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Simon Fraser University (1993)

The politics of water scarcity in the Euphrates and Jordan River basins

Fox, Jason D.

Titre : The politics of water scarcity in the Euphrates and Jordan River basins

Auteur : Fox, Jason D

Université de soutenance : Simon Fraser University,

Grade : Master of Arts 1993.

Conventional works in international relations have generally concentrated on security policy concerns by calibrating the military and economic capabilities of states in order to explain state interaction, including violent conflict. Unfortunately, environmental issues are often neglected despite an increasing body of evidence that suggests that environmental decline has important consequences for international security. Thus, this thesis attempts to rectify this apparent oversight by exploring the nature of the relationship between environmental degradation and interstate conflict. To this end, a theoretical framework is advanced suggesting that environmental decay, in the context of political and military tensions, acts as an important contributing cause of interstate conflict. An empirically based examination of the impact of diminishing water supplies on interstate relations in the Euphrates and Jordan River Basins is conducted as a means of testing the validity of the theoretical model. This thesis demonstrates that arid climatic conditions, unilateral hydrological developments, wasteful consumption patterns and rapid population growth have produced a situation where the demand for these shared waters is clearly outpacing available supply. This situation has significantly increased existing friction between Turkey, Syria and Iraq in the Euphrates River Basin and Israel (including the Occupied Territories), Jordan and Syria in the Jordan River Basin because each state views water as a crucial strategic asset and powerful political weapon with the potential to act as a destabilizing influence on the regional balance of power. The plethora of political and military tensions keenly felt between the riparian states ratchet up water related antagonisms. Thus, cooperation under conditions of water scarcity must be viewed as an improbable outcome. Indeed, the general conclusion arising from these various considerations is that increasing water scarcity, in the context of political and military tensions, helps to facilitate conflict between the states in question.

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