Water crisis salts the earth in Iraq’s long-neglected south

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This aerial photo shows a dry canal full of salt in the area of Siba in Basra, 550 km southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP/Nabil Al-Jurani)
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Farmer Qassim Sabaan Ali, 62, a farmer shows dead figs in the area of Siba in Basra, 550 km southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP/Nabil Al-Jurani)
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Qassim Sabaan Ali, 62, stands on on his dry farm caused by high salinity levels in the area of Siba in Basra, 550 km southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq, (AP/Nabil Al-Jurani)
Updated 02 August 2018
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Water crisis salts the earth in Iraq’s long-neglected south

  • Iraq’s southern province of Basra was once dubbed the “Venice of the East” because of its many canals
  • Upstream dams in Turkey, Syria and Iran have shrunk the rivers and their tributaries

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s southern province of Basra was once dubbed the “Venice of the East” because of its many canals. Iraq’s two rivers — the Tigris and the Euphrates — have nourished civilizations since antiquity.
But the region is now suffering from a water crisis so severe that once-fertile land has been turned into desert and tap water is too salty and polluted even for washing.
Upstream dams in Turkey, Syria and Iran have shrunk the rivers and their tributaries, seasonal rainfall has dropped and infrastructure has fallen into disrepair.
The result is an acute lack of freshwater that has allowed a salty tide from the nearby Arabian Gulf to advance north and seep into once-lush farmland.
The crisis has also contributed to violent protests across the oil-rich region last month.


Donald Trump tells Iran to ‘get out of Yemen’

Updated 16 July 2019
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Donald Trump tells Iran to ‘get out of Yemen’

  • Trump said on Tuesday a lot of progress had been made with Iran and that he was not looking for regime change
  • Pompeo said at the meeting Iran had said it was prepared to negotiate about its missile program

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday a lot of progress had been made with Iran and that he was not looking for regime change in Tehran, but said the US wanted the Islamic republic to "get out of Yemen."

Trump, who made the remarks at a Cabinet meeting in the White House, did not give details about the progress, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the meeting Iran had said it was prepared to negotiate about its missile program.

More to follow...