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Nebuchadnezzer's Defense of Babylon


1. Abstract

Nebuchadnezzer diverted the Euphrates River in order to form a natural defense around the city of Babylon.

2. Description

The use of the environment as an instrument of war has been used throughout history. Nebuchadnezzer (604-562 B.C.) used water as a part of the security and defense of Babylon. "To strengthen the defenses of Babylon, I had a mighty dike of earth thrown up, above the other,from the banks of the Tigris to that of the Euphrates five bern long and I surrounded the city with a great expanse of water, with waves on it like the sea." (Drower, 1954) Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had used a system of canals in defense of the city. After the death of his father, Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar had the task of completing many of the great works that had been started by Nabopolassar. Nebuchadnezzar's building operations "were so extensive that in this particular the outranks al who preceded him, whether in Assyria or in Babylonia." (Rogers, 1915) This is not to say that throughout Nebuchadnezzar'sreign there was no war and only peace. Nebuchadnezzar was great in "the organization and use of an army, great in the choice of commanders and in their employment..." (Rogers, 1915) However, Nebuchadnezzar based his claim to honor upon quite acts of peace rather than the glories of war. In fact, "his long and elaborately written inscriptions have only a boastful line or two of conquest, while their long periods are heavy with the descriptions of extraordinary building operations." (Rogers, 1915)

This design of Babylon was more of necessity and ingenuity than anything else. Babylon was a difficult city to defend due to the passage of the Euphrates through the middle of the city. The older part of the city lay on the east bank of the Euphrates and the new city lay on its right. Nebuchadnezzar attempted to correct this by building immense forts at the north end of the city, where all the great invasions had come from, and by diverting the Euphrates through a canal intoa moat which wrapped around the city's outer walls. (Wellard, 1972) The inner wall of Babylon, the Imgur-BÍl, and the outer wall, the Nimitti-BÍl, were to be made so strong that no force could impregnate the city. The compass of the walls was so vast that no single power could bring the city to famine, and due to the number of walls and environmental conditions that lay beyond the walls of the city. Excavations by R. Koldwey and his successors have revealed no less five walls, three composing the outer walls and twocomposing the inner walls. (Sack, 1991) The walls were comprised of sun-dried and baked bricks and were of varying degrees of thickness. The inner wall also had at regular intervals towers, which may have been similar to those along the outer wall. The walls were also allowed for a protected roadway called Imgur-Enlil, and Nimitti-Enlil, were the designations for the inner and outer walls, respectively. A path served to separate the outer wall and the moat so that "as Nebuchadnezzar himself says " pillaging robber might enter into this water sewer, with bright iron bars I closed the entrance to the river, in gratings of iron I set it and fastened it withhinges." (Sack, 1991) Nebuchadnezzar, as a servant to marduk, believed that "eternal fame rested on his creation of a rampart that would protect both his citizens and his god's temple from attack. Similarly, the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh as found in the "Land of the Living" created a rampart enclosing his city of Uruk recording these achievements for all time. More over, Gilgamesh also stated that "he had 'raised up the names of the gods' in a manner not seen before his time." (Sack,1991) Upon further review however, it can be seen that virtually all Mesopotamian rulers "considered defense of their capitals and the maintenance of their god's temples to be the keys toeternal fame." (Sack, 1991)

Herodotus, an Athenian historian, in Book One of his Histories includes this description of Babylon:

The wall is brought right down to the water o both sides, and at an angle to it there is another wall on each bank, built of baked bricks without mortar, running through the town. There are a great many houses of three and four stories. The main streets and the side streetswhich lead to the river are all dead straight, and for every one of the side streets or alleys there was a bronze gate in the river wall by which the water could be reached.
Herodotus though only a century and a half removed from Nebuchadnezzar's times, does not mention Nebuchadnezzer's name in his accounts of Babylon. Credit for the great walls that surround Babylon is given to "two queens, Semiramis and Nitocris, with the former being the historic Sammurammat, wife of the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad V (823-810 B.C.)." (Sack,1991) As Herodotus states, "It was Semiramis who was responsible for certain remarkable embankments in the plain outside the city, built to control the river which until then used to flood the whole countryside." (Sack, 1991) Furthermore, in the Universal History of Diodorus of Sicily, the great walls surrounding Babylon are attributed to the two queens instead of Nebuchadnezzar. Diodorus states:

