Tag Archives: Conflict

Global ‘water war’ threat by 2030

Global ‘water war’ threat by 2030 – US intelligence

The Mekong river. One of the predicted sources of international conflict and site for controversial dam.

Nations will cut off rivers to prevent their enemies having access to water downstream, terrorists will blow up dams, and states that cannot provide water for their citizens will collapse. This is the future – as painted by a top US security report.

­The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the organization that oversees US intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI, was commissioned by President Barack Obama to examine the impact of water scarcity worldwide on US security.

And while the prospect of “water wars” has been touted for decades, it may start to become reality within a decade. The ODNI predicts that by 2040 water demand will outstrip current supply by 40 per cent.

­Impoverished volatile states will be worst off

Water shortages “will hinder the ability of key countries to produce food and generate energy, posing a risk to global food markets and hobbling economic growth.” North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia will be hit the hardest, the report states.

And while the coming shortage is a manageable problem for richer countries, it is a deadly “destabilizing factor” in poorer ones. As a rule, economically disadvantaged countries are already prone to political, social and religious turmoil, and failure to provide water for farmers and city dwellers can be the spark for wider “state failure.”

Among those most vulnerable to this scenario are Sudan, Pakistan and Iraq, which are all locked in debilitating civil conflicts, and Somalia, which has effectively ceased to function as a state. ODNI envisages countries restricting water for its own citizens to “pressure populations and suppress separatist elements.” The report predicts many ordinary citizens will have to resort to the kind of purification tablets currently used by soldiers and hikers to obtain clean water.

Most dangerously, there are whole clusters of unstable countries fighting for the same waterways.

The report lists the Nile, which runs through Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, the Jordan, which runs through Israel and several Arab countries, and the Indus, which is shared by Pakistan and India.

These areas are managed by special commissions, and the report states that “historically, water tensions have led to more water-sharing agreements than violent conflicts.” But once there is not enough water to go around, these fragile pacts may collapse, with “more powerful upstream nations impeding or cutting off downstream flow.”

Even without outright fighting, the ODNI says countries will use water as a tool of political leverage, similar to how gas and oil are used today.

Infrastructure projects will become increasingly politicized: “States will also use their inherent ability to construct and support major water projects to obtain regional influence or preserve their water interests,” the report claims.

Laos’ proposed $3.5 billion Mekong Dam has already been the subject of an international dispute with Cambodia and Vietnam, who say the dam will obliterate their fisheries and agriculture.

­Water terrorism threat

And even international compromise is not likely to be enough to ensure water safety.

“Physical infrastructure, including dams, has been used as a convenient and high-publicity target by extremists, terrorists, and rogue states, threatening substantial harm and this will become more likely beyond the next 10 years.”

The report states that an attack on a single point in a water supply, such as a canal or desalinization plant is sufficient to deprive hundreds of thousands of clean water. In return, governments will have to implement costly safety measures that are likely to be of limited use, due to the extensive length of rivers that have to be protected.

The ODNI says there is a decade to tackle the problems before they spiral out of control. It suggests revising international water treaties and investing in superior water purification technologies that will make the increasingly scarce resource plentiful again.

SOURCE

Witness: Multiple, NOT just one, US soldiers involved in civilian massacre

‘Several drunk troops behind bloodbath, laughed on shooting-spree, burned corpses’

Gruesome new details are surfacing after 16 Afghan villagers including nine children were shot in their houses by at least one US serviceman. Witnesses to the atrocity now say that several drunken American soldiers were involved.

­Neighbors at the village where the killings took place said they were awoken past midnight by crackling gunfire:

“They were all drunk and shooting all over the place,” Reuters cites Agha Lala, a villager in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district.

Lala’s neighbor Haji Samad lost all of his 11 relatives in the rampage, including children and grandchildren. He claims Marines “poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them.”

Twenty-year-old Jan Agha says the gunfire “shook him out of bed.” He was in the epicenter of the horrible shooting, witnessing his father shot as the latter peered out of a window to see what was going on.

“The Americans stayed in our house for a while. I was very scared,” the young man told reporters.

Lying on a floor, Agha says, he pretended to be dead.

He added that his brother was shot in his head and chest. His sister was killed as well. “My mother was shot in her eye and her face. She was unrecognizable,” he said.

