts. It's a systemic problem, not a series on mistakes to be enumerated, lined up, and dealt with in turn. We need not to allow our authority to bubble-up once again to some higher-level, external, governmental 'thing'. These 'things' just become our masters. Just spread the infection at a higher level. Easy to say, I know, but even before the first step the journey of a thousand miles requires determining the right direction to set off in. Or settle in on.

We cannot send representatives anywhere to set things right. They'll just stride off like the martians in their tripods. Spreading DD&D. Have done already. Haven't even bothered to send postcards back home. Now they are ready to hand over their - our own, delegated - responsiblities to the alien commanders on the bridges of the TNC master ships, via documents so toxic they must be kept under lock and key at all times.

No, we cannot afford to go anywhere, we have to stay right here where we are and do it ourselves.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 27, 2015 9:06:34 PM | 16

Juannie @ 15: " When will Homo Neolibraconis recognize the reality that we are all in this petri dish together and we had better damn well start working as a whole body organism?"

Symbiosis, is a concept that is foreign to the corporate elites who own most of the world's governments. Most of all, in the "West". $ uber alles. The market will solve it? Seriousy? Hope that was meant facetiously.

Posted by: ben | Aug 27, 2015 10:26:33 PM | 17

Talk about water wars and not a mention of Libya's freshwater fortune?

A huge freshwater aquifier, ancient and uncontaminated was discovered and made available to grow food in the desert. All done with Libya's petroleum earnings without a penny of foreign debt.

There was far more than mere oil/gas to steal and control when Libya was thrown into chaos using "regime change".

Posted by: Ballast | Aug 28, 2015 1:12:23 AM | 18

I guess in an unfettered unregulated capitalistic free market economy the pressure of the market would work to solve these problems. Only reason it hasn't happened yet is there are still too many regulations and fetters to allow it to work.
I'm sure that's a parody .. juannie answering his own question with the standard, sorry riposte of Homo Neolibraconis.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 28, 2015 1:16:12 AM | 19

I agree with the sentiments from jfl.

The global powers that be do not want any public discussion of the future and they have the support of the Xtians that don't want any regulation related to population control......except theirs

It seems clear to me that the global powers that be have chosen extinction for our species by their actions around the handling of the nuclear radiation spewing from Fukushima. The longer it takes to mount world wide efforts to deal with the centuries of radiation that will come from that source, the more likely our chances of it becoming a human extinction event.

I am only glad that I didn't make kids in my life that I would have to explain their potential future to. That said, I don't want our species to go extinct, in spite of our deserving it. I just see the levers of control continuing to maintain that control until it is too late, if not already, to change the march toward our demise.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 28, 2015 3:45:18 AM | 20

8

Remember, if you open your hymnal to Hansen 11:22, "Verily it shall come to pass, that as mankind's fossil fuel iniquities pile upon iniquities, even as the Babylonian Temple of Marduk reached toward the richie havens, that this great Evil shall raise the heat of the pot until the frog shall boileth over, and fill the skies with dense clouds of water vapor, from which shall rain upon the whole world for forty days and forty nights."

That is, if climate theory is based on real physics instead of End Times evangelism, because the world today clearly has way too fracking many evangelists already.

It's drought, it's cyclical, it's been going on since the Year Dot.

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 28, 2015 4:12:29 AM | 21

18

Not steal and control, but to destroy the supply of. Monopoly 101.

Greece was the bread basket of Europe, then Turkey began building dams to steal that ag-market, and now Ukraine is poised to push Turkey aside, and inject Monsanto GMOs at the same time.

Monsanto announced huge Ukraine ag-lands leases in the first weeks after the dual-citizen Israeli coup overthrew Kiew, leases that were months, maybe years in pre-negotiation for the monopoly.

This was just before Netanyahu pistol-whipped US Congress into continue d ag-trade restrictions with Russia, costing US farmers $10s of billions in losses, before Netanyahu flew back to Hebron to cut the ribbon on Israel's New Free Trade Zone ... with RUSSIA!!!

"We won, you lost. IT'S JUST BUSINESS, GET OVER IT!

