The Crisis of The Tigris and Euphrates Valleys

and the Contrast between Waters and Desertification


It took more than three years to finish this study. I depended on many references, Arabic and non-Arabic. Many parts of  it were published in Arabic papers and journals. This study is regarded as an Academic research work using scientific methods, looking into the water crisis between Turkey on one side and Iraq and Syria on the other side.


Chapter 1: This chapter discusses the shortage of waters in the world in general, the population growth, and the demands for water and the limitation of its resources in the world. Also it sheds light on the water crisis in the Arab world, particularly most of the international rivers in the Arab countries start outside of their borders. Hence it would be the source of a potential future conflict between these countries and we look at ways of dealing with these conflicts.

Also this chapter deals with understanding of the international new rules and regulations and the concepts of the International Monitory Fund (IMF) about how to deal with supply and demand of water."

This study will discuss water crisis in the Middle-East and the expectations of the Iraqis and the experts from the world organizations concerned about the possibility of wars erupting in the region because of water shortages.


Chapter 2:

Discusses the evolution of the International laws related to the International rivers, shedding light on the most important international treaties, since 1785. It relies on whether it is possible for the international community to use these treaties as a base for making decisions and giving advice about the concept of the international rivers. Also it shows the main water treaties which were signed between Turkey and her neighbors, in particular the Euphrates valley countries.


Chapter 3:

Looks at the most important differences between the countries of Euphrates valley in regard to water distribution and their failures to reach an agreement. This is followed by diplomatic letters, exchanged between these countries. Also it sheds lights on the crisis which erupted between Turkey on one hand and Iraq and Syria on the other in 1990, when Turkey had blocked The Euphrates for one month to fill The Atatork  reservoir without any consultation with her neighbors (Iraq and Syria) or any former agreement. This caused great damages and losses in both  Iraq and Syria.

Also this chapter has dealt with Turkish understanding and interpretations of the International laws about the concept of the international rivers and their different legal views and the international legistlations. 


Chapter 4:

This chapter concentrate, with details, on water policies of the Euphrates valley countries as well as the dams and other water structures on both The Tigris and Euphrates in the three countries, Turkey, Syria and Iraq and the capacity of these dams and their purposes.

In discussing the Turkish water policy, I have concentrated on the Turkish GAP project and its adverse  effect on limiting water running to Iraq and Syria.

As for The project of so called pipe-line of peace which was proposed by Turkey in 1987, this chapter has discussed it and the causes of its failure due to political and economic reasons and the reactions from the Arab countries.

I discussed Syrian water policy and her main water resources, structures, reservoirs and their capacities and annual quantity of waters received and their economic and agricultural purposes.

In regards to the Iraqi water policy, this chapter has discussed, in full details, describing the dams built on both Tigris and Euphrates, highlighting the historic role of the Euphrates as a source of civilization in Mesopotamia.

The so called third river between Tigris and Euphrates, which is a man- made, has been discussed with some details and its negative and positive effects.


Chapter 5:

This chapter is a first of its kind, discussing The Saudi Arabian rights in Euphrates waters according to the international laws dealing with international rivers. This work discusses the conflicts on waters in Middle-East, pointing out to the possibility of war erupting between Iraq and Saudi Arabia on underground water which are provided from Euphrates.

Also I alluded to the relation of Israel to Euphrates waters and the scenario  of principle of compensation for the Golan water in Syria in order to help the peace process between Israel and the Arabs.

Besides, I discussed the deffirent ways and means to develop and improve the water resources in the Arab world, by highlighting the projects of water transport between neighboring countries and desalination and proposing the means to solve water crisis in the region.


Chapter 6:

The final chapter has discussed the population growth and the rational ways of distributing water in The Euphrates valley and best way of utilizing water economically in the future, to keep a balance between the needs and the resources, reaching into the conclusion of realistic solutions to face the Turkish water projects. We explored a package of proposals and projects, in order to overcome the crisis between Turkey on one side and Iraq and Syria on the other.


Annexex: Includes a glossary, tables and graphs about countries of The Euphrates valley, followed by tables, graphs and maps of Turkey, Syria and Iraq.