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Water Conflicts in a Historical Perspective. Environmental Factors in the Middle East Crisis

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This article analyses the importance of a water crisis in causing conflict, the use of water as a weapon and the environmental impact of wars, in the Middle East. In a context of increasing water scarcity, influenced by morphological constraints, population growth, economic development and diplomatic disputes between the riparian states of the Euphrates-Tigris basin, global climate change has caused a long period of drought that, in turn, exacerbated the preexistent situation and triggered conflict. In this war, Islamic State's strategies and tactics revolve around water, by using it as a weapon, as a mean for spreading terror, as a source for profit and as a political tool to legitimise its pseudo-State claims. Finally, this kind of war gravely harms the already critical environmental situation of the region and it is gradually going to make water the main purpose of conflicts.
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Keywords: Middle East; conflict; water scarcity

Document Type: Special Article

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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  • The half-yearly journal Global Environment: A Journal of History and Natural and Social Sciences acts as a forum and echo chamber for ongoing studies on the environment and world history, with special focus on modern and contemporary topics. Our intent is to gather and stimulate scholarship that, despite a diversity of approaches and themes, shares an environmental perspective on world history in its various facets, including economic development, social relations, production government, and international relations.
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