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The geopolitics of water in the Middle East: fantasies and realities
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 17:33 authored by Jan Selby
Most expert and public discourse on Middle Eastern water politics holds that water scarcities are of great, if often under-recognised, geopolitical importance. Pessimists and optimists alike tend to assume that water has, or soon will have, profound geopolitical implications. In this paper I argue to the contrary. Specifically, I contend that water problems should neither be understood in naturalistic nor in liberal-technical terms, but instead as questions of political economy; that water is structurally insignificant within the political economy of the modern Middle East; that in consequence water is generally unimportant as a source of inter-state conflict and co-operation; and that, notwithstanding this, water supplies are a crucial site and cause of local conflicts in many parts of the region. I submit also that given the worsening state of economic development within the Middle East, these local conflict dynamics are likely to further deteriorate.
JournalThird World Quarterly
ISSN0143-6597 (Print), 1360-2241 (Online)
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Department affiliated with
- International Relations Publications
NotesPublished online: 6 August 2006.
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