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Conflicts of the future. Water Wars: blue gold is worth more than black
Geopolitics

Conflicts of the future. Water Wars: blue gold is worth more than black

Conflicts of the future: In 2018, a World Bank report spoke of 507 conflicts in the world related to water resources control. While the whole world is focused on energy resources analysis as the main factor in wars, little is said about the water. The scarcity of which could change the destinies of future global conflicts. UNESCO, in a report with the emblematic title The United Nations world water development report 2019. Leaving no one behind, estimated that 2.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe water and 4.5 billion do not have sanitation safe. Refugees are the weakest category and the most exposed to water crises. The report also states that, from 2015 to 2019, 25.3 million people a year, on average, migrate due to natural disasters. It is clear that, as reiterated by many experts, it is not only the global geopolitical situation that causes migration but also the climate change underway.

Researchers from the Water, Peace, and Security Partnership have presented a detailed map to the United Nations Security Council in which it is noted where conflicts over access to water resources are expected to occur, in the period between June 2020 and May 2021. The Middle East and North Africa are the area most at risk. Regions where, in addition to political and security instability, there is a serious shortage of water. Just think of southern Iraq, which for some years has been facing continuous droughts linked to the construction of large dams in Turkey that limit the water regime of the Tigris and Euphrates. The South-eastern Anatolia Project, planned by the Ankara government, includes, in fact, the construction of a system of 22 dams along the two rivers with the aim of improving the local economy in one of the poorest areas of the country. In mid-July, the Iraqi minister for water resources denounced the severe shortage of water in the north of the country, warning of the dangers that this situation could entail for the stability of Iraq itself.

According to the ministry’s data, the flow of water from Turkey decreased by 50% compared to 2019 and the same decrease was recorded in relation to the low annual rainfall. In addition, some scholars also blame Syria’s civil war on many years of drought. In fact, between 2006 and 2010, Syria experienced the worst drought ever recorded. The water shortage has caused the migration of nearly 2 million farmers to the centers of Aleppo and Damascus, perhaps preparing the ground for the political and social unrest of the years to come. 

Today, the attention is on the ongoing crisis between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia for the Nile waters. Since Herodotus’ time, the Nile was considered as a gift for the importance it has for the Egyptian people. Since 2011, Ethiopia has started a hydroelectric energy production project, building a large dam on the Nile River to promote development and meet the population needs. Also, in terms of energy requirements. 

Despite various unsuccessful attempts to reach an agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, Addis Ababa began filling the African dam on July 15, without agreements with its counterparts. The Blue Nile, on which construction is proceeding, is one of the major Nile River tributaries, from which Cairo draws more than 90% of its water needs. According to Egypt, the dam endangers the lives of more than 150 million people, Egyptians and Sudanese. Al-Sisi wants to make sure that the construction of GERD does not cause damage to the Egyptian supply. And that its filling takes place gradually. From its side, Ethiopia argues that the hydroelectric project is essential to sustain its rapidly growing economy. It believes that it will favor the development of the entire region.

Addis Ababa, in particular, declares that over 60% of the country is made up of dry land, while Egypt, on the other hand, has groundwater and has access to seawater that it could desalinate. For the moment, mainly for geographical and economic reasons, a war between the two countries is a remote hypothesis. If the Nile flow could not cause a shortage of water in Egypt, the path of dialogue should not work. It is reasonable to think that the Cairo air force could hit the dam in the area upstream of the river, thus trying to stem the problem. If a war occurs, it could cause external powers to enter the field.

Egypt spent last year in military 2200.00 USD Million. Ethiopia invested only € 300 million in defense. However, Addis Ababa is looking to other countries. Ethiopia and France concluded their first military cooperation agreement on March 12, 2019. On July 16, the Turkish foreign minister visited the Ethiopian capital. Turkey is the second-largest foreign investor in Ethiopia after China, with over 150 companies in the country and, therefore, has every interest in having the dam built. However, given the tense relations between Egypt and Turkey in other theatres like Libya there could be an interest by Ankara also in an anti-Egyptian key. Some time ago, al-Sisi had declared that the Egyptian army is one of the most powerful in the region, ready to carry out any mission on its borders or, if necessary, outside. Was it a reference to Libya, or maybe there is more?