Semiramis, whose nature made her eager for great exploits and ambitious to surpass the fame of her predecessor on the throne, set her mind upon founding a city in Babylonia, and after securing the architects of all the world and making all the other necessary preparations, she gathered from her entire kingdom two million men to complete thework.In the period between the fifth and first centuries B.C., that the images of Semiramis and Nitocriswere reshaped. This was due in part to the conquest of the Persian empire by Alexander the Great. As it turns out, Herodotus' accounts were based on anti-Persian sources which did not place emphasis on conquest as later descriptions focused on the rebuilding of Babylon as the result of the victorious Persian campaigns.

Water Disputes in the Euphrates-Tigris Basin

Originating from Turkey and flowing through Syria and Iraq, the Euphrates River joins the Tigris in Iraq and becomes the Shatt-al Arab waterway which falls into the Persian Gulf. The Euphrates River is composed of two main tributaries, namely, the Karasuand the Murat rivers, both originating in the Eastern Anatolia and of numerous smaller tributaries.

The total water potential of the Euphrates Basin and the consumption figures estimated by each of the three riparian countries, inrespect of the projects which they plan to develop, are shownin Table 2.

Table 2 indicates that, while 88,7 per cent of the total waterpotential of the Euphrates Basin originates in Turkey, Syria contributesonly an amount of 11,3 %. Iraq's contribution to the runoffs isnil. While the contribution of these two downstream countriesto the water potential of the Euphrates is such a modest percentage, they have been demanding 22 % and 43 % respectively out of thispotential. Turkey envisages to utilize only 35 % of the total consumption target, while providing 88,7 % of the total flow.


Water Potential of the Euphrates Basin
and Consumption Targets of its Riparians

(in billion cubic meters per year )
CountriesWater PotentialConsumption Targets
18 ,42
(%100, 00)

Another point in Table 2, which is worth underlining, is that the total amount of water planned to be utilized by the threeriparian countries exceeds by 17.3 Bm3 the total flow capacity of the Euphrates. Obviously, it is impossible to meet such a demandas far as this river's potential is concerned.

b) The Tigris River

The Tigris River, originating from the Lake Hazar becomes theborder between Turkey and Syria for a distance of 40 kilometers(km). After crossing the Iraqi territory and joining the Euphrates to form Shatt-el-Arab waterway in Iraq, the Tigris River pours into the Persian Gulf. Its main tributaries are Botan, Batmansu, Karpansu and the Greater Zap rivers.

If Table 2 is remodeled for the Tigris Basin, we obtain Table3.

As can be seen in Table 3, the total water potential of the basinis shared by Turkey and Iraq. Their contributions are 51,9 % and48,1 % respectively. As in the case of the Euphrates Basin, theconsumption targets put forward by Syria and Iraq are also muchhigher than the water potential originated in their lands. Turkey,on the other hand, envisages to utilize relatively a small portion of the waters coming out in its own territory. As is the case with Euphrates Basin, the amount of water, planned to be usedby three riparian countries of Tigris River exceeds the totalcapacity of this river by an amount of 5,8 Bm3.