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 28, 2015 4:26:04 AM | 22

4

RO (desal) is only economical where there is no other source of drinking water, tropical islands without a freshwater lens, but is so expensive, the population emigrates. Nuclear desal is only for remote Russian bases and drilling stations near Deepwater marine. And there'should Antarctica where money is no object, and San Diego where ..JerryHBrown!

Saudis used RO for produce, but then scrapped the lot, even with virtually free fuel, it'seems cheaper to buy and fly their produce from Turkey, just like it'should cheaper to buy and fly a field tomato from Chile, than from a Canadian hothouse.

It's all a huge con. A giant tax and spend subsidy. Even Elon Musk's new All House battery says in fine print 'Power from battery is not economical."

MTBF, life-cycle cost analysis, time to market ... you will never hear those words from a climate evangelical, because it's not their savings, it's yours.

RO does not pencil.

Audits?
We don't have no audits!
We don't have to show you no stinkin' audits!

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 28, 2015 4:54:11 AM | 23

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/live-news/2015/8/the-refugee-crisis-has-caused-a-water-shortage-in-jordan.html

The crisis has put pressure on facilities that provide water, which were built decades ago to serve fewer people

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 28, 2015 7:51:00 AM | 24

Excellent piece b, thanks. I am glad you pointed our Egypt and Ethiopia - this is a hugely important threat to peace that needs to be looked at and a solution found for. Egypt has 90 million people all living along the banks of a river. Considering that the US has been arming them for decades now, these weapons could well be used against Ethiopia.

"we are all in this petri dish together"

Were that this was true! Those with $Bs and $100sMs can hardly be said to be here "together" with us at all. They can pay their way out of just about anything. And they will spend that which could be used to save all of us to save themselves one at a time while the rest of us die from dehydration.

It reminds me of a recent article about a company Google is investing in. The company aims to extend the human life span to around 500 years! Again, hundreds of millions will be spent to extend the lives of a few very wealthy people while the rest of humanity simply starves to death for lack of those same hundreds of millions. Imagine the pure selfishness of someone who wants to extend their life for 500 years while the rest of humanity is starving to death. Its a money maker, for sure!

Thats the world we are headed towards. It is going to get ugly unless the world reigns in brutal capitalism. Pope Francis has done humanity a great service in pointing out the dangers we are facing, not just from climate change, but in technology and inequality as well.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 28, 2015 8:06:13 AM | 25

@ 25: "It is going to get ugly unless the world reigns in brutal capitalism."

Absolutely true. Ditto, the Pope's comments.

Posted by: ben | Aug 28, 2015 9:11:49 AM | 26

The costs of using desalination to provide water aren't so infeasible.
The cost of water desalinated by reverse osmosis is about $1.50 per cubic metre, and even less if wind and solar are used as the energy sources. To put this in proportion to food requirements, to grow food where irrigation is the only water source would require about 500 cubic metres per person per year for a mostly vegetarian diet. For countries that have desert close to a coastline, the seawater greenhouse is a low-tech approach that combines desalination with food production. Desalination may not be much use for Central Asian countries. Their water security is likely to depend upon close association with Russia, and maybe on reviving the Siberian river diversion project.

Posted by: pmr9 | Aug 28, 2015 11:58:06 AM | 27

jfl, ben & psychohistorian,

First off ben, Yes, my comment about the market solving these problems was "serious", serious irony. And I agree with you completely that it is the corporate elites that own most all of the governing bodies in the world today. This is the huge inhibiting factor in finding a way, let alone solving any of the problems that will require a global coordinated and symbiotic effort.

I don't have or even think that I may have an answer. But this discussion is one of the most crucial requirements toward finding solutions. Yes jfl, I too am wary of global government or state and national, either as a noun or a verb, as I'm confident b is also. My political persuasion has been Libertarian for the last forty some years ever since I gravitated from Rand's Objectivism to a card carrying life member of the Party. Lately though, I have recognized some of the limitations of libertarianism and/or Libertarianism especially as advocated by the likes of the Koch brothers.

Giving an unregulated and unfettered market free reign is a sure formula for bringing out the worst of human avarice and ruthless exploitation. And we have been retreating in this downward direction ever since the Reagan/Thatcher years in a, yes systemic, not individual problem oriented way.

