Middle East not quite so helpless

Water in the Middle East is not as scarce as war is prevalent.

by Sera Shane

In response to Hadley GustinâÄôs Dec. 6 column âÄúWater evaporates stability in the Middle East,âÄù I am again surprised by the assumptions yet another person makes about the foreign land IâÄôm sure sheâÄôs never stepped on. True, most of the countries named in the article do have water shortages in North Africa, but not in the Middle East. Being a Kurd living in the United States and also attending the University of Minnesota, the pure mountain water that comes from Kurdistan is abundant. Kurdistan is one of the only places in the Middle East that does not depend on other nations for food or water. In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein was asked why he wanted Kurdistan, since it only had a little bit of oil and no other valuable resources. He said because the land is fertile. If you drop a watermelon seed, the next year there will be a bed of watermelons. The assumption that Kurds are at the greatest disadvantage is largely inaccurate because they have the greatest advantage of having pure water fall down their mountains. Even in the south, Arabs have the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Iraq is partially marshland, where the ground is so damp that it is difficult to have skyscrapers. They do have access to water but not to clean water, because their water cleaning facilities were destroyed during long wars. Their water scarcity comes from war. Iraqis now depend on Turkish-cleaned water, which is distributed by large pipes underground. In Iraq, gas is cheaper than water not because water is expensive but rather that gas is so cheap, a few cents per gallon. The best way to help these nations with their water scarcity is to let them be, if not to rebuild their water cleansing facilities then to trade their gas for clean water. Many Iraqis hate to think about what will happen when their natural oil resources run out. Of course, by then, not many countries will want to be at war with them. Sera Shane University undergraduate student Please send comments to [email protected]