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Howard's End: WWIII Threat Faces Security Council

Howard's End: Threat of WWIII Faces Security Council

By Maree Howard

As the US-British coalition stands toe to toe with the French-German-Russia tri-axis at the UN Security Council and each waits for the other guy to blink first, resentments continue building over an Iraqi war another complicating factor has arisen - the war for water. Maree Howard writes.

This war is no longer about Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Firstly, it's about bullying by Washington and London of France Germany and Russia. But its also about the outrage felt by the US who sees itself as the lone superpower being told by the UN what to do. Because of bumbling and miscalcualtion this could well lead to another World War - that is precisely the threat that now faces the Security Council.

Secondly, it is about oil

Thirdly, it's about water - which Iraq and Turkey has plenty of while its Arab neighbours and Israel do not.

Each country in the Middle East has a unique struggle and role in the quest for water but through internal strife, politics and bumbling government's, the supply of water in the Middle East is a disaster.

Because of international sanctions Iraq can't market its water resources to needy Arab neighbours. Israel's burgeoning middle class, infused with high-tech revolution has a great and growing thirst for water - for showers, gardens and swimming pools.

But Israel's thirst for water has also made its Arab neighbours thirsty - many say, for blood. Jordan, has no water a few days every week and running water only once a week - while Israel controls the aquifers in Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians need government approval to drill for water which means the current supply of water is about 75% less than what the Palestinians need on a daily basis.

Per capita, Israel consumes three times the water per day that the Palestinians do. It is evident for all to see. The island's around traffic islands in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are green and filled with flowers. The settlers in the West Bank have green lawns and palm trees. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have polluted water with nitrates which is harmful to the liver, kidney and to pregnant women and young children.

Yet even the quality of Israel's water is also less than ideal. Almost half the water Israeli's concume would not be fit for human consumption if international standards were enforced.

A war over water is not without precedent. Israel and Jordan engaged in military battles over the Jordan River tributaries prior to the 1967 Six-Day War. And that situation is getting worse by the day. The Quwayq River in Syria has been pumped dry. Listing each water problem in the Middle East would be a major task.

Even the oasis near Lawrence of Arabia's hedquarters at Azraq has been turned to sand. The area around Amman was once a paradise of oases. In the Midle East military strength, water and food are still as important as they were in the 19th Century.

The water crises plays prominently in any peace negotiations. But there can be no peace when Israeli and American politicians make statments like "Let the Arabs drink their oil."

Put simply there is not enough water in the Middle East, full stop - even if Iraq was allowed to market its water starting tomorrow. One small solution, at least for part of the Middle East, involves the Euphrates River in Turkey. So it's become a war game about who can grab control over Iraq's water resource first, and as quickly as they can.

As the major nations stand toe to toe and eye to eye over an Iraqi war at the UN, we had better watch who blinks first - or it could quickly become a World War.

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