We as individuals working and living within our local communities find answers to our community problems but are overwhelmed and eventually swamped by the legislated upper hand granted the purveyors of corporatism. And as you state jfl, our elected representatives, (in my words) even if well meaning and honest (a big if), are overwhelmed by their constant exposure to the cooperate lobbyists lavishing free lunches, junkets, campaign contributions and mis- & dis-information (Bernie included). And now I'm shuddering as they relinquish whatever little attachments they have to we their constituents over to the cooperate NAFTA,TPP and TAFTA cartels.

So therein lies the crux of our problems I think we three generally agree on. Global Governance or cooperation is required to efficaciously address the Water, Atmospheric, Oceanic, Radiation problems but it is de facto a dysfunctional entity, even if it truly existed, under the present predominant controlling system. I don't think the PTB have deliberately chosen extinction but the guiding principles of unfettered capitalism unconsciously guide them in that direction. I do have progeny and it is for them and their generation we seek answers. I appreciate the morality that engenders that for those who have no genetic link to the future.

I try to be solution oriented. But I as yet can't see a course of action that I/we could advance that will make a hoot of difference. I like the proverb "life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived". When we (others of our species) historically lived our lives in that fashion, unforeseen events seemed to have come to the rescue. That's a hard one for me as I want to feel I have some control over my and our destiny. The sages I'm sure would admonish me but that's who I am. I look for new ideas that I haven't yet entertained.

Posted by: juannie | Aug 28, 2015 2:10:33 PM | 28

Good to hear there's a Foreign Affairs article on this subject, which I've been going on about for ages.

It is not a question of politics; any Turkish government will continue to build dams. Noirette talked about drought as a cause of the Syrian civil war. This is the real reason. I thought that the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates had been cut in half. The truth seems to be two-thirds.

Iraq is absolutely dependent on water from the Tigris and the Euphrates, less so for Syria. If I were the Iraqis, I'd accidently bomb a dam, in pursuit of ISIS, of course. In order to make a mark. The present negotiations don't seem to be giving them enough water.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 28, 2015 4:18:34 PM | 29

@28 juannie,

Thanks for sharing your sentiments.

Where we differ is in the belief that capitalism of any sort exists in the same way that the global PTB control of finance by having "some" of it be private rather than sovereign and the PTB families having centuries of accumulation of private property through inheritance exists. The latter is a reality that has existed and evolved for centuries. The former is a myth like all religions with economists being the high priests of the cult.

Modify or eliminate private finance, inheritance and forever ownership of private property and you will change all the underlying reasons our species is caught is this extinction directed craziness.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 28, 2015 4:33:22 PM | 30

The elephant in the room nobody's mentioned is the biggest water crisis of all: Ocean acidification and sea level rise. Species are already dying off due to acidification and with the slowing of the Gulf Stream, sea level on the Northern Atlantic Coast of North America has risen one foot, http://robertscribbler.com/2015/08/26/signs-of-gulf-stream-slowdown-sea-level-more-than-a-foot-higher-off-us-east-coast/
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/08/27/experts-warn-climate-change-changing-contours-worlds-oceans

The suite of ecological crises demand global cooperation, not continued competition based upon neoliberal imperialism and its promotion of chaos. Of course, the biggest obstacle to promoting and acquiring global cooperation is the Outlaw Empire and its satraps. I very much doubt the Empire will cease its actions voluntarily, so the rest of the planet must shove it out-of-the-way as if it didn't exist and get on with the job of solving multiple crises as soon as possible.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 28, 2015 5:40:23 PM | 31

@31 Karlof1

Along every concievable dimension the crisis proceeds.


I very much doubt the Empire will cease its actions voluntarily, so the rest of the planet must shove it out-of-the-way as if it didn't exist and get on with the job of solving multiple crises as soon as possible.

I see a watershed here with Iran. No matter the mademen and women in the US government knucle their brows to Israel over Iran or not, the 'sanction' regime against Iran is collapsing. And the Boycott, Disown, Separate from Israel campaign is gaining ground.