Water Potential of the Tigris Basin
and Consumption Targets of its Riparian States
(in billion cubic meters per year )
CountriesWater PotentialConsumption Targets
6, 87
2, 60
45 ,00

It would be appropriate to point out another important fact relating to the Tigris River. Due to the fact that virtually Turkey doesnot utilize at all the water of Tigris, Iraq alone has been utilizing the entire annual capacity of 48 Bm3 of this river. When a transferof water is proposed by Turkey from the Tigris to the Euphrateswith a view to alleviating the water shortage of the latter, Iraqrejected this proposal. This cannot be regarded as "equitableutilization". In fact many scholars and water experts seethe solution to the insufficiency of the Euphrates water by transferringpart of the Tigris flows to the former (1). The widely sharedview is that, if such a transfer is carried out, then all irrigationprojects planned on the Euphrates by three riparian countriescan be implemented. This is an additional indication that thewater problem around Euphrates is artificial. In other words,there is a reasonable way of overcoming the difficulties stemmingfrom the lack of sufficient water in the Euphrates Basin but someriparian countries block this solution for a reason difficultto explain.

In addition to these facts, there exist different views between the figures given by Syria and Iraq and the findings of internationalwater experts concerning the irrigable lands by the waters ofthe Euphrates (See Table 4). In the publications pertaining to the irrigation matters, lands are divided into 6 categories. Thefirst three categories of lands are the most efficient which canyield maximum production by way of irrigation. The fourth categoryof land is of marginal value. Yield can be obtained from the fifthcategory only with considerable amount of investment. Finally,sixth category lands are of unyielding type and production cannotbe obtained even by way of irrigation (2).

While all of the Turkish lands to be irrigated by the EuphratesRiver are of the first, second and third categories, the similarcategories of lands in Syria, represent only 48 % of the agriculturallands which are contemplated to be irrigated with the Euphrateswaters (3). Therefore, it will not only be uneconomical but willalso be inequitable to utilize scarce water resources to irrigateinfertile lands at the expense of fertile lands.


Irrigable Lands in Syria and Iraq from the Euphrates Flows(4)
(in million hectares )

(Comparison of the Figures Given by Syria and Iraq with the
ones Contained in Independent Sources)
Official statements
Prof. John Kolars
(Univ. of Michigan)
USAID Report
Ewan W. Anderson
(Univ. of Wales)
Peter Beaumont
(Univ. of Wales)

Both Syria and Iraq demand considerable amount of water for theirless fertile lands of the Euphrates River Basin where there exists a water scarcity problem. In this situation, there emerges a water requirement in the Euphrates flows which is much higher than the river's average annual flow of 31,58 Bm3. When this matter is brought to the attention of Syria and Iraq, they propose that lacking amount of water be deducted proportionally from each country'sd emand. Turkey finds it difficult to agree with this approach and points out that the quantity of the water needed for irrigationshould be determined by applying identical criteria to all of the three countries, while Syria and Iraq state that each country must be free to choose the criteria it will use to determine its own water needs and these statements should not be questioned by the other riparian States. In a democratic country like Turkey,it would be very difficult for a government to explain to itspublic such an arbitrary way of determining water needs.

c) Another Issue of Dispute: The Orontes (Al-Asi) River

Emanating from Lebanon, the Orontes passes through Syria and flows into the Mediterranean Sea within the Turkish province of Hatay(see Map IV). It covers 40 km, 120 km and 88 km in Lebanon, Syriaand Turkey, respectively. In Lebanon, there are two water regulators on Orontes, and in Syria there are two dams, namely, Destan and Maherde dams, in addition to a water regulator in the town of Jisr-Al-Sughur. Both countries, especially Syria, have been intensively utilizing this river for irrigation purposes. Syria has been makinguse of 90 % of the total flow which reaches an annual average of 1,2 Bm3 at the Turkey-Syria border. Out of this total capacity,only a meager amount of 120 million cubic meters (Mm3) entersin Turkey, after it is heavily used by Syria (5). However, thisamount will further decrease to the range of 25 Mm3, if the planned reservoirs of Ziezoun and Kastoun in Syria are built in addition to the existing dams on the river. 80 Mm3 of water from the Orontes River has been earmarked for the utilization of Lebanon in accordance with the agreement made between Syria and Lebanon on 20 September 1994.

