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Forget oil glut and war. Water is real threat for Mideast

Forget oil glut and war. Water is real threat for Mideast thumbnail


It’s not talked about nearly as much as oil or Islamic State, yet lack of water is driving conflict and strife in the Middle East and North Africa.

The World Resources Institute released this week a water-stress index measuring competition and depletion of surface water. It shows which countries are most vulnerable to scarcity in 2040. Nearly half of the 33 countries that fall in the extremely high risk category are in the Middle East.

Leading the pack are heavily oil-producing Gulf countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These nations face “exceptional water-related challenges” because they don’t have lakes or rivers and already rely heavily upon groundwater and desalinated seawater, the findings show.

Lack of water means farmers can’t grow the crops needed to feel exploding populations. Governments may stockpile grains out of fear of depletion, creating shockwaves to global commodities markets. Failure to address water shortages creates social unrest and escalates political risk. It was one of the catalysts for the uprising in Syria, now a full-blown regional proxy war.

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16 Comments on "Forget oil glut and war. Water is real threat for Mideast"

  1. Davy on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 8:19 am 

    I find the topic true but where is California or by extension North America on the phony graph?

    The topic is central to what faces several areas but most profoundly in the Mideast. The Mideast has no future post globalism. Oil is the type of foundational commodity that requires a global economy to function as a complex. The oil complex is the most energy intensive and complex of all our many complexes. There will be some oil here and there in the Mideast that will be of use for a post collapse Mideast. That is after a massive die off of a region with a population one or two magnitudes too large per its resource base of water and food.

    The region is just not supportable with any kind of population close to what it is currently. It is the cradle of civilization which is a tragedy because that means it has been in the process of being destroyed now for over 10,000 years. The place is a waste land of environment and people. The people are locked in an ancient feud of domination of beliefs. This kind of civil war are the worst. They will destroy everything in the name of an idea.

    Since the Mideast have the key to the survival of globalism with the last remaining large reserves of quality oil they are a focus of all the modern great powers. This outside involvement has made the situation worse in every way. The US deserves to collapse because of our dependence on oil. The Mideast is a US tar baby. This is true for all the world but most fully the US because of our involvement there.

    There is no hope for the Mideast on multiple levels. Modern economy, water, and food will be gone in the near future. With it most of the population of this region. It is a critical node of globalism’s survival which is to say globalism has no future because the Mideast has no future. It is over folks and the match that lights the fire is likely in the Mideast.

    This is one of the peak oil dynamics we doomers speak of. Without the Mideast’s oil there will be no global system and petro culture. A disruption of even a small quantity of oil supply will spread a contagion of loss of confidence and systematic abilities of production and distribution of oil and food. Food is oil. Oil is civilization. The Mideast is the key to oil. The Mideast has no future. We have no future. It is just a matter of connecting the dots. That is a kid’s game. Why can’t the corns get a grip?

  2. Kenz300 on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 8:31 am 

    Too many people and too few resources…….

    Yet every year the world adds 80 million more people to the planet that need food, shelter, clothing, WATER and energy to survive……..

    If you can not provide enough WATER for yourself what makes you think you can provide enough WATER for another child.

    Poverty breeds more poverty……..

    Birth Control Permanent Methods: Learn About Effectiveness

  3. Plantagenet on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 8:39 am 

    The Middle East OPEC countries aren’t poor. — they are fabulously wealthy.

    They don’t need to grow their own food as long as the oil keeps flowing. They can buy food cheaply.

    Yes, someday the oil will stop flowing, but for now there is so much oil the world is in an oil glut

  4. Rodster on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 10:08 am 

    Water will be the most important resource in the 21st century. This will be a global problem in climate change models are correct.

  5. BobInget on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 11:22 am 

    Are Climate Changes, AGW even mentioned in this well intended article?

    Plant who seems of late to be a parody of himself, makes a point. “as long as oil keeps
    flowing.. da da”.

    Mideast and African masses can’t ‘buy food, cheaply or expensively’ The masses have no access to oil wealth…full stop

    The point of the article as I see it.
    The people in drought cursed regions, even with oil, are doomed. If ‘the people’ rise in feeble revolt, they will be devastated by superior, merciless, military power. Look at Libya, Syria,
    Sudan, Yemen as current examples.

    Why and where do You believe ISIS are getting 25,000 new ‘fighters’ a month?

    Millions of war and climate refugees are crowding into Europe seeking food and shelter.
    As a result, nativist extremists mostly on the right
    are gaining popularity. In Europe, Mr Trump is celebrated by both the Left and Right as villain and hero.