The rest of the world ... 95% by head count ... has tired of doing the bidding of the empire to its own diminishment. And the ongoing economic crisis is forcing their hand ... and they're all holding hands and defying the US together. Remember the Chinese AIIB as well? And how much longer can the Russian sanctions be kept in place?

I think the earth is beginning to crumble beneath the empire's feet.

But will that really have an effect on the ongoing, multidimensional crisis in the real world?

The news of Russia and the Middle East is still all about pipelines ... about more fossil fuel production and distribution. China, and India, are cranking up in pursuit of the lifestyle pioneered by the empire. Surely the empire is the present keystone of the overarching system, but when the imperial seat moves from the US to Berlin or Moscow or Beijing or the three in combination ... what will have changed, with respect to the DD&D of our real, natural world?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 28, 2015 7:08:31 PM | 32

There are little-known inexpensive sources of water. Look at this:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/california-water-wars-another-form-of-asset-stripping/5438835 Ellen Brown. Includes several innovative sources for inexpensive water. Suggestion that these are being avoided in order to enhance the value of limited water which is being bought up. It’s the people against the new “water barons” – Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Monsanto, the Bush family, and their ilk – who are buying up water all over the world at an unprecedented pace.

Posted by: Penelope | Aug 29, 2015 1:30:41 AM | 33

Ballast @18, I read that the coalition forces bombed all the Libyan aquifers. Gaddafi had built quite a few, too.

Posted by: Penelope | Aug 29, 2015 2:21:28 AM | 34

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 28, 2015 5:40:23 PM | 31
From your gulf stream Scribbler link...

"And sea surface heights off the US East Coast are more than 30 centimeters (one foot) above the 1979 to 2015 average."

Bullshit.

It's im-possible for sea levels to rise 30 cm (on average) in one location, and not others, on a spherical planet.
It's much more likely that the East Coast has subsided 30 cm (on average).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 29, 2015 8:43:25 AM | 35

No mention of Israeli's annexation of Golan and subsequent denial of water for Syria? Why not?

Posted by: Penny | Aug 29, 2015 9:48:15 AM | 36

Hoarsewhisperer @35

Thanks for showing your ignorance. The third video at this link shows conclusively that sea level does NOT rise/fall evenly on our non-spherical planet,http://climatecrocks.com/2015/08/28/nasa-new-video-of-ice-losses-sea-level-rise/#more-25077

Note in the 3rd video how the Gulf Stream's slowdown looks instrumentally and how that's causing the rapid rise along the East Coast.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29, 2015 9:51:08 AM | 37

jfl @32

Thanks for your reply. I agree with your sentiments, and the sooner Capitalism is jettisoned the better. The only bright note is that both Putin and Xi have called for their joint projects to promote sustainable development. But realistically, the only way forward is a system that allows for the maintenance of a Steady State, which must be much less ecologically intensive than currently. Personally, I doubt lots of damage will be avoided as the inertia of the current economic paradigm will push CO2 equivalent concentrations beyond 500ppm before 2040, which makes me greatly fear for the health of the oceans. Lots of changes already happening in my front yard here in Oregon, http://robertscribbler.com/2015/08/28/shades-of-a-canfield-ocean-hydrogen-sulfide-in-oregons-purple-waves/

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29, 2015 10:03:29 AM | 38

@37 karlof1

I agree that a lot of damage has been done but the thing to do is to stop increasing CO2 levels now and start reducing them in future. The sinking feeling we all have in the pits of our stomachs is the unremitting increase in CO2 production. If that can be stopped the light will go on at the end of the tunnel.

Whether we know it or not we live - as juannie points out @15 - we live on mother earth, and she is a whole body organism. A return to rational, Regenerative Organic Agriculture, for instance, agriculture that returns carbon to the soil, creating a vibrant organic community there to replace the glyphosate wasteland brought to us by the brilliant scientists at Monsanto, can 'sequester' - what a stupid, minmalist term - CO2 in the soil and restore its productivity - its water retentive capacity as well. And that's just a sample ...

