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Water Diplomacy Talks -- "Water and Violence: Attacks on Water Infrastructure"


Jayantika Kutty and Niranjana Menon, research analysts with international think-tank Strategic Foresight Group (SFG) speak with David Duncan, Publisher, OOSKAnews in this (LINK) "Water Diplomacy Talks" audio conversation.

This newscast was recorded on the occasion of the release of SFG’s ninth "Blue Peace Bulletin", "Water and Violence: Attacks on Water Infrastructure", authored by Kutty and Menon, which can be DOWNLOADED HERE.

The trend of using water during armed conflicts has been around since centuries. Right from the conquests of Julius Caesar to the battles of World War II and more recently the attacks perpetrated by terror organizations and militia, water has played an important role, sometimes inadvertently and at others intentionally. Seven trends highlight the manner in which water has been used either as a target (ie destruction of water resources) or a weapon (ie usage of water to cause some form of damage to the enemy) during armed conflicts: Diversion; Flooding; Strategic attacks on water infrastructure; Incidental attacks and collateral damage; Attacks by Cross Border Terror/Militia Groups on Water; Role of International Coalitions; Impact of Civil Wars. Each of these patterns/trends is further examined herein to illustrate the kinds of attacks carried out on or against water.

“Water and Violence: Attacks on Water Infrastructure” examines the Pacific Institute's "Water Conflict Chronology List" (a detailed historical account of attacks on water infrastructure and weaponization of water) and other open sources to discern trends and patterns with regards to the use of water as a strategic tool in wars and conflicts by both state actors and armed non-state actors ranging over a period as far back as 2500 BC to as recent as 2010 AD.

SFG is an international think-tank engaged in crafting new policy concepts that enable decision makers to prepare for a future in uncertain times. SFG's body of work encompasses over 50 countries, across four continents. SFG pioneered the “Blue Peace” concept to use water as a tool to promote peace and security in the world.

Further Reading: Other SFG “Blue Peace Bulletins” can be DOWNLOADED HERE

“Water and Violence: Yemen”: Examines the issue of protecting water in Yemen.

“Water and Violence: Ukraine”: Examines the prospects of securing critical water infrastructure in Donbass. What can be done by the relevant actors and the international community?

“The Middle East Blue Strike List”: Provides details of 51 attacks that have taken place between 2012 and 2018 in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The attacks are categorized by Strategic Foresight Group into three types, either “Direct Target”, “Weapon” or “Indirect Target”, based on the kind of attack.

“Water and Violence: Mali”: Describes how, while Mali’s water infrastructure is yet to be used as a tool of violence during the on-going conflict, that conflict has had an impact on access to water leading to constant clashes between ethnic groups in the country.

"Water and Violence: Somalia": In the drought and conflict-stricken country of Somalia, water is often indiscriminately targeted or used as a weapon of war primarily by Al-Shabaab. Destruction of water infrastructure, blocking of access to rivers and other water sources, poisoning of wells of both civilians and peacekeepers are among tactics deployed by the terror group. “Water and Conflict: Somalia” argues for a holistic and coordinated response by the Somalian government, key countries such as Ethiopia, regional actors like the African Union and the AMISOM peacekeeping forces could go a long way in helping the nation grapple with their water woes and protecting their dwindling resources.

“Regional Water Protection Frameworks": There are a plethora of legal instruments including the Geneva Conventions that address the issue of protection of water resources especially during armed conflicts. However, implementation is relegated to the realm of domestic polices of state parties. The protection of water resources and related infrastructure more often than not require collective, regional or basin level measures by states. This Blue Peace Bulleting is therefore an attempt to lay down guidelines that states can adopt towards cooperative and collective security measures to protect water resources and infrastructure against acts of violence by terror groups or during international and non-international armed conflicts.

"Protection Of Water: Local Solutions”: Analyzes the positive impact of traditional conflict resolutions mechanisms in order to understand the manner in which similar local solutions can be adopted to prevent or curb other localized disputes, describing instances where people have had faith in traditional means of conflict resolution over water related disputes as compared to established international practices, outlining circumstances where traditional means of conflict resolution may be favored.

"Water and Violence: The Euphrates”: Examines the region around the Euphrates River and the possible role that it could play in finding a future solution in Syria.

"Water and Violence: Interview With Danilo Turk": TheChairman of the Global High-level Panel on Water and Peace, and former President of Slovenia, describes the Panel’s recommendation s on protecting water resources from violent conflicts.

"Water and Violence: Cyber Attacks and Cyber Warfare”: Identifies increasing vulnerability of physical infrastructure and the computer systems that operate it to cyber-attacks.