Kremlin Seeks Support Of Middle East For Peace In Libya
Middle East & Africa

Kremlin Seeks Support Of Middle East For Peace In Libya

Kremlin Seeks Support: Russia is now seeking help from some likeminded countries to restore democracy and normalcy in Libya. For this, Kremlin has asked the UAE and Egypt to mitigate the change. 

Egyptian, in response, is seeking negotiations in Geneva where it is focused at the exit of foreign mercenaries who have been instrumental in creating chaos in Libya. This proposal has garnered support from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia, Jordan and Bahrain. This agreement has come through in a recent press briefing held in Moscow.

According to UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, “The greatest challenge facing Libya is the control of the extremist groups that have dominated the political scene for over a decade.”

Libya has been at loss of a proper functioning government since 2011, post which the country has been tossed around between rival administrations in the east and the west. 

Russia has been in support of General Haftar who is on the other side of the warring faction in Libya. Any kind of peace talks which involves Haftar, it is confirmed, does not feature on the negotiation table for defense minister the UN-backed government of GNA in Libya, Salah-al-Namroush, who has also publicly reproached France for siding with Haftar. 

According to the UN backed GNA, Khalifa Haftar is nothing less that a war criminal and a warlord.  Till date, despite a ceasefire and long standing arms embargo, Libya continues to be swamped by 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries, the United Nations envoy to the country has confirmed recently, calling the situation a “shocking violation of Libyan sovereignty.”

Taiwan not invited to WHO meet due to Chinese intervention
Asia Pacific Focus

Taiwan not invited to WHO meet due to Chinese intervention

Taiwan not invited to WHO meet: Taiwan has blamed China’s obstruction for not being invited to WHO’s annual assembly on COVID-19

Taiwan has yet not received an invite to a key meeting of the World Health Organisation (WHO) this week that focuses on the global implications of the Coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, the island’s foreign ministry released a statement alleging that Chinese “obstruction” prevented it from participating in the 73rd WHO annual assembly on November 9-14. 

This development came even as the United States Mission in Geneva had urged WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of WHO. 

“In view of Taiwan’s resounding success in responding to COVID-19, Director-General Tedros must allow Taiwan to share its best practices at the WHA,” the US Mission had said in its statement.

While the US has backed the participation of the island, the 83-page list of delegations for WHO’s assembly meeting does not include any members from Taiwan. The island is yet to be invited to join the virtual meeting of 194 member states, the foreign ministry said in its statement. Taiwan’s foreign ministry also expressed regret and dissatisfaction with WHO’s continuous neglect of the health and human rights of 23.5 million people of the island. 

Reportedly, Taiwan has been blocked out of a number of key international organisations including the WHO due to Beijing’s objections as it claims the island within its territory.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has asserted that the decision to invite Taiwan for the WHA meeting lies with the member states. 

As per a Reuters report, China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Chen Xu on Monday had told the WHO ministerial meeting that Taiwan’s inclusion in the meeting as an observer will be “illegal and invalid”. Earlier on Friday, China’s mission to the UN in Geneva had condemned US “distorted” remarks on Taiwan’s participation, adding that the island will be allowed to join the assembly session only after it admits to being a part of China. However, the Taipei government has always maintained that Taiwan is a separate nation whether or not independence is declared officially.

Last week, as many as 650 members of parliament from 25 European nations had also sent an open letter to WHO Director-General Tedros, demanding Taiwan to be invited as an observer to the WHA meeting. In addition, the World Medical Association had also written to the WHO chief, calling for inviting Taiwan in an observer capacity. 

While Taiwan joined the WHA as an observer between 2009 and 2016, China has intensified its efforts to exclude from participating in the WHO global actions. After Beijing took its seat in the WHO, Taiwan was forced out of the international organisation in 1972.

This has come at a time when the Taiwanese government has achieved astounding success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic on the island. It is been more than 200 days since the island reported any virus transmission.

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