It's true that the damage we've done and dialed in for the future - so heedlessly, so needlessly - is beyond our means to reverse ... but we don't have to. Mother earth will do it herself, if we just stop our ruthless, greedy, foolish war of DD&D against her. And help her help ourselves instead - just give peace a chance.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 29, 2015 10:58:53 AM | 39

...
Note in the 3rd video how the Gulf Stream's slowdown looks instrumentally and how that's causing the rapid rise along the East Coast.
Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 29, 2015 9:51:08 AM | 36

...and nowhere else?

Sorry, I don't buy it (excuse my ignorance).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 29, 2015 11:06:02 AM | 40

If there's a 30cm rise in sea level on a long coastline, in one place on the planet, then it's due to tidal sloshing. It's not an indicator of a rapid global rise in sea-levels due to melting of land-based (non floating) ice.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 29, 2015 11:26:35 AM | 41

Tip of the cap to: karlof1@ 36-37 & jfl @ 38 for informative links. Great articles. Thanks.

Posted by: ben | Aug 29, 2015 11:28:22 AM | 42

Karlof1 @31,
I was interested in your comment about ocean acidification, so I researched it. The idea that the ocean is becoming more acidic (lower pH) due to excessive absorption of CO2 originates w a 2004 report which is reproduced in simplified form on NOAA's website.

However, they included data beginning only from 1988. But ocean pH has been measured for 100 years, and when the full record is included it indicates NO ocean acidification.
http://www.breitbart.com/london/2014/12/23/noaagate-how-ocean-acidification-could-turn-out-to-be-the-biggest-con-since-michael-manns-hockey-stick/

http://media.breitbart.com/media/2014/12/mwacompilationofglobalocean_phjan82014.jpg Chart summarizing pH since 1910.

It's always a good idea to look for sources on BOTH sides of global warming issues. You can usually find the skeptical position by adding "hoax". So after reading about acidification, I searched "ocean acidification hoax".

Posted by: Penelope | Aug 29, 2015 12:40:11 PM | 43

Water wars, food wars, corn wars -- it's all part of what a hegemon does to maintain it hegemony.

Ted Genoways, a contributing editor for the New Republic and an agriculture journalist, tells The Takeaway that some FBI bureaus have made agriculture technology the number two most important security issue, second only to terrorism.Ted Genoways, a contributing editor for the New Republic and an agriculture journalist, tells The Takeaway that some FBI bureaus have made agriculture technology the number two most important security issue, second only to terrorism.

http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/us-staves-agricultural-theft-china/

The Takeaway on NPR (WNYC in my area) covered this on Friday, 8/28/15. What leapt out to me was the FBI maintained to the FISA court that tracking industrial spying was a matter of US national security, since Monsanto's corn seeds were needed to "maintain US dominance over the world's food supplies." It was necessary to use all tools, including FISA, to deter attacks on these seed copyrights.

The author of the article went on to say that the US government has used food, corn especially, as weapons against both Russia and China in the past.

Hegemony does what hegemony feels it must do….

Link to the article: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122441/corn-wars


Posted by: jawbone | Aug 29, 2015 12:45:36 PM | 44

LZA @4, Actually there's something that's less expensive than desalinization:

"Primary water" is newly produced by chemical processes within the earth & has never been part of the surface hydrological cycle. Created when conditions are right to allow oxygen to combine with hydrogen, this water is continually being pushed up under great pressure from deep within the earth and finds its way toward the surface where there are fissures or faults. Japanese researchers reported in Science in March 2002 that the earth’s lower mantle may store about five times more water than its surface oceans.

Pal Pauer of the Primary Water Institute, one of the world’s leading experts in tapping primary water, says a well sufficient to service an entire community could be dug and generating great volumes of water in a mere two or three days, at a cost of about $100,000. The entire state of California could be serviced for about $800 million.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/california-water-wars-another-form-of-asset-stripping/5438835 Ellen Brown.

Posted by: Penelope | Aug 29, 2015 1:06:31 PM | 45

P@44

This Primary Water 'theory' sounds much like the Abiotic Oil 'theory' that has never produced a drop of verifiable abiotic oil.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 29, 2015 3:30:03 PM | 46

I would have thought that the major consequence of the 'water wars' is going to be ever more refugees flooding into Europe. At the moment the cause is mainly political - Syria, Iraq, etc. But water is an indirect factor behind. To note, of course, that the US in no way suffers from this flood of refugees, so the US government is not all bothered.

re 31

The elephant in the room nobody's mentioned is the biggest water crisis of all: Ocean acidification and sea level rise.
This is a rather different problem from that of supply of water to desert countries.