Many lessons can be drawn from the comparison between the Euphratesand the Orontes rivers in respect of both the water released to the downstream countries and the utilization. While Syria andIraq accuse Turkey of reducing the amount of water in the Euphrates,in another river, namely the Orontes where Syria is an upstream country, she utilizes almost the whole of the water of the river and releases to Turkey only a meager amount of water.

d) Objections Directed by Syria and Iraq Towards the Dams Built on the Euphrates River by Turkey

Syria and Iraq have strongly opposed to all water installationsthat had been planned and implemented on the Euphrates and theTigris rivers by Turkey so far. Their objections centered on theargument that those installations would reduce the quantity ofwater flowing to their countries. A clear example to such attitudescan be seen in the construction of Keban and Karakaya dams in1960s and 1970s. They had stated at that time, that the erectionof these dams would inflict damage to their countries.

Furthermore, Syria and Iraq have accused Turkey of not notifyingthem in advance about the planned water installations in conformitywith the "Draft Articles of the Proposed Convention on the Non-navigational Use of the Transboundary Watercourses",of International Law Commission (ILC)-, which have not yet attaineda binding legal status.

Nevertheless, all necessary data pertaining to Turkey's plannedwater schemes, have been conveyed to Syria and Iraq during theJoint Technical Committee meetings, held between the three countries.This mechanism, which was foreseen as a forum to discuss regionalwater matters, was set up with the Protocol of the Joint EconomicCommittee meetings, held between Turkey and Iraq in 1980. Syrialater joined this mechanism in 1983.

The dams so far constructed and the ones to be constructed byTurkey on the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, would not onlycontribute to its own energy and irrigation needs, but also serveto provide regulated water supply to its neighbours. Turkish damson the Euphrates River have been found efficient by internationallyrenowned scholars, due to their effective reservoirs, low evaporationlosses and their geographical and topographic characteristics(6). The water flow of these rivers fluctuates greatly from oneseason to another. In summer months the average flow of theserivers ranges between 150-200 cubic meters per second (m3/s).On the other hand, in the spring time it reaches the level of5000 or more m3/s. This means literally floods of great proportionsin the spring months and drought in summer. These big fluctuationshave been regulated due to the construction of dams on the EuphratesRiver and Turkey's neighbours will not feel the effects of a probabledrought and will receive regular and stable water flows.

i) Objections Directed Towards the Impounding of the AtatürkDam

The most important objection directed towards the dams which Turkeybuilt on the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers has been made duringthe initial impounding of the Atatürk dam.

Turkey's decision to interrupt partially the water flow for onemonth during the impounding period of the Atatürk Dam inJanuary 1990 was interpreted, especially in the Arab circles,as an attitude which deliberately aimed at depriving its neighboursfrom water and at causing damage to them.

For the impounding of the Atatürk dam all the necessary measureshave been taken by Turkey in order not to cause significant harm to the downstream riparians, Syria and Iraq (7). It should alsobe conceded that this practice is a technical necessity for the construction of any dam. Syria has been timely informed that theriver flow would be interrupted for a period of one month, dueto technical necessity. Before the impounding period, Turkey released more water than the commitment of 500 m3/s, which is undertakenby Turkey in accordance with the provisions of a Protocol, signedin 1987 with Syria. Turkey has thus created an opportunity forthe downstream countries to accumulate this additional water intheir own reservoirs. In this context 768 m3/s of flow has beenreleased at the Turkey-Syria border within the period startingon 23 November 1989 and ending at the beginning of the impoundingprocess on 13 January 1990. Water coming from the tributarieswhich join the Euphrates between the Atatürk Dam and theTurkish-Syrian border has also continued to flow into Syria inthe slice of time between 13 January and 12 February 1990, covering the impounding period. Thus, the total water amount crossing theborder between 23 November 1989 and 12 February 1990 has amountedto 3.6 Bm3, corresponding to an average value of 509 m3/s. Therefore,even in this period of 82 days -which also covers the one month impounding period- Syria has received more water than the committed quantity of 500 m3/s. Table 5 shows more clearly of what has been explained above.

Water in the Atatürk Dam has reached the level of 15 Bm3during the January 1990-September 1991 period. In the same period27 Bm3 of water has been released to the downstream riparian countries on the basis of 500 m3/s. As these figures indicate, Turkey could have long before concluded the filling of the dam, if it had completely cut water flow to its southern neighbours. Not opting for such a course of action is a proof of Turkey's good intentions and of its sensitivity not to cause damage to its neighbours.

ii) Objections to the Construction of the Birecik Dam

Several objections were also directed to the Birecik Dam, envisaged to be built in the framework of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (Turkish acronym GAP).

Turkey's southern neighbours, Syria and Iraq, have objected tothe construction of this dam with the pretext that it will harm and reduce their water supply. Iraqi Embassy in Ankara gave anote to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 17 March 1993 and Syria also handed over on 18th July a note to this effectto the Turkish Embassy in Damascus. The reason for the construction of the Birecik Dam is as follows:


< TD>2.190< TR>
Euphrates River Discharges at Turkish-Syrian Border During
the Initial Impounding of the Atatürk Dam

(23 November 1989 - 12 February 1990)

Discharge< BR>(m3/s)Number
of days
Total flow
1-13/I/1990740130. 831
23/XI/1989-13/I/1990 subtotals=====>523.453
14/I/1990-12/II/1990 subtotals=====>300.154
23/XI/1989- 12/II/1990 totals=====>823.607

3 607 000 000
------------------- = 43 457 831 m3 (flow per day)

24 x 60 x 60 = 86 400s (number of seconds per day)

43 457 831
----------------- = 509.12 m3/s (average discharge)
86 400

The water of the Euphrates River is regulated by means of bigreservoirs of the Keban and the Atatürk Dams. However, thewaters, released from the hydroelectric power plants (HEPP) of those dams, also need to be regulated, especially during the times when the water flow is at its peak, so that the ecology of the downstream areas of the watercourse can be protected. Those dams, constructed for the purpose of harnessing the waters releasedfrom large-scale dams and HEPPs, are called after-bay (regulation)dams. The Birecik Dam, in conformity with the above mentioned purpose, is designed to regulate the waters released from theAtatürk Dam and its HEPP and transfer to downstream. The Al-Ba'ath Dam located just at the downstream of the Tabqa Damin Syria, the Badush Dam situated downstream the Saddam Dam and the Baghdadi Dam positioned immediately after the Qadissiya Damare all similarly after-bay dams.

During the periods of low demand for power, only one of 8 unitsof the HEPP of the Atatürk Dam will be operated while duringthe periods of high demand, all the 8 units will be operated.Hence, the amount of water to be released from the HEPP mightvary between 200 m3/s and 2 000 m3/s in one day depending uponthe energy demand and the state of the interconnected system.

It has been planned to regulate this fluctuation in the quantity of water for the purpose of a more regular supply of water todownstream countries. The construction of the Birecik Dam will serve the interests of the downstream countries as much as it will serve Turkey's interests.

The views expressed by Iraqi authorities and by various pressand publication circles regarding the Euphrates-Tigris Basin canbe summarized as follows:

Iraq maintains that it has "acquired rights" relatingto its "ancestral irrigations" on the Euphrates andTigris rivers. According to Iraq, there exists two dimensionsof acquired rights. One outlines the fact that, for thousandsof years these rivers have given life to the inhabitants of Mesopotamiaand thus constitute an acquired right for this people. Therefore no upstream riparian country is entitled to take away the rightsof these inhabitants. The second dimension of acquired rightsstems from the existing irrigations and water installations. Iraq has 1.9 million hectares of agricultural land in the EuphratesBasin, including the ancestral irrigation systems left from theSumerians times. Iraq also maintains that it has several establishedirrigation installations to irrigate these lands.

