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According to the US based Centre for Public Integrity, western nations stand to make up to $1trillion from privatising, harnessing, purifying and distributing water in a region where water often sells for far more than oil.
Gadaffi's Great Man Made River project Photo courtesy
It is becoming increasingly accepted that water promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century: the precious commodity that determines the wealth of nations.
On April 17, 2003, in Iraq, the American company Bechtel received a no-bid reconstruction contract from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The initial contract was for $680 million over 18 months. It now stands at over $100 billion, making it the largest Iraq reconstruction contract.
The most lucrative Iraq reconstruction contract was not to repair oil infrastructure, build schools and hospitals or repair bombarded infrastructure. It was to source, process and distribute water.
For western leaders, the corporations that fund their political campaigns and the Jewish lobby that is the backbone of corporate America, intervention in Syria however is not exclusively about profit. It is about something far more important – Israel.
Israeli leaders assert that Mr. Assad poses an existential threat to Israel on two fronts. For a start, Syria backs insurgents and radicals in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq, and foments Iran's belligerence. More importantly, Mr. Assad poses a bigger threat to Israel's existence on the issue of water. Not least because Mr. Assad has vowed to reclaim the Golan Heights – a strip of land which Israel captured from Syria in the war of 1967. The Golan Heights provide a staggering 40 per cent of Israel's fresh water.
''Syrian control of half of our water poses more of a threat than Iran with one bomb,'' once remarked ex Israeli intelligence head Meir Dagan. Mr. Assad has also been reticent to privatise the water industry and expose the population to predatory pricing. Thereby preventing the west from tapping into a multi-billion dollar revenue stream.
Since the turn of the century, western military adventures in the Middle East have undoubtedly been fuelled by billions of dollars in profit from pilfering oil, trading arms and winning no bid reconstruction contracts.
Whether it is preserving almost half of Israel's water supply, controlling the eighth wonder of the world or awarding oneself the biggest reconstruction contract in Iraq, water has also been a key part of the blend that has fuelled the west's war-machine. Control of nature's most precious and increasingly valuable commodity will, for any nation, spell the difference between greatness and decline. Mr. Hussein, Colonel Gaddafi and a defiant Mr. Assad know that all too well.
By Garikai Chengu
The author is a research scholar at Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond recently let the cat out of the bag by officially confirming that Britain will make returns of £200 billion from reconstruction contracts in Libya, all from a mere £300 million investment.
So this is turning into some koind of James Bond movie?
Quantum of Solace:
Real life intelligence operatives acted as on-the-set consultants for the movie including spies and assassins from the British Mi6 and the Israeli Secret Service.
The struggle for fresh water in the Middle East was a primary cause of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and has contributed to other military disputes in the region. Like other conflicts that revolve around scarce environmental resources, there are ways to determine the likelihood of water issues escalating into a large scale multi-national conflict. The probability that the degree of scarcity of water to a region, the need of several nations to share one fresh water source, the military or economic power of the state that controls the water, and existence of other fresh water sources aids the ability to predict the causes and possible solutions for these conflicts. Perhaps the clearest example of a region where fresh water supplies have had strategic implications is the Middle East (Gleick, p.84). This study will examine the relationship between environmental resources and conflict using the ongoing dispute between Israel and Jordan over water supply of the Jordan river as an example.
Now if the oil rich middle eastern countries were to spend a fraction of their income on these plants then water would not be a problem( the same goes for California). So it may point to the ruling regimes playing the keep it in short supply and keep the population under control.
Water is a basic staple for human existence and should not be used as a weapon to get any thing, money or power.
America especially instead of spending billions on advanced weaponry spend a few millions and build enough plants before the problem gets a problem. Or is that too simple an explanation. YES it really is that simple.
Then it's up to the government to take that power off T. Boone Pickens and implement enough desalination plants for the populace.