The Water File and Regional Cooperation in the New Middle-East Order

 

The geographic region of the Middle-East is not the Arab-Israeli conflict alone. Other conflicts have surfaced in the past few years, even if the mentioned one is the most significant. During the last five decades of the 20th century, with the presence of the two superpowers in the World, and the cold war, several international forces were playing significant roles in the conflict in the Middle-East, to further their own political goals and to gain influence in the region.

    After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the appearance of a unipolar World, with USA as the only super-power leading the new World Order, new intentions and strategies have attempted to redraw the geopolitics of the World.

    To strengthen its grip on the world, it was inevitable for the USA to try and re-organize the World system. One method is to establish regional umbrellas under which groups of states could be controlled. In the end they will be run to permit the USA to control world affairs in line with its own interests.

    The planned umbrella for the Middle-East, according to the New World order, is a new Middle-East in which the old relations between the states of the region are abolished and a new system of relations is imposed with new principles of regional co-operation in economics, politics, security, environment, tourism and other fields.

    The New Middle East Co-operative order has started since the mid-1990s, particularly in the political field. The views were different among the Arab states , for and against, and still some of them are undecided, waiting for the peace process to bring some results.

    This study is probably the first to discuss the New Middle-East order in its most important aspect, that is, the water problem. This very sensitive file has become a stumbling block in the way of peace negations between Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel until now.A serious debate is needed, particularly as there are several common water projects waiting to be built between Arab states and Israel. These projects are delayed because the States have not reached a settlement with respect to the share of water of each state from the limited water available.

    The Study consists of four chapters and some supplements.

 

Chapter One:

The Author discusses the concept of the Middle-East, from geopolitical and historical points of view. He also reviews the stance of the regional states with regard to the new Middle-East order, shedding light on Israel, Iran, Turkey, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. In addition he describes the stance of some academic and political figures in the Arab Homeland. After that the author discusses the possible outcome of the above mentioned stances. Different scenarios of war and peace with Israel are discussed, as well as different scenarios of possible regional cooperation. The author gives his own views about the Middle-East order, discussing its main aspects such as democracy, respect for human rights, economic and social regional developmental cooperation as well as common interests such as security, fight against terrorism and fundamentalism, disarmament of mass destructive weapons and a regional Central Bank .

 

Chapter Two:

In this chapter the author sheds light on the main international and regional conferences and seminars that have been held in the World and their resolutions. International interest in the Middle-East waters has, historically, been great. Britain, Italy, France, the USSR, Belgium and the USA all bear some responsibility for the political aspect of Middle-East waters. Finally the author discusses the Arab states interest in Middle-East water through the Arab League, and its role in the conflict and coordination between these states in relation to the water problem.

 

Chapter Three:

This chapter consists of three sections. The first is about water projects in the Middle-East, particularly those aiming to transport water to the Arab states. The second section is about inter-Arab states water transport. Also there is a historical review of the Arab water projects and Inter-Arab cooperation in the region, such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria. In addition the Arab participation in the foundation of regional water organizations like: ANDJO of the Nile Valley, the expert committee of the Tigris and Euphrates Valleys, and the development of the Senegal Valley.

    The third section is about different aspects of regional cooperation regarding water: what kind of cooperation, its foundations, and the options available. Finally a discussion of the ways and means to put an end to the conflict about water in the region.

 

Chapter Four also consists of three sections. The first is about American attempts to solve the water problems in the Middle-East according to the new Middle-East order and the different American programs submitted in this respect, particularly the Harvard project and the proposals of Massachusetts Institute of Technology to re-distribute water between the Middle-East states according to a comprehensive economic system (System of cost and benefit exchange). Also, the author has discussed the American proposals for the future and their role in transferring water technology, development and improved productivity of water projects in the Middle East.

    The second section is about the Arab concepts and the Water File in the new Middle-East order. There are ideas of how to solve the water problems at the regional level and its conditions, cooperation with neighbouring non-Arab states, also the main blocking stones against regional cooperation under the new Middle-East order.

    The third section is about water and the options of regional cooperation, in particular about the underground reservoirs that suffer from pollution because of unsafe production methods and how to develop them at a regional level. Also the author discusses the main efforts to combat the desertification, putting forward proposals to establish regional institutes to run and develop water resources in the region.

 

The Supplements include a summary of the work and international documentation about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Also, a list of the concepts and terminology used in the study; an index of the political and academic figures mentioned in the book; a bibliography of Arabic and non-Arabic references, including many books and journals; and a list of the authors previous publications.  Finally, this summary in English for the benefit of the non-Arab speaking scholars at universities and institutes involved in the study of water problems in the Middle-East.