The climate change wallahs attribute this to increasing CO2, and man-made climate change. The precise role of CO2 increase in climate change seems to me complicated, given that CO2 levels have been much higher in the past, not from human activity, without life on earth being extinguished.

Much better to rely on observable facts. Humans are polluting the land and the oceans, not only by CO2, but by that and everything else. Dolphins die from swallowing plastic bags. It's gone beyond the stage of the oceans being able to clean themselves.

Someone once wisely observed (I've lost the reference) that human behaviour en masse is not really different from that of bacteria. They grow and multiply as long as conditions are good, but then they pollute their environment and die (alcohol yeast for example), or kill their host. I would add: humans discuss it a lot more, doesn't make any difference.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 29, 2015 3:48:40 PM | 47

Primary water

This is why the Zio-State is forever fated to be in permenant conflict with some of its neighbours, ALL of the time.

The practices of the Zio-$tate's argricultural sector, growing crops such as herbs, flowers, etc for exporting, requires that it be constantly stealing water from some its neighbours, ALL of the time.

Hence the 67, 73, and 82 wars

Posted by: blockquote | Aug 29, 2015 4:14:27 PM | 48

And also growing potatoes.

For export.

In a region where most of it can best be described as "semi-arid".

Brilliant idea.

Posted by: blockquote | Aug 29, 2015 4:31:47 PM | 49

Permian mass extinction
The Permian mass extinction has been nicknamed The Great Dying, since a staggering 96% of species died out. All life on Earth today is descended from the 4% of species that survived

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 29, 2015 4:39:10 PM | 50

Why do we think we are any different than bacteria limited to a petri dish? Humans limited to a planet ... .

I live in a very dry region. We know there is about ten to twenty more years left in our aquifer. What do we do about it? Nothing: we are bacteria limited to our petru dish, just like the humans limited to their planet ... .

Erm, is it the other way round?

Posted by: Rg an LG | Aug 30, 2015 12:33:53 AM | 51

Re: Penny @ 36, on Israel's land grabs and settlements being tied to controlling water sources -- I remember a map showing how the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are primarily over aquifers and intended to lead to total control of the water available from them.

Devious, that Israeli government. Power, land, and water hungry.

Does anyone have a link for such a map? I've been very busy with Real Life, so haven't looked yet. Help appreciated.

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 30, 2015 12:44:26 PM | 52

Hi Jawbone@52

There is quite a bit of information of Israel's water theft from Israel
Syrian letter to the UN 2010

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3975201,00.html

"Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem sent UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a letter on Monday, in which he appealed for the UN to stop Israel from "stealing water from the occupied Golan Heights".

Link to a book, which discusses just how far back this goes

LINK

Hope you do see this response? I will post it at my place also, for some reason b marginalizes my comments.....


Al Muallem charged that "Israeli occupation forces diverted the Golan waters to the settlements. By these actions they not only prevent our citizens from fulfilling their natural rights to the resource, but could also lead to an economic and environmental disaster which could have disastrous consequences for Syrians living in the Golan."

Rather surprising that b didn't focus on this long, long standing battle between Israel and Syria over water rights.

Posted by: Penny | Aug 30, 2015 2:42:31 PM | 53

Posted by: jawbone | Aug 30, 2015 12:44:26 PM | 52

Take this as an unconfirmed rumour, but my understanding of the water situation in Jewish Occupied Palestine is that it is illegal for Palestinians to draw water from aquifers beneath their own land without a Permit from the "Israeli" Government, and has been for decades.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 31, 2015 12:06:48 AM | 54

Why does Israel want to illegally annex the Golan heights?
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=o8a2dt&s=8#.VeVvu9-jnEY
http://oi61.tinypic.com/o8a2dt.jpg

Golan Heights Topographical view, note Watershed

============

And Zio-Rufie Proyect, that magister of the alleged anti-Imperialist Left, (hashtag: ("Fearlessly Fightin' fer Zion!" @MOA (© ®), will like this next one. I'm sure he can work it into one of his many AIPAC-Handbook-inspired "Fearless Anti-Imperialist Left" heart-rending sophistries, in defence of Jewish Racial Supremacy, or "Zionism" as it's commonly known.

