Eden Denied: Environmental Decay, Illicit Activities, and Instability in Iraq's Southern Border Area
Iraq's Basra Governorate, on the border with Iran, has endured environmental degradation due to conflict and a reduction of water flows into the Shatt al-Arab waterway.
The ensuing decline in agriculture has led to rural migration, unemployment, poverty, a flourishing of informal and illicit economies, and the growth of violent groups.
Iran's dominant influence in Iraq has sustained this situation.
Unless these problems are addressed, instability in Basra will increase and will have long-term consequences for Iraq and the Middle East.