Food and water insecurity threatens Syria and Iraq yet again

By Gabriel Paes and Daniel Vidal Pérez |

Syria and Iraq could witness a deterioration on its indicators of both food and water insecurtiy. This occurs due to the intensive use of river resources by its neighbors Turkey and Iran, and also because of its own internal political-military fragmentation. This context causes decentralization in the management of natural resources usage. Both countries depend extensively on the water flows coming from the Euphrates-Tigris river basin, with its main spring located in eastern Turkey. The construction of a series of infrastructure projects over the watercourse in Turkish territory, combined with unsupervised usage of resources by Iran, have expanded the proportions of food and water crisis in the Middle East, a region already affected by severe internal fractures.

Impacts on Defense and Security: The cross-border disputes related to the use of natural resources could serve as a pretext for military action, reiterating the necessity of looking for a solution for the issue through coorperation between States. Nevertheless, the disruption of water supply, associated with the presence of different actors on the ground, increases the possibility of conflicts in the the short and mid terms.

Source: HAMID, Yoseph. Mitigating Conflict over Water in the Euphrates-Tigris Basin. Arab Center Washington DC, Washington, 12/15/2020, available at:


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