Turkey is playing a high-stakes game with Iraq, using water to advance its national security interests. Will Rogers at the Natural Security blog has nicely sized up this fascinating new wrinkle–yet another example of the emerging nexus between between international relations and environmental resources:
If Turkey is successful in getting Iraq to crack down on Kurdish rebels along its southern border, it may set a precedent for Turkey to use water as leverage over Iraq. And unlike in this instance where water’s role as a carrot may help Turkey achieve a modicum of security from Kurdish attacks on Turkish infrastructure while benefiting the drought-stricken Iraqi people, Turkey could just as easily use its water resources as a stick to get Iraq to make concession it would not otherwise make. But in a fragile state like Iraq, playing politics with water may exacerbate existing grievances and foment more turmoil and violence; something to watch for.
Of course, there’s always a silver lining:
Scientists commenting on the study said this was both good news and bad. It was “alarming”, they said, that global warming may be causing evolutionary change, but also hopeful in that some species may be able to adapt to changing circumstances.