Saturday, August 25, 2007

Squeezing Iraq

""I hope that the water issue does not fall prey to politics. Our river levels have plummeted and Iraq needs guarantees that projects Turkey is building won't hit us further," Rasheed said after talks with Syrian officials.

Euphrates volumes through Iraq have fallen to 30 billion cubic meters a year, half the flow of a few decades ago before Syria and Turkey increased dam building, Rasheed said.

"The picture on the Tigris is slightly better, although Iran is blocking its tributaries and we need to talk about this with Tehran. We have cooperation from Syria," said Rasheed, a Kurd who was a leading member of the opposition to Saddam Hussein.

Rasheed said talks with Turkey have picked up after the U.S.-led invasion that removed Saddam from power in 2003. But Iraq still lacked information on the scope of Turkish plans upstream and the expansion of cultivated land."

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