Tag Archive | "Euphrates"

Militants Close Euphrates River Dam

By John Lee.

Militants have reportedly closed the Euphrates River dam they control in Iraq, cutting off a major source of water for central and southern Iraq.

AFP reports that militants had previously cut the flow of water through the dam near the city of Fallujah several weeks ago, but reopened it when water accumulated and caused the area to flood.

The US embassy issued a statement Monday condemning “ongoing terrorist acts” by powerful jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the dam closure in particular.

(Source: AFP)

(Terrorism image via Shutterstock)

Posted in Agriculture, Industry & Trade, SecurityComments Off

Turkey’s Approach Toward Shiites will Reduce Sectarianism

By Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Turkey’s Approach Toward Iraq’s Shiites will Reduce Sectarianism

For the first time in modern Turkish history, a high-ranking Turkish official, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (pictured), visited the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, in Iraq. In a symbolic gesture during the holy month of Muharram, Davutoglu wore a black shirt, green scarf and tie — signs of mourning for Imam Hussein, the third Shiite imam whose martyrdom was being celebrated during his visit. He arrived in Najaf on the morning of Nov. 11, after spending time in Baghdad on Nov. 10.

While in Najaf, Davutoglu met for almost an hour with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. He described Sistani as the “safety valve” of Iraq, calling him a “global peace man” who stands against sectarian sedition in Iraq and the region. He also said that he brought the salutations of the 76 million people of Turkey to Sistani and Iraqis.

Referencing the Muharram commemoration of Hussein, Davutoglu asserted that Najaf and Karbala were in the hearts of all Turkish Muslims and that the principles of mankind’s compassion espoused by the imam belong not only to all Muslims, but to all humanity.

He also expressed his hope that such a tragedy as at Karbala, where Hussein was martyred, never be repeated. Sistani welcomed Davutoglu, thanked him for his sentiments and sent his salutations to the Turkish people and their government.

Davutoglu had previously announced that his visits to Najaf and Karbala were not for political purposes and that he would not discuss political issues with Shiite spiritual leaders. Once in Iraq, however, most of his discussions with Shiite leaders focused on political and even economic issues, in detail.

A source present at the meeting between Davutoglu and Sistani reported that after a brief general discussion about the regional sectarian crisis, for which both shared mutual understanding and agreement, Sistani turned the discussion to the pressing economic issues facing Iraq.

He registered his disapproval that Turkey continues to press ahead with construction of a series of dams on the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers that is reducing water flows into Iraq. This issue has created a major problem for the Iraqi economy as well as the country’s environment that must be resolved through cooperation between Iraq and Turkey, according to Sistani.

Davutoglu tried to explain Ankara’s official position on the water issue, indicating that Turkey was is willing to provide a guaranteed water allocation to Iraq during times of scarcity. To Davutoglu’s surprise, according to the source, Sistani rejected such an approach and expressed his desire for UN arbitration to resolve the long-standing water issue.

An adviser in Sistani’s office told Al-Monitor that the grand ayatollah is looking for a sustainable solution that guarantees the two countries interests and is based on international conventions. Turkey began constructing the Ilisu Dam in 2006 as one among 22 dams for the Southeastern Anatolia Project on the Tigris River some 65 kilometers upstream from the Iraqi border. It will reduce 40% of the water flowing into Iraq.

Sistani’s demand that Turkey cease holding back water was widely welcomed by Iraq’s media. Reports drew attention to the Iraqi government having remained largely silent on this issue, although it is one of the most important policy differences between the two countries. In short, Sistani did more to draw attention to the issue than has the government.

Davutoglu also had a meeting with the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf. They discussed the regional sectarian crisis and stressed that Iraq and Turkey must work cooperatively to confront terrorist groups taking advantage of the volatile situation in Syria. Davutoglu described Iraq as representing the Middle East and thus having a crucial role to play in the region. Both men were cautious to avoid discussing the Syria issue directly, as this could have potentially led to conflict over their differing objectives there.

Before moving on to Karbala, Davutoglu visited the holy shrine of Imam Ali, the first Shiite imam, and Imam Hussein’s shrine, where he briefly participated in a ceremony of mourning. The day before, while in Baghdad, Davutoglu had visited the al-Kadhimiya Mosque and met Saleh al-Haidari, head of Iraq’s charitable Shiite Endowment.

In addition, he talked with a few other Shiite politician-clerics, among them Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. It is thought that Turkey’s extending its hand to Iraqi Shiites might help lead to its playing a significant role in soothing sectarian crises in the region and garner Ankara the role of mediator, as it already has good relations with Sunni parties in Iraq.

Posted in Industry & TradeComments Off

Water Levels Fall at Key Iraqi Dams

The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources announced on Monday a significant decline in water levels in the country’s strategic Mosul and Haditha (pictured) dams due to a lack of rainfall in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and a reduction in water flow from Turkey, Syria and Iran.

Director of Projects Ali Hashim told AKnews that the ministry has developed new plans to reduce water wastage in order to cope with this year’s water shortages.

