Water Wars With New Actors

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is still a formidable force, but it is under severe pressure both in Iraq and Syria by multiple forces who do not want this malicious new formation to take root in the Middle East.
Any land that ISIL once occupied becomes wasteland. ISIL destroys historical heritage, burns down existing facilities and leaves the rest booby-trapped, unsuited for human habitation. ISIL clearly has no intention of leaving anything useable behind, and this goes for human life as well. When obliged to move out of its military compounds, it moves into residential neighborhoods where they are less likely to be targeted by airstrikes. Human life is regarded as a tool by ISIL its own survival comes first.
Recently a US special forces operation killed a top ISIL commander named Abu Sayyaf in the al-Omar region of eastern Syria. Abu Sayyaf was not only a military commander he helped direct ISILand’s illicit oil and gas operations as well. These are the main financial resources of the terrorist organization.
Among the seized documents of Abu Sayyaf a sinister plan to exacerbate the water crisis in the Middle East was discovered. This strategy was previously evidenced by ISILand’s efforts to seize control of rivers and dams in Syria and Iraq over the past two years.
Experts* emphasize that ISILand’s expanding control over the water resources of the Middle East will only compound the regionand’s water crisis. ISIL is undoubtedly planning to use water as a weapon, an inhumane means of applying pressure for political ends. Control of vital water resources will give the organization bargaining power to survive.
This strategy is obvious when considering the tactical moves of ISIL to gain control over most of the upper areas of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. These rivers flow from Turkey in the North to the Persian Gulf in the South. By controlling the border regions of Iraq and Syria, ISIL gains leverage over the life and death of populations in these countries that rely on water from these rivers. Considering the vital importance of water for human life as well as for the environment, control over water resources could overshadow the competition over oil and gas. A humanitarian disaster is in the making.
This ominous prediction looks grimmer now that ISIL has announced its decision to extend the mandate of its and”caliphateand” from the Levant into Egypt, Ethiopia and the Maghreb. The organization published a map in July 2014 showing a planned expansion into the Nile basin.
The allegiance sworn by Boko Haram** in March 2015 to and”Caliphand” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi must be viewed as part of this conspiracy to control the headwaters of the Nile. ISIL intends to imitate what Putinand’s Russia has done in terms of oil and gas, monopolizing the transfer of these assets and strengthening its status a power broker in matters of energy, but instead capitalizing on the water resources of the Middle East.
The war over oil and gas may prompt technological aances and may be quelled before it becomes a source of global conflict. But water has no substitute, and those with no respect for human values have realized this stark truth.
Though the humble populations of this region are the main victims of the conflict over oil, the water wars will involve everyone, rich or poor.
hr *http:www.al-monitor.comulseoriginals201505arab-world-water-conflict-ISIL-control-war.html#ixzz3aPeMMol7
**Boko Haram is a branch of ISIL. It has been active in Nigeria since 2009. The name of the group means that andquotWesternandquot or andquotnon-Islamicandquot education is a sin. The group is active in the north of Nigeria, and wants to impose Islamic law as the only law in Nigeria.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman