Skip to main content

A "new" angle on the reason for the war in Syria......lack of water!

Thomas Friedman, author and op-ed writer for The New York Times, has been travelling in Syria.  Now, whilst no one could ever say that Friedman is insightful, let alone knowledgable about foreign affairs - just to the contrary! - in his latest piece for the Times he notes one cause for the present conflict in Syria.   Drought!   To what extent he is on the money is hard to evaluate.     

“The drought did not cause Syria’s civil war,” said the Syrian economist Samir Aita, but, he added, the failure of the government to respond to the drought played a huge role in fueling the uprising. What happened, Aita explained, was that after Assad took over in 2000 he opened up the regulated agricultural sector in Syria for big farmers, many of them government cronies, to buy up land and drill as much water as they wanted, eventually severely diminishing the water table. This began driving small farmers off the land into towns, where they had to scrounge for work.

Because of the population explosion that started here in the 1980s and 1990s thanks to better health care, those leaving the countryside came with huge families and settled in towns around cities like Aleppo. Some of those small towns swelled from 2,000 people to 400,000 in a decade or so. The government failed to provide proper schools, jobs or services for this youth bulge, which hit its teens and 20s right when the revolution erupted.

Then, between 2006 and 2011, some 60 percent of Syria’s land mass was ravaged by the drought and, with the water table already too low and river irrigation shrunken, it wiped out the livelihoods of 800,000 Syrian farmers and herders, the United Nations reported. “Half the population in Syria between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers left the land” for urban areas during the last decade, said Aita. And with Assad doing nothing to help the drought refugees, a lot of very simple farmers and their kids got politicized. “State and government was invented in this part of the world, in ancient Mesopotamia, precisely to manage irrigation and crop growing,” said Aita, “and Assad failed in that basic task.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

One Forbes List: A roll call of criminals, psychopaths and megalomaniacs

2016 has ended and there has been the inevitable list of the best of 2016 of this or that.     

The just published Forbes List of the Most Powerful People is another thing altogether.    It is truly shocking to think that those listed are as downright awful and the worst of humankind has to offer.....yet wield enormous power.     The Age newspaper in "Who's who list a roll call of criminals, psychopaths and megalomaniacs" provides the details.....

"It's that time of the year again. In an effort to celebrate or sum up, or maybe just expunge the events of a year that's just wound up, we've become obsessed with rankings. Top 10 Christmas hits, bestselling books, the most excruciating movie moments, the seven things we're doing to wreak havoc on our planet. This year, courtesy of US presidential election, we also have the top 20 fake news stories, the 10 steps for adjusting to a Trump presidency, and the best destinations for those that find they simply ar…

"Wake Up"

The message is loud and clear....and as you watch this, remember that it was on Israeli TV - not some anti-semitic or anti-Israel program somewhere in the world.


Happy New Year....not?

Credited to Mike Luckovich