During the initial impounding of the Atatürk Dam, Iraq has accused Turkey for violating "International Law", bynot informing Iraq timely and by reducing the amount of flow belowthe committed level. Thus, the citizens of Iraq, have been subjectedto a very difficult situation as a result of these actions(1). In addition to that, Turkey will cause damage to the downstream riparian states, by building new dams and irrigation systems.

Iraqi officials have also declared that the waters of the Euphratesand Tigris must be shared among the riparians through a mathematicalformula, such as;

Under the Protocol of 1987, Turkey has undertaken to supply a monthly average flow of 500 m3/s at the Syrian border, until the"filling up" of Atatürk Dam is completed (2). Iraqi authorities argue that the Protocol has lost its validity, dueto the fact that the filling up of the Atatürk Dam has beencompleted. Therefore the final allocation must be made and an amount of water higher than 500 m3/s should now be released to the downstream countries. This amount should not be less than700 m3/s. Taking into account the fact that annual average flowof Euphrates River is around 1 000 m3/s, Turkey should keep for itself only 1/3rd of the flow and let the remaining 2/3rd forSyria and Iraq, to be shared by those countries. In the opinion o f Iraqi authorities and press circles, an allocation of this type would represent an "equitable and reasonable" approach(3

Syrian officials and press circles claim that Syria possesses acquired rights, dating from antique periods, over the rivers that pass through Syrian territory.

On the other hand, Syria claims that the Euphrates and Tigris rivers are "international watercourses " which can be classified as "shared resources". The waters of thoserivers must be shared among the riparian states according to a quota to be determined. They further claim that such an allocationshould be realized through a simple "mathematical formula"which foresees that;

Syria further claims that, during the initial impounding of theAtatürk Dam, Turkey has acted against the spirit of goodneighbourliness and has caused a significant damage to the Syrian agriculture, as well as hydropower generation and water supplyfacilities (1). Syria believes that, by such actions, Turkey aimsat exerting a political pressure on its neighbours.

Syrian officials maintain that the Peace Pipeline Project andother water selling schemes can be interpreted as a product ofTurkey's dreams of gaining leadership position in the Middle East.Syria further argues that the secret ideal of Turkey is to dominatethe countries of the region economically and politically by makingthem dependent on water. Besides, Turkey's effort to export waterby pipeline, while not releasing sufficient amount of water toits neighbours, presents itself as a contradiction.

Syria requests that the International Law Commission's (ILC) studiesbe finalized and that rules and regulations be established assoon as possible. In this way, all sorts of disputes between thebasin States relating to sharing an international watercoursemust be resolved in international bodies, such as InternationalCourt of Justice, in the framework of dialogue or arbitrationsthrough such institutions (2).

Syria demands that International Observers must be present inthe negotiations between the basin States and in accordance withthe opinions of those observers, UN must enforce mandatory sanctionsto those countries which may hinder sharing procedures or establishedshares as a result of these negotiations (3

The concept of "acquired rights", raised by both countries,is a claim put forward in order to make Turkey release a greateramount of water and to make it accept such a thinking.

On the other hand, many scholars believe that the "acquiredrights" theory alone does not represent much significance.Professor Stephen C. Mc Caffrey, who has been the rapporteur of ILC as of 1985, points out the following:

