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2015 | 19 | 16-31
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ISIS has turned the Middle East Hydro-Politics upside down

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The “Arab Spring”—a wave of pro-democracy demonstrations that began in Tunisia in late 2010 and swept across Libya and Egypt—finally reached Syria in early March 2011. The unrest resulted from a combination of socio-economic and political problems that had been building for years and that affect especially Syria’s large rural population. One of the things that preceded the failure of the nation-state of Syria and the rise of ISIS have been considered the effect of climate change and the mega-drought that affected that region. However, four years after the conflict began, it has degenerated into a civil war with more than 200,000 deaths and about 4 million registered refugees. And it has put Syria at the center of nasty geopolitical struggles. In most evaluations of the Syrian civil war an future, the most neglected analysis is: How water resources will affect the ongoing civil war and how changing situation will affect hydropolitics relations between countries after the war. A far more sustained and thoughtful consideration of Syria’s future, and how the country will be governed democratically, is needed. There are at least seven scenarios for the future of the country from Assad victory to, stalemate, country breaks up, regional conflict, chaos etc. In details, autonomy in some regions, confederal, federal, independent all or a bicameral parliament and highly decentralized provincial structures, whatsoever the type of New Syrian system will be, there will be transboundary water issues that are more conflicted and somehow different than it was before. ISIS has been the most important and powerful actor in the civil war. It has played a very important role to change the region till now. If current political system of the Syria is changed or fragmented after the civil war that is likely to be, we can easily say that ISIS has turned the “Middle East Hydro Politics” upside down. Even if it is not well known right now, this change will affect future of the regional stability with climate change effects in near future.
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  • Hydropolitics Academy Association, Ankara, Turkey
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