    Organized Religion failed the lumpen Proletariat..
    Unconvincing science didn’t educate the masses in time.

    Sides are clearly drawn. It’s all battles for survival.
    Those with power over oil against those with none. Whatever Shortonoil theorizes, with military power, the rich can make arable
    land, water and oil their own. There already exists armies for hire.

    Climate changes are making more land unproductive daily. Sea levels today are displacing only a few hundred eskimos. In a decade or less salt water intrusion will take costal farming away forever.
    Tens of millions more humans, add themselves to refugee roles.

    Four months ago, Saudi Arabia with US help, embarked on an effort to wipe out an entire Houthi tribe in Yemen,
    Not a Single Voice was raised in Congress pointing out KSA and the US were engaged in pure and simple genocide.
    Sure as shootin, US need for Saudi oil outweighs
    moral considerations.

    First of all, ‘Black Lives’ really don’t matter compared to easy oil access. Syria, Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Mali, proves as much.

  6. JuanP on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 12:06 pm 

    I believe mega droughts are what is going to destroy modern human civilization and no place will be spared. The whole world will experience them. I know Florida and Uruguay have been experiencieng extraordinary droughts on a regular basis for over a decade now.

    As can be seen below, All of SE Florida is experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions three months into the rainy season and I see native trees dying all over our natural parks because this has been going on for many years and the trees have never recovered from previous droughts. This year many trees experienced spring leaf growth and summer fruiting simultaneously in August, something I had never seen before. Local ecosystems are out of whack. I know this drought is insignificant compared to what is going on in the Western US, but the damage to local natural ecosystems is unimaginable and completely unprecedented.

  7. ghung on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 12:36 pm 

    Fear not, Juan, Erika is coming to the rescue, and Africa is beginning to spit out more tropical depressions in your direction. Maybe not the kind of water you want, but, hey! Any storm in a drought, eh? Perhaps we’ll see how South Florida flood control efforts are working.

    As for the article, “Forget oil glut and war. Water is real threat for Mideast”; no point in touting one on-going disaster over another. They aren’t mutually exclusive, and are certainly feeding fuel into each others’ fires.

    The synchronicity of global calamities is underway as humans vs. nature vs. humans begets generally predictable outcomes. Overshoot is a multi-headed, unbiased monster with no regard for the needs of mankind, or any other species for that matter. Adaptation at scale is becoming improbable for the inhabitants of an overcrowded planet, excepting, perhaps, some jellyfish.

    No matter. An unknowing, unfeeling Earth will simply shrug us off, with a lot of help from ourselves of course. What remains, we’ll never know.

    Got Jesus?

  8. Davy on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 12:45 pm 

    Juan, one thing is for sure widespread droughts will disrupt our ability to produce food at levels required for the size of our growing population. Food is the ultimate key to a civilization. We are habituated currently to global food security. This almost surely will end soon with peak oil dynamics and abrupt climate change.

    We are near a point where normality ends. This is surreal for me. I see it coming and it is hard to believe. Every time I go to a grocery store I feel this feeling. I am in St Louis today to see my brother and I plan on going to Costco. I do this every 2 months to stock up on bulk items. It is an amazing feeling to go to a store like Costco knowing what I know. How long can our society manage to produce and distribute food at these levels? I suspect 5 years or less IMHO.

  9. ghung on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 1:02 pm 

    Davy: “It is an amazing feeling to go to a store like Costco knowing what I know.”

    I always make it a point to look at other folks’ eyes when I’m there (or someplace like Walmart). Sort of surreal; a strange form of mesmerization that prevents folks from getting out of each others’ way. Indeed, they don’t even see each other; not really; just the stuff.

  10. RandomGuy on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 1:26 pm 

    Davy, the United States is fine. We have the great lakes, and the farming breadbasket known as the Midwest. I suspect all that will happen, if its drawn out, will be a massive population shift out of the West and south to the Midwest in support of farming initiatives.

    Push comes really to shove, we can drain lake Michigan to irrigate our crops.

    Life won’t end, it’ll just revert to Roman Empire level of civilization on the end of liquid fuels and resulting energy crunch.

    It however, gets really interesting in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Sahel region.

  11. Davy on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 2:13 pm 

    Random, Do you realize that food is produced and distributed by oil and oil is depleting? I had a 1000 acre corn and soybean farm around 2000. If you took away the oil based inputs and diesel or significantly reduced those them forget it the crop is greatly reduced or not produced. It is those who have never produced food that have this unrealistic outlook on food production.