"A downstream State that was first to develop itswater resources could not foreclose later development by an upstream State by demonstrating that the later development would causeit harm; under the doctrine of equitable utilization, the fact that a downstream State was "first to develop" (andthus had made prior uses that would be adversely affected by newupstream uses) would be merely one of a number of factors to betaken into consideration in arriving at an equitable allocationof the uses and benefits of the watercourse (1)."
This observation of Stephen Mc Caffrey indicates that "acquiredrights" cannot be invoked to limit the utilization of waterby upstream riparians. In other words, the "historical and acquired rights", claimed by Syria and especially Iraq, are inadequate in the sense that prior uses of water by down streamcountries represent only one of many factors to be taken intoa ccount in reaching an equitable utilization of a transboundaryriver.
In this context, Iraqi claim that the Tigris River flow of48 Bm3 is its "ancestral right", becomes unfounded.Basing upon this "right", Iraq refuses water transferfrom the Tigris to the Euphrates River, which could have beena vital element for realizing the irrigation projects of the three riparian countries on the Euphrates River.
The idea of "sharing the common resources through a mathematicalformula" has been put forward by Iraq in order to guarantee the utilization of water for its projects. Syria, with a similar approach, has supported this idea. The concept of "sharingthe common resources by mathematical formula" representsa complete contradiction with the principle of "equitableutilization" which is the core of codification exercise inthis field. On the other hand, the idea of considering a transboundary water as a "shared resource" is not a widely supported concept in the codification exercise on the transboundary waters.Due to the objections of many members, the expression of "sharednatural resources" has been advised to be dropped in the Report of the International Law Commission of the UN to the GeneralAssembly on the work of its thirty-ninth session, held in 1987(2).Consequently, this term has not been used in the subsequent Reportsof the said Commission.
The accusations relating to the initial impounding of theAtatürk Dam is completely unfounded. During this period,Turkey has released to the downstream riparian countries an amountof water more than it has committed (See Table 5, p. 19).
Another crucial point is that, irrigable lands declared bySyria and Iraq as per their irrigation projects, do not reflectthe real situation. As explained before, many international scholarsand water experts have stated that the amount of irrigable landsin both Syria and Iraq is in fact far below than the amount declared

It goes without saying that an agreement on the allocation of Euphrates-Tigris Basin waters can be reached in the framework of the criteria which would be found satisfactory for each ofthe three countries.

"Equitable utilization" seems to be the most accepted principle in international law in allocating waters of a transboundary river. In order to reach such an allocation, the countries should take certain factors into consideration, such as socio-economic,hydrological and geopolitical conditions. These factors are not exhaustive and if other national and natural resources are availablet o meet the needs of countries in question, these resources have to be taken into account as well.

In this framework, Turkey has been advocating the necessity of common criteria in allocating the Euphrates-Tigris Basin waters, based on scientific and objective rules. In order to utilize waterin an equitable manner Turkey has prepared a project which iscalled "Three Staged Plan" and has proposed itto Syria and Iraq.

However, this plan has been rejected especially by Iraq on the basis that it will, to a great extent, hinder its water demand from the Euphrates.

The principle of not causing "significant harm" enjoys also a wide support. According to this principle, riparian countriesof a transboundary river should mutually abstain from causingany significant harm in the utilization of a transboundary watercourse.Turkey has never perceived and used the waters of the Euphrates-Tigris Basin as a tool to put pressure on the downstream riparian countries. Utmost attention has been paid by Turkey in releasing the amountof water committed by it from the Euphrates in conformity withthe principle of equitable utilization.

On the other hand, domestic policies regarding water utilizationin Turkey, Syria and Iraq have to be reviewed. The measures preventing the waste of water and especially the application of "rational water pricing" system has an important aspect. Individual and collective activities to promote awareness in the people ofthe three countries will no doubt be useful.

Another measure is the treatment and re-use of waste water. Thismethod is widely being used in oil rich countries and Israel,but is not widespread in other Middle eastern countries due tothe economic and other difficulties. In this context, it is viewed that national and regional waste water treatment projects can be realized.

Using the latest technology in irrigation is also an important factor. Due to the utilization of primitive irrigation methodsin agricultural activities, there is a great deal of waste of water, especially in arid and semi-arid regions which suffer from water scarcity. Emphasis should also be given to the selection and characteristics of crop to be sown.

