North Africa and the Middle East

The northern tier of African countries will face collapse as water problems become unmanageable, particularly in combination with continued population growth. Morocco may be destabilized as a result of drought-induced failure of that country's hydroelectric power system and its irrigation-based agriculture. Those countries that can afford it may follow Libya's lead and attempt to tap major aquifers in a zero-sum struggle for survival. Muammar al-Qaddafi's $20 billion mass irrigation project would drain much of Great Nubian Sandstone Aquifer, which is nearly the size of Germany, within fifty years. Newly oil-rich Sudan is seeking to irrigate some of the Sahel; Ethiopia has claimed that any Sudanese effort to divert water from the Nile would provoke military response. Egypt will clash with Sudan or Ethiopia or both over any effort by either country to manipulate the flow of waters tributary to the Nile.

Efforts to design a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle will be abandoned for the indefinite future because of a collective conclusion that the problem of sharing water supplies must be regarded as permanently intractable. War between Israel and Jordan over access to water is conceivable. Moreover, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey are likely to be enmeshed in an escalating struggle over the latter's command of waters feeding the Tigris and Euphrates systems. In the Gulf countries there will be a rapid expansion of nuclear power for desalinization. This in turn will become a contributing factor in the regional proliferation of nuclear weapons as insurance against predation.

Rising sea levels will cause extensive damage to delta regions—normally among the most fertile and heavily settled—as sea water presses farther upstream. This is already a problem in the Nile Delta, where the accelerated loss of fertile land will compound the impact of Egypt's oncoming demographic "youth bulge."

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  • priamus
    What is the global climate threat in the Middle East if any at all?
    11 months ago

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