"Why all talk of a "Two State Solution", IS and always has been, complete nonsense .. . .

Yesha Council produces 3-dimensional topographical map

Map showing Watershed above Tel Aviv coastal plain etc. - http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2rqlxtd&s=8#.VeVwgN-jnEY

http://oi59.tinypic.com/2rqlxtd.jpg

found here - http://israelmatzav.blogspot.ru/2010/10/yesha-council-produces-3-dimensional.html

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the feeling at the Yesha Council is that a 3-D map is worth a million words – and can explain with a glance how Judea and Samaria The West Bank (Where most of the Palestinains live) tower above the Gush Dan (Tel Aviv) area of Israel, in which live millions of Israelis.

Similarly, the Golan Heights are clearly shown towering above the Galilee, just as the mountains of Jordan stand much higher than the Jordan Valley. The surrounding of Jerusalem on three sides by PA-controlled areas is also plainly depicted.

The map is being or will be disseminated by mail, in schools, and elsewhere, and a Powerpoint presentation is in the works as well.

Yesha Council Director-General Naftali Bennet says, “The map is designed to make clear to the citizens of greater Tel Aviv that Judea and Samaria The West Bank (Where most of the Palestinains live) is not far away, but rather overlooks their back yards.

Most of the population is unaware of this, because maps are generally two-dimensional.

Residents of Kfar Saba and Raanana might not be happy to find themselves literally under the thumb of a State of Palestine, and it’s time they knew of this danger.”

The back of the map has 11 important facts about Yesha. Among them are the following:

  • # The mountains of Judea and Samaria The West Bank (Where most of the Palestinains live) are the central mountain range of the Land of Israel, running 140 kilometers from the Jezreel Valley in the north to the Arad Valley in the Negev.

  • # The width of the Judea and Samaria The West Bank (Where most of the Palestinains live) mountains is 55 kilometers, and the width of Israel’s coastal plane near Tel Aviv is only 16 kilometers.

  • # Yesha’s main north-south route, Highway 60, is also the national watershed line, and runs mostly along the same route taken by the Patriarchs in the Bible.

  • # The mountain aquifer, which supplies half of Israel’s water, is in Judea and Samaria The West Bank (Where most of the Palestinains live).

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 1, 2015 5:53:40 AM | 55

Looks like BQ will be driving them into the desert, not the sea then.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 1, 2015 7:49:41 AM | 56

Well done, Rufie!!!

I knew you were up to the delicate task of spinning for Naftali Bennet and his pathetic-racist Jewish Supremacy "Pro-Land-stealing" justifications

You keep on pluggin those AIPAC-Handbook-inspired Talking-points, now, ya hear?

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 1, 2015 8:26:59 AM | 57

oh yeah . . .


GO [Zio-] Clowns!!!

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 1, 2015 8:28:13 AM | 58

You’re an idiot. That’s not “spin”. I blew it off with a joke. That’s what we Clowns do, speak punchlines to power.

In part, ‘cuz it ain’t even no quality trolling. Couldn’t you find something clearer and more menacing? I mean, that’s your shtick, right? Meir Kahane’s grandson got some press recently.

And it’s not even the most outrageous thing Bennett has said! From his Wiki: “Bennett opposes the creation of a Palestinian state: ‘I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state.’” He seems to have met some opposition, too, by a group of academics who “called on the U.S. and E.U. to impose sanctions on Bennett and three other Israelis ‘who lead efforts to insure permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and to annex all or parts of it unilaterally in violation of international law.’”

Since Bennett's opinions are not universal, maybe his bluster does not ipso facto show that a two state solution is impractical. Even if it they do come with cool 3-D mapping.

I wonder how many recent statements by assorted Islamicists we could find calling for the destruction of Israel? Say, from official statements in programs and pronouncements by senior officials?

