YAHIYA HABIB/NEWS DESK
We have often heard about the water war and that the coming decades will witness conflicts over water quotas among the countries on the coast. This seems to have come close to Iraq with the current water crisis as a result of the construction of the Turkish Eliso Dam, which will deprive it of half its water share of the Dijla River.
The water crisis in Iraq is not new. The clashes, intersections and disagreements between Iraq and neighboring countries date back to long periods of time during which many agreements and protocols were implemented, some of which remained in limbo for political and security reasons that often affects economic and trade relations between the parties concerned.
It seems that Mesopotamia is threatened with the loss of these two descriptions if the water crisis continues. Its northern neighbor, Turkey, began operating the Eliso dam, which would inflict "significant damage" on Iraq and the Kurds living on their land in Turkey.
It was clear that this year and last year witnessed a lot of convulsions and tensions between Iraq and its neighbors because of water, to add another crisis to the chronic crises experienced by the Iraqi scene internally and externally.
In recent days, images of a part of the Dijla River in Mosul city have been seen on social media showing the extent of the drought that has hit parts of the river, where water is supposed to be the first point of water flowing from Turkey.
Dijla River is 1,850 kilometers long. After flowing from the Taurus Mountains, it flows into the southeastern part of Iraq and meets the Euphrates River, which is connected with it through semi-permanent natural channels, to form Shatt al-Arab in the southernmost of al-Basra province.
Over the past few days, there have been places in Dijla river where mud parts of the river land have emerged, after the water level has fallen to more than half. This is happening for the first time because Turkey has begun to store water in Eliso dam.
With the operate of Eliso dam last Friday, the water flowing into Iraq now amounts to 390 cubic meters per second, while last year it was 700 cubic meters per second, which confirms that Iraq's share has fallen by almost half.
Eliso dam is about 50 kilometers from the Iraqi border and was started by the Turkish government in 2006 in Eliso village in Bakur Kurdistan, 140 meters high and extending 1,800 meters.
Dijla and Euphrates basin are important aquifers, which may be considered one of the main causes of the conflict. This is due to the complexity of the problem and the source state (Turkey) to exploit this wealth to ensure its political and economic interests at the expense of the interests of the other basin countries
Summary about Eliso Dam
In the 1950s, Turkey proposed the construction of Eliso dam, a hydropower project, which began construction in 2006, on Dijla River near Eliso village, along the borders of the provinces of Mardin and Şirnexê in Bakur(North) Kurdistan. It was completed and opened in February 2018 and began to fill its water reservoir in early June this year 2018.
The dam project has caused international anger for several reasons, most notably the low level of water flowing to Syria, Iran and Iraq, as well as the impact of more than 50 thousand residents of the areas surrounding the dam area Bakur Kurdistan, especially in Eliso village and other surrounding villages that will sink completely under the waters of the dam. Turkey justified the dam's construction as providing electricity and jobs opportunity.
The water crisis: a long-term Turkish plan against the peoples of the area
The problem of water and water dependency for Iraq began after Turkey sought to establish the project of southeastern Anatolia which started Turkey since 1981, and this project targets the peoples living in the region, it threatens the Kurds and Arabs and at the same time serves Israel.
Elimination of Kurdish cultural heritage
According to archaeologists and human rights groups, the dams of this project threaten to destroy the cultural heritage of a particular ethnic group, the Kurds who have lived in the upper Dijla and Euphrates regions for thousands of years. In July 2001, the British government expressed concern about the implementation of this project. The dam project, in particular Eliso and Sizri dams, is an attack on the Kurds' rights in Turkey.
Archaeologists associations tried to stop the project of the Turkish government to build the Dijla dam by all means, forcing some contractors to contribute to the implementation of the project to stop work, and the funding agencies were reluctant to grant loans and facilities to build dams, and raised the special archaeological associations, the officials did not Fortify archaeological sites that will be destroyed by this project, or transfer what can be moved to other areas. But they have not yet organized an archaeological survey, to find out what can be hidden from the remains of old, despite the spread of hills in abundance in the Upper Euphrates Valley and Tigris, indicating the existence of remnants of ancient cities buried thousands of years ago.
Political pressure on Arabs
The Turkish plan has been in operation since 1965. Turkey has built more than 20 dams on Dijla and Euphrates rivers, most notably the Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates and Eliso dam on Dijla River. Turkey is trying to use this project as a political pressure on neighboring countries. Including political pressure on Iraq to gain political and economic gains.
Sale of deducted water to Israel
The sale of excess water, which is deducted from the shares of Syria and Iraq to Israel and through the so-called pipes of peace this project emerged after the visit of the Israeli President to Ankara and urged him to sell water to the Arabs, Turkish water "because it represents a rescue for Israel's water problems.
Turkmenization Euphrates and Dijla rivers
Turkey's water policy is based on the view that Dijla and Euphrates basin is one basin, and that the two rivers cross the international borders and not two international rivers. Thus, Turkey tries to build Dijla and Euphrates dams and gives it the right to dispose of the river waters within its political borders.
Turkey is trying to compare the waters of Dijla and the Euphrates with Arab oil, so it is trying to sell water to the Arabs. A Turkish minister issued a statement in September 1997 stating that Turkey should sell water from the Euphrates and Dijla rivers to its neighbors in the south.
Turkey rejects any settlement of this issue in accordance with international law
Turkey used this card to influence the policy of the beneficiary countries of Dijla and Euphrates Rivers and rejected any settlement of this issue in accordance with the principles of international law. It refused to approve the International Convention on the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on May 21, 1997 .