(If you missed Part 1, it is archived. Just click on the title adjacent to the side of this story.)
In addition to the drought, Saddam Hussein’s policies that lead to the lack of water, and the desertification and salinization of the land, their are two other major reasons water is disappearing from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Factor #4 - Dams
While the first known dam was built about 3,000 BC in Egypt, the use of dams is relatively new to this area. Because of the droughts and in an effort to conserve water to drink, for farming, irrigation and electric power, dams were built.
By 2009 building of dams in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq began in earnest. Other dams have been built and many more are planned in the future on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Completion of GAP (Great Anatolian Project), a series of 22 dams planned by Turkey, was scheduled for completion by 2010. It has been delayed because the World Bank has withheld funding due to the lack of an official agreement on water sharing between Turkey and the downstream states on the Euphrates and the Tigris. This has led to the drying up of the once Fertile Crescent and has expanded the deserts. It is estimated that when complete, the GAP dams will reduce the Euphrates flow by 70-80%. Turkey does not acknowledge international water law and controls water flow to Syria and Iraq at will. In the summer of 2014 Turkey completely cut off water to Syria on the Euphrates.
As a result of efforts to accommodate the dams and in order to create the reservoirs and lakes caused by damming up the water, hundreds of historical sites have been flooded.
The dams also mean something else. The dams are a weapon. Water is a unique weapon in the war that is raging in this part of the world. Whoever can control a dam (Turkey, Syria, Isis, etc.) can unleash a flood of water on cities downstream; or by denying them precious water, they can also dry up the river and the food supply. Those downstream are at the mercy of their upstream neighbors.
Images acquired by NASA’s Landsat 5 satellite show considerable shrinking of the Qadisiyah Reservoir in Iraq between September 7, 2006, and September 15, 2009.
Factor #5 Population Growth
At the same time these four factors are happening there is a fifth factor. According to data from the World Bank, the combined population of Syria and Iraq, despite the wars, has grown from nearly 16 million in 1970 to nearly 55 million people in 2015. Population growth puts enormous pressure on the water and food supply.
To Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. - just if you are a citizen of planet earth, there is no denying that this area is drying up. It is transforming the area from the “bread basket” of the Fertile Crescent into what the prophet Isaiah called the “Desert by the Sea” Isaiah 21:1-9 .
As is found in Matthew 24:3-8 (NASB) “….the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”
It is understood that, much like birth pangs, the signs that mark the end of the age will appear with greater frequency and intensity as the end draws near.
In one of GOD’S OTHER WAYS© and in preparation for Christ’s return, is this situation in the Middle East fulfilling yet another Biblical prophecy?
Map courtesy of The Economist.