“The Ministry will line (the country’s) rivers and streams and coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture to prevent farmers from wasting water,” he said.

The Ministry of Water Resources announced that it has allocated close to $69 million [83 billion Iraqi dinars] to line main and branch rivers in the southern provinces to reduce water wastage.

The Agricultural Initiative Commission headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki decided at the end of March to form a national water council to determine the policies that should be adopted to develop the country’s water supplies.

Hashim said that the formation of the committee will also assume the role of negotiating with Iraq’s neighboring states to reach agreements about the water that flows through them into Iraq through the shared Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Turkey is already working on the construction a major dam on the rivers and Syria has announced plans to construct a further major dam project on the river Euphrates.

Iran has blocked river water flowing into Iraqi territories several times. In 2008 Iran built a dam on the river Alwand which prevented its usual flow into Iraq through the northern Khanaqin region. The river, now completely dry had played a vital role in the area’s agricultural irrigation projects.

Iraq has engaged in talks with Turkey and Syria on several occasions to reach agreements over the flow of water into Iraq from shared rivers. The talks have not yet met with any success and both countries have gone ahead with plans to build dams that further reduce the volume of water entering Iraq.

The United Nations mission in Iraq warned in its March report that Iraq runs the risk of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers drying up completely by 2040. Although the Ministry of Water Resources recognized the significance of the UN report, they said its figures were exaggerated and not based on accurate statistics.

(Source: AKnews)

Posted in Agriculture, Public WorksComments Off

Water Supply Problems in Maysan

The volume of waters from the Tigris River reaching Iraq has been receding to the extent that several water purification plants in the Province of Missan [Maysan] are running without water.

Mohannad Kadhem, the head of water purification and distribution in the southern province, said the problem started with tributaries belonging to the river feeding smaller towns.

“The water plant for the district of Adel … has stopped working in addition to four more plants in the district of Kahla,” said Kadhem.

“If water levels kept declining, we may see soon the stoppage of all water purification plants and related installations in the province,” Kadhem warned.

The volume of waters reaching Iraq from the twin rivers of Tigris and Euphrates has been falling drastically in the past few years.

But water shortages have never reached the stage where water purification plants had to be shut down.

Both rivers, on whose waters Iraq relies for drinking, industrial purposes and agriculture, originate in Turkey.

But Kadhem blamed the Ministry of Water Resources, saying it had reduced the water share of Missan Province from the Tigris River to the extent that there is not enough water to feed its tributaries.

(Source: AKnews)

Posted in Agriculture, Public WorksComments Off

Iraqi Government to Tackle Drought

“The Iraqi government will take new procedures to combat drought in Iraq. It will launch a new initiative to control the drought and support the agricultural initiative that started last year”, a source in the Iraqi government said on Tuesday, as reported by AK News.

“There is a fear that the water levels in Tigris and Euphrates rivers may decrease by 2016 to about 23 percent, according to the latest governmental studies, because of the Turkish dams established on Tigris River… the initiative, which will be launched in the coming days, emphasises the need to find new alternatives to irrigate crops and use water properly. It also encourages the Iraqi exploitation of groundwater, especially in regions of Kurdistan”, the source explained.

The Planning Minister Ali Baban confirmed on Monday that “the agricultural and industrial sectors in Iraq are passing through a critical phase that includes a lot of problems”.

The Ministry of Water Resources had warned earlier about a Syrian project that plans to irrigate about 200 thousand hectares of its land from the Tigris River. [See our previous article about the ‘Friendship Dam‘.]

Iraq has witnessed recently a severe crisis in water supply: dozens of rivers and streams in Iraq are suffering from drought. The reduced levels of fresh water in the Shatt al-Arab have increased the amount of salt in the water in Basra, thus threatening agricultural land.

Iraq and Syria accused Turkey last September of reducing their share of water from 500 cubic meters per second agreed in 1987, to less than 120 cubic meters per second, according to experts, while the Turkish government attributed this to the lack of rain, high temperature, and low water levels in the Ataturk dam.

(Source: AK News)

Posted in Agriculture, Construction & Engineering, Public WorksComments Off

Iraq Disputes so-called ‘Friendship Dam’

According to a report from AK News, the Iraqi government has increased its diplomatic efforts with Syria and Turkey regarding their plans for the Tigris River.

“Iraq will form a delegation of experts in the fields of water and agriculture to visit Turkey, Syria and Iran soon, to persuade those countries on the size of the disaster that will affect Iraq if the flow of water is restricted to Iraq, especially with regard to the so-called Friendship Dam between Turkey and Syria which was announced few days ago,” an advisor to the outgoing Iraqi government said.

“If these diplomatic efforts fail, Iraq may raise the issue with the United Nations ,” he added.

“The Agriculture Ministry was unable to control the desertification except for some areas that don’t exceed 20% of the affected lands due to the lack of sufficient water that enters Iraq,” the Ministry said.

The Tigris flows from south-east Anatolia in Turkey to Syria, and enters Iraq in the town of Fesh Khaboor, in the Dohuk Province of Kurdistan.

Posted in Public WorksComments Off

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