The International Law and The viewpoints of Conflict and Conventions on Water In The Middle-East



This study deals with the first water ligistlation in history, in Mezopoteamia and the subsequent development of the International law up to our present time with its implications on the different states sharing the same rivers in the world. The study has dealt with in particular, the conflict in Middleast countries sharing rivers like Tigris, Eupherates, Jordan and the Nile. The conflict about water shortage and the possible subsequent disertification in Middle-East will be the main burning issue in the future conflict between these countries.


Therefore, the author believes the framework of the treaties about the rivers, that had been signed by the United Nations in 1997 should be regarded the best framework to solve the differences and to agree on fare water shares of the countries concerned in the region.

The study consists of four chapters plus Anexes.


Chapter 1:

This chapter deals with the early ligistlations of water distribution in antient history, which goes back to the year 2600 BC, which included ligistlations about irrigation and agricultures. Then followed by the Islamic law (sharia) related to this issue and the subsequent development of the International Laws dealing with water conflict since seventeenth Century up to now.

Also there is a detailed discussion of the most important aspects of the International law and its mechanisms and strength as well as its weaknesses and its loop-holes that limits its implications to solve the differences which emerges from time to time between the countries sharing the same rivers.

The author has discussed the causes that lead to raise the scale of the conflict on waters in the Middle East.


Chapter 2:

There is a brief discussing about the role of both rivers, Tigris and Eupherates, in history and civilization. Also the different political and legal aspects have been discussed  from the point of view of the countries of origin like Turkey and Iran as well as the countries forming valleys of Tigris and Eupherates like Iraq and Syria. Also alluding to the irrispocible statements made from time to time by the Turkish authorities in relation to these two rivers.

Then, there is a discussion of the most important International documents and treaties, which were signed by the states benefiting from the Tigris and Euphrates. The conflicts have been divided into three chronological stages according to their historical dimensions and the degree of escalation of tension between these countries in comparison with the treaties signed by Turkey and her neighbours. And finally, the author has discussed the crisis of the Eupherates valley and its identity in accordance with the International laws.


Chapter 3

This chapter deals with the river Jordan and its historical role in the surging of the conflict about water between the states of River Jordan valley, depicting the most important treaties signed by the states of Jordan Valley before 1948. Then discussing the main opinions and stances of the valley states, which includes: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. The author has also discussed the International proposals to put an end to the conflict between Israel and Arabs and a protocol to solve the crisis. The author also discusses the peace treaty that was signed by Israel with Arab states in the River Jordan valley as well as water treaties between Arab states, Syria and Lebanon on one hand and Syria and Jordan on the others, in relation to River Al-Aasi and Al-Yermouk.


Chapter 4:

In this chapter, the author has mentioned a brief history of the River Nile. Then he discussed the main water treaties between the states of the Nile Valley.  In addition to that, he portrayed the stances of these states from the treaties including the authors own views about the stance of these states from the International treaties and whether these treaties fit with the International law, and the legal and political rational that was adopted by the states of the valley in order to defend themselves and evade from the above mentioned treaties.

There is a concentration on position of Egypt as the main Nile valley state and the position of Ethiopia, as the country of origin of the Nile, because these two countries are widely at odd with each other amongst the Nile Valley states, each one of them is accusing other of violating its rights, exchanging threats was part of the conflict between them.



The author explains a number of legal concepts and terminologies, aiming precision and proper use of these concepts and phrases. Also he explains the terminology used when talking about the problem of water shortages in order to avoid the confusion and misunderstanding. Then there is a Bibliography of the references that the author consulted in his research work, in both Arabic and foreign languages, these include books, journals and circulars. And finally, an English summary of the study in order to give an idea about the study, to the universities and institutions concerned and those specialized in water problems.