The Afghan parliament said the incident was barbaric and demanded justice. Both NATO and US officials condemned the violence, promising a swift investigation.
­US ‘fundamental strategy’ in Afghanistan won’t change – Pentagon

­The Pentagon’s chief spokesman, George Little, said on Monday that there was “every indication” that the perpetrator, whose name he refused to disclose, had not been accompanied by any other soldiers. He also said that the mass killing would not change the “basic war strategy” in Afghanistan.

“Despite what some are saying, we’re not changing our fundamental strategy,” Little said.

Also on Monday NATO reacted to the massacre of Afghan villagers, with spokeswoman Oana Lungescu saying the shooting was an “isolated incident.” She emphasized it would not affect the timeline of the previously discussed withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Earlier a preliminary official report said the unnamed culprit, identified as a member of the US army staff, had acted alone and is now in custody after turning himself in at an American base.

US troops in Afghanistan have been put on high alert as the Taliban has issued a threat vowing “to take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers for every single martyr.”

The statement published on the group’s website said that the US is “arming lunatics in Afghanistan who turn their weapons against the defenseless Afghans.”

Afghan officials, fearing possible violent demonstrations, have deployed extra police and troops in and around Kandahar.

The incident was one of the worst of its kind since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. It comes just weeks after copies of the Koran were burned at a US military base, provoking mass riots in Afghanistan.
­Slaying of 16 Afghan civilians ‘absolutely tragic and heartbreaking’ – Barack Obama

­US President Barack Obama has said during an interview with Denver TV Station KCNC that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier was “absolutely tragic and heartbreaking” but also noted that he was “proud generally” of what US troops had accomplished in Afghanistan while working under strenuous conditions.

In another interview, this time with Orlando-based WFTV, the president reiterated his stance in favor of a pullout from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. He said the incident “does signal the importance of us transitioning in accordance with my plans that Afghans are taking more of the initiative in security.”

Asked whether the incident could be compared to the infamous 1968 My Lai Massacre, in which US troops murdered up to 500 civilians in South Vietnam, Obama responded by saying it was not comparable. “It appeared you had a lone gunman who acted on his own,” he noted.

US defense secretary Leon Panetta said that the death penalty was a possible punishment against the soldier who perpetrated the massacre. He noted that officials will use the military justice system to try the soldier and that the shootings must not derail the military mission in Afghanistan.

In the meantime, Reuters quoted an anonymous US official who said that the accused soldier had been treated for traumatic brain injury after being in a vehicle that rolled over in Iraq in 2010.

SOURCE

Concrete message: Iran ‘supershield’ to thwart US ‘superbomb’

>Concrete message: Iran ‘supershield’ to thwart US ‘superbomb’

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Pentagon’s joy at getting tons of money for a bigger, badder bomb was, apparently, premature. Iran claims to have invented “super concrete” – of a type that will stop the Massive Ordnance Penetrator from penetrating…well, anything.

­Iran is known for being one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. As a result, their scientists have gotten really good at creating ultra-high performance concrete, or UHPC, which is one of the toughest and most rigid building materials in the world. And like any dual-use technology, it can have military applications as well – something the Iranians are keen to utilize.What they’ve done is the exact opposite of that age-old adage: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But it will allegedly allow Iran to effectively stop any potential bombing of strategic facilities that are in the Pentagon’s scope. No breaking, no fixing. Just good old stonewalling of the literal variety.

­The move will most likely cause a lot of anxiety in Washington. But the irony is that not only did Iran make an unexpected knight’s move, but it did so by mirroring the steps taken by the US Department of Defense.

With tensions around Iran’s nuclear program mounting, US defense secretary Leon Panetta said the existing modification of the bunker-buster MOP bomb wasn’t up to scratch; that it wouldn’t, in fact, even make a scratch on facilities like the Fordo research center, hidden under 300 feet of Iranian bedrock. So they took the massively limited ordnance penetrator and added $86 million worth of modifications – all to increase the bunker buster’s range.

It’s not known exactly how much money Iran spent on improving their UHPC, but it’s unlikely to be on the same scale as the US. The Pentagon has so far spent over $400 million on a bunker-buster bomb that looks unlikely to ever bust anything other than a hole in the budget.

And one thing is certain: this is a concrete stumbling block for the American military.

SOURCE