    I am now doing permaculture cattle farming and still I am very reliant on diesel. Cattle need to be transported to market and hay made and or brought in. I am trying to get as far away from hay production as possible by doing management intensive grazing but I will still need some in certain winters.

    We are looking at abrupt climate change issues now and they will surely get worse. Your idea of irrigating fields is unrealistic. You have to have a huge pipeline system built to draw off water from the great lakes. The irrigation possibilities at the farm I had were good being in the Missouri River floodplain but the cost were prohibitive considering the return on the crop. This economic pressures will likely get worse as the economy deteriorates.

    Random, you need to rethink your thoughts on this subject.

  12. JuanP on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 4:11 pm 

    Ghung and Davy, Yes, I expect floods in the coming days and that drought map may look very different in a week, but going from droughts to floods and back again is not the same thing as getting regular rain spaced out over the wet season regularly every year, as you both know. It is becoming almost imposible to grow food without artificial irrigation down here.

    This past year I have become a little bit obsessed with swales, berms, ponds, keylining and other Permaculture technologies to retain water and prevent soil erosion.

    I just received an extremely depressing email from the Dominican owner of the farm where I recently spent a few weeks contouring the land and planting trees. Erika destroyed most of the work we had done because the soil was all very loose and didn’t have time to settle and get a grass cover before the storm came, so most of it was washed out. Most of the trees were uprooted, too. I told them several times it was the wrong time of the year to do this job, but they wouldn’t listen to me. I wanted to do it in December, after the hurricane season was over. Sometimes it sucks to be right. They wanted me to go back now to fix it, but I can’t leave work right now. So much work for nothing. 🙁

  13. JuanP on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 4:28 pm 

    This article contains links to some great movies on this subject,
    I particularly like John Liu’s Green Gold. His other movies are good, too.

  14. randomguy on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 4:37 pm 

    What’ll end up happening, assuming there’s enough time to adjust, is that there will be massive localization of economies, because distance can not be readily traveled without oil inputs, and huge inputs of human labor into farming.

    The fundamental fact is that the United States has a large amount of fertile land and relatively moderate weather patterns relative to its population. So I still think the United States will be fine for the time being in terms of being affected by life/death scenarios as being played out in the middle east.

  15. Davy on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 5:12 pm 

    Random, it is a BIG step to get from here to there. Besides the effort to relocalize agriculture there will be huge efforts needed in multiple other areas. This will be happening with declining resources and decaying complexity.

    I just can’t get my mind around these challenges and a successful outcome. Societies get overwhelmed and then they give up. There is a breaking point for societies. What we face even with the best of conditions will be ogistics in a time of diminished capacities. I doubt conditions will be optimal. Food will rot in the fields without an economy.

    I have been at prepping for 10 years with good support. I am localizing and building up a permaculture farm. If you knew what it has taken and the amount of time it would give you pause to scale that up to a whole country. It boggles my mind to think of how it could be done.

    The biggest obstacle would be the public attitudes. How do you motivate people today. The only thing I can think of is a combination of a strong public will and martial law for a successful transition movement.

    Anyone who thinks this will be fine is not rationalizing the details. There will be nothing but pain, suffering, and loss. We are that far into the abyss of overshoot.

    We will be coasting along happy go lucky then “WAM” we are going to get a blind bitch slap that knocks us on the floor. When we get up it will be a new world unrecognizable from what we knew a few months before. Let’s us hope this descent occurs over time with a softish landing somewhere still civilized.

  16. Makati1 on Sat, 29th Aug 2015 7:39 pm 

    Interesting fear of their own areas of choice being unable to fulfill their dreams of ‘survival in place’ expressed above. We all made that decision and hope we are correct. Some made it with only one eye open. Some with all the research possible. Neither may be correct. We shall see.

    As for myself, I have only a few decades left, at best. My choice was to move to the Ps and live on a small permaculture farm, far from the cities, in a warm climate, with lots of water. Ten foot plus per year, on average, and spread over the entire 12 months allowing a gravity water system in the house and plenty of water.

    Negatives are: Volcanic islands & earthquakes(Ring of Fire), frequent typhoons, and … I’ll try to think of another, but don’t wait.

    But then, those negatives are typical of the US also. West coast is Ring of Fire, and the east coast and central US are hurricane and cyclone prone. Even the Mississippi basin has the New Madrid fault, overdue for the big one. Not to mention climate change and the unknowns for any area of the earth. Even the Ps.

    Are you going to draw a card or play the ones you hold? I’ll stand pat and wait for the hand to end. I especially enjoy it when I am holding ’85F and sunny’ days in January and February and I see minus 10F and blizzard conditions in my home state. LOL

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