Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Water Wars

The bottom line of the socialist case against war is that it is about ownership and contrrol of natural resources , and that religion or race are just the pretext for this competition .

Many came to their own conclusion when they ignored the politicians propaganda and recognised that the Iraq War was not about WMDs or bringing democracy but was a war for the oil .

Less would accept that the Middle East conflict between Israel and its neighbours was about the struggle to acquire natural sources . Yet this article from the BBC confirms much of the socialist argument .

The Six-Day War in 1967 arguably had its origins in a water dispute - moves to divert the River Jordan, Israel's main source of drinking water.Years of skirmishes and sabre rattling culminated in all-out war, with Israel quadrupling the territory it controlled and gaining complete control of double the resources of fresh water. A country needs water to survive and develop. In Israel's history, it has needed water to make feasible the influx of huge numbers of Jewish immigrants. In addition to their sheer numbers, citizens of the new state were intent on conducting water-intensive commercial agricultural such as growing bananas and citrus fruits.

As far back as 1919, the Zionist delegation at the Paris Peace Conference said the Golan Heights, Jordan valley, what is now the West Bank, as well as Lebanon's river Litani were "essential for the necessary economic foundation of the country. Palestine must have... the control of its rivers and their headwaters".

Those resources - the West Bank's mountain aquifer and the Sea of Galilee - give Israel about 60% of its fresh water, a million cubic metres per year. Israel, and Israeli settlements, take about 80% of the aquifer's flow, leaving the Palestinians with 20%. But the Palestinians say they are prevented from using their own water resources by a belligerent military power, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to buy water from their occupiers at inflated prices. Moreover, Israel allocates its citizens, including those living in settlements in the West Bank deemed illegal under international law, with between three and five times more water than the Palestinians.

Stalled negotiations on Syria's dispute with Israel over the Golan Heights - occupied by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1980 - also foundered on water-related issues. Syria wants an Israeli withdrawal to 5 June 1967 borders, allowing Syria access to the Jordan and Yarmouk rivers. Israel wants to use boundaries dating back to 1923 and the British Mandate, which give the areas to Israel.

Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said in the 1990s that the next war in the Middle East would not be about water not politics . In 2000 former UN general secretary , Kofi Annan warned that national rivaries over water could harbour the "seeds of violent conflict" and there were those who linked the recent attempted invasion of Lebanon by Israel on the water issue to gain access to the Litani .

Nor is the potential for future wars confined to the Israeli-Arab situation but involves all the Middle Eastern countries and water scarcity is indeed a world-wide problem .

Yet another urgent reason to discard Capitalism which has now out-lived its usefulness and only blocks any further progress of humanity .

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