Hey, there’s one right here! Its an Iranian animated video about their scenario for the eventual, unavoidable invasion of Israel. The producers are apparently close to the Revolutionary Guard, serving as their media arm.

So my scenario about the construction of the Unitary State of Palestine & Samaria isn’t that far off the mark. They didn’t include the Syrian Army in their happy band, but I guess they are a little busy right now. Maybe the Egyptians and ISIL are a little too Sunni.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 1, 2015 10:47:29 PM | 59

Zio-Rufie Proyect, Mr AIPAC inspired talking points, come to visit again. This time to explain his "joke". Lucky us, eh?

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 2, 2015 2:00:26 AM | 60

Glad you enjoyed the video. Maybe you should accuse reality of AIPAC-inspired.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 2, 2015 8:03:32 AM | 61

So, still spinning for Zion by trying to play down the import of what the zio-racists are seeking ?

Wow, when I wondered earlier, "How low will he go?" I was only half-joking, but nope, it looks like we have barely even begun to plumb the depths Zio-Rufie will stoop to to defend the indefensible when practised in that deeply racist state so close to his bitter-little Zio-heart. Well done, Rufie!!

The Zionist State actually already illegally controls the lands in question as a result of it's decades-long illegal militarily occupation of Palestinian lands.

Naftali Bennett, a politician from an extreme right-wing Zionist Political Party (Right-wing, even by Zionist standards!) is currently a serving Minister in a right-wing (*even by Zionist standards!) Coalition Gov't, composed of other right-wing (*even by Zionist standards!) Jewish supremacist racists

Now remember, Zionism itself is an extreme right-wing political ideology.

Now Rufie's trying to spin the Land-thieving justifications expressed by the extreme-Right-Wing of an extremely Right-wing Political Ideology, as being of little consequence.


Not only does the zionist Minister Bennett strongly signal the desire to illegally maintain complete control over the lands belonging to Palestinians, there already exists the means, on the ground, to do so.

Zio-Rufie wants to pretend that this Zio-Racist Minister Bennett is some out-of-touch loon, with no support base, not at all representative of bulk of Israeli Racist Zionists, rather than what he actually is: an appallingly racist Cabinet Member sitting right at the heart of the deeply racist Israeli Gov't

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 2, 2015 9:44:50 AM | 62

And Rufie, the alleged Anti-Imperialist Leftist, is still shilling and spinning for Zion, in his recent comments.

Pretends to be making a"joke" and the follows up by spinning for the Zio-Racists once again by downplaying Bennett's influence.

All with the aim of presenting a more "positive" image of zionism. he even admits to it.

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 2, 2015 9:56:39 AM | 63

Rufie's trying to spin the Land-thieving justifications expressed by the extreme-Right-Wing of an extremely Right-wing Political Ideology

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 2, 2015 9:44:50 AM | 62

That's at least Racism² [squared] that Zio-Rufie is running interference for there

The self-alleged magister of the anti-Imperialist Left

Fightin' fer Zio-Racism², @MOA.

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 2, 2015 10:12:25 AM | 64

Oh yeah, ...

Go Clowns!

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 2, 2015 10:28:04 AM | 65

Hey, there’s one right here! Its an Iranian animated video about their scenario for the eventual, unavoidable invasion of Israel. The producers are apparently close to the Revolutionary Guard, serving as their media arm.

"apparently close to"

"serving as their media arm" [apparently]

"Iranian [Run!!!] animated video"

Gosh.

"Apparently", eh?

That must be a simply terrifying video, Rufie.

I don't know how you can sleep well at night, what with all the "apparently" terrifying things happening . . . . . . . . . in an animated video!!!!!

Shocking stuff I'm sure . . .

Posted by: blockquote | Sep 2, 2015 11:19:33 AM | 66

Way Out West @46,

I gave you this link about Primary Water http://www.globalresearch.ca/california-water-wars-another-form-of-asset-stripping/5438835. It refers to several scientific articles & functioning wells that have resulted from exploiting this previously unknown source of inexpensive water.

But you dismissed it, noting that it sounds like something else totally unrelated. Kind of closed minded.

Posted by: Penelope | Sep 4, 2015 2:58:51 AM | 67

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