Water Scarcity in Iraq: From Inter-Tribal Conflict to International Disputes
Pieter-jan Dockx   ·   07 May, 2019   ·   203    ·    Special Report

This paper investigates the impact of the decreasing availability of water on security and politics in Iraq. Contrary to the bulk of existing research, international dynamics only play a minor role in this study. Instead, the focal point of what follows lies in domestic hydropolitics. Water scarcity has already brought about several security and political challenges in the country – both as a primary factor, and in conjunction with other elements. On the domestic front, scarcity has for example led to disputes among tribes and provinces, large-scale protests, and militancy. In the future, water could induce tension along ethnosectarian lines and strain the relationship between the Kurdish region and the federal government in Baghdad. On the international front, water allocation will increasingly influence Iraq's external relations. However, a conventional inter-state 'water war' is unlikely to take place.

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