Not just Oil – Also WATER
Excerpts from an article by Stephen C. Pelletier, formerly the CIA’s senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War and professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000 – “A War Crime or an Act of War?” – New York Times, (January 31, 2003).
“We are constantly reminded that Iraq has perhaps the world’s largest reserves of oil. But in a regional and perhaps even geopolitical sense, it may be more important that Iraq has the most extensive river system in the Middle East. In addition to the Tigris and Euphrates, there are the Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers in the north of the country. Iraq was covered with irrigation works by the sixth century A.D., and was a granary for the region.”
“Before the Persian Gulf war, Iraq had built an impressive system of dams and river control projects, the largest being the arbandikhan dam in the Kurdish area. And it was this dam the Iranians were aiming to take control of when they seized Halabja. In the 1990’s there was much discussion over the construction of a so-called Peace Pipeline that would bring the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates outh to the parched Gulf states and, by extension, Israel. No progress has been made on this, largely because of Iraqi intransigence. With Iraq in American hands, of course, all that could change.”
“Thus America could alter the destiny of the Middle East in a way that probably could not be challenged for decades – not solely by controlling Iraq’s oil, but by controlling its water. Even if America didn’t occupy the country, once Mr. Hussein’s Baath Party is driven from power, many lucrative opportunities would open up for American companies.”