3. Duration

4. Location


Site: ASIA

Impact: IRAQII. Conflict and Environment Dimensions

5. Actors

II. Environment Aspects

6. Type of Environmental Problem


7. Type of Habitat

8. Act and Harm Sites:

III. Conflict Aspects

9. Type of Conflict


10. Level of Conflict


11. Fatality Level of Dispute (military and civilian fatalities)


III. Environment and Conflict Overlap


12. Environment-Conflict Link and Dynamics:

Causal Diagram

13. Level of Strategic Interest

14. Outcome of Dispute:


IV. Related Information and Sources

15. Related ICE and TED Cases

a. ICE

Israel Lebanon, Conflict and Water

Nile and Conflict

Cedars of Lebanon and War

b. TED

Marsh Iraq Loss

Israel Jordan H2O

9. Relevant Literature

M.S. Drower, "Water-Supply, Irrigation, and Agriculture," in C. Singer, E.J. Holmyard, and A.R. Hall, ed., A History of Technology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954).

Gleick, Peter H. "Water and Conflict: Fresh Water Resources and International Security", in International Security, Vol. 18, No. 1, (Summer 1993), pp. 79-112.

Goodspeed, George Stephen. A History of the Babylonians and Assyrians (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1902).

King, Leonard William. A History of Babylon: From the Foundation of the Monarchy to the Persian Conquest (New York: AMS Press, 1915).

Rogers, Robert William. A History of Babylonia and Assyria (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1915).

Roux, Georges, Ancient Iraq (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1964).

Sack, Ronald H. Images of Nebuchadnezzar: The Emergence of a Legend (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 1991).

Wellard, James Howard. Babylon (New York: Saturday Review Press, 1972).

John F. Kolars, "Problems of International River Management:The Case of Euphrates", Middle East Water Forum, Cairo, 7-10February 1993, p.49.
Thomas Naff and R.C Matson, "Water in the Middle East: Conflictor Cooperation?", A Westview Replica Edition, London, 1984,p.92.
Ewan W. Anderson, "Water Geopolitics in the Middle East:The Key Countries", Conference on U.S. Foreign Policy onWater Resources in the Middle East: Instrument for Peace and Development,CSIS, Washington D.C., 24 November 1986, p.191.
Peter Beaumont, "The Euphrates River-An International Problemof Water Resources Development.", Environmental Conservation,Vol.5, No.1, The Foundation for Environmental Conservation, 1978,p.42.
(2) John F. Kolars, William A. Mitchell, "The Euphrates Riverand the Southeast Anatolia Development Project, Water: The MiddleEast Imperative", Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondaleand Edwardsville, 1991, p. 152.
(3) John F. Kolars, William A. Mitchell, Op. Cit., p.152.
(4) Özden Bilen, "Prospects for Technical Cooperationin the Euphrates-Tigris Basin",1993, p. 22.
John F. Kolars, William A. Mitchell, Op. Cit., p. 152.
John F.Kolars, "Managing the Impact of Development: The Euphratesand Tigris Rivers and the Ecology of the Arabian Gulf - A linkin Forging Tri - Riparian Cooperation", the compiled bookletof the conference entitled "Water As An Element Of CooperationAnd Development In The Middle East", Hacettepe Universityand Friedrich-Naumann Foundation, Ankara, April 1994, pp. 131-135.
Elizabeth Picard, "Eau et Sécurité. Dans leBassin de l'Euphrate", Géopolitique, Automne 1993,N. 43, p. 76.
(5) Natasha Beschorner, "Water and Instability in the MiddleEast", Adelphi Paper, no. 273, 1993, p. 29.
(6) John F. Kolars, "Managing The Impact of Development:The Euphrates and Tigris Divers and The Ecology of the ArabianGulf-A Link In Forging Tri-riparian Cooperation", The compiledbooklet of the conference entitled "Water As An Element OfCooperation And Development In The Middle East", HacettepeUniversity and Friedrich-Naumann Foundation, Ankara, April 1994,p. 137.
(7) Pritt J. Vesilind, Senior Writer,"Water: The Middle East'sCritical Resource", National Geographic, May 1993, p.50.Nurit Kliot, " Water Resources and Conflict in the MiddleEast", Routledge Press, London, 1994, p.128.

16. Relevant Web Sites

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August 26, 1997