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Iran’s Biggest Problem Isn’t Sanctions or Today’s Elections; It’s Water

From 1962 until 1979, the majority of water-infrastructure projects in Iran were managed by Israeli experts. All that changed with the Islamic Revolution of 1979. And this is but one of the many ways the ayatollahs have pushed their country to the brink of environmental disaster, as Seth Siegel explains:

Due to gross mismanagement and its ruinous impact on the country, Iran faces the worst water future of any industrialized nation. . . . Beginning in 1987, as the war with Iraq was ending, the special military force of the Iranian regime—the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—was given a special perk. Among other strangleholds on the Iranian economy, IRGC-owned companies . . . were given control over major engineering projects throughout the country. Recklessly, these companies began damming major rivers, changing the historical water flows of Iran. This was done to give preferences to powerful landowners and favored ethnic communities while also transferring billions from the public treasury to IRGC leaders’ accounts. . . .

At the same time, the . . . regime turned a blind eye as farmers drilled wells without controls or concern about sustainability, giving themselves all of the groundwater they wanted. With fuel long heavily subsidized in Iran, farmers turned on their diesel pumps, and often left them on, even when fields didn’t need irrigating. After a few years of such abuse of dammed rivers and over-drafted groundwater, aquifers began to go dry and lakes shriveled. . . .

With farmland ruined, topsoil blown away, and insufficient water to grow crops, millions of farmers and herders have left the countryside to live in dismal conditions in Iran’s growing cities. Meanwhile, deserts have expanded, and the environmental damage to the country continues. . . . Sooner or later, the music will stop. Mother Nature is forgiving only up to a point. Once aquifers are pumped dry and begin collapsing on themselves, there is no engineering project—corrupt or otherwise—that can save them.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Iran, Israel diplomacy, Politics & Current Affairs, Water

Why Israeli Arabs Should Drop Their Political Parties

Sept. 20 2017

Even as Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy rights, freedoms, and economic opportunities unrivaled in the Arab world, their political leadership is more intent on undermining the Jewish state than on serving their actual interests. Moshe Arens, a former Israeli defense minister, comments. (Free registration may be required.)

[T]he Knesset members of the [Arab] Joint List have nothing but criticism for Israel and praise for its enemies, be they Iran, President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, or Palestinian terrorists. . . . Although spanning the ideological spectrum from Communism (aside from the North Koreans, the only Communists still around), the Muslim Brotherhood (called the Islamic Movement in Israel), and Baathists (the Balad party), they are united in their hatred of Israel. Naturally, they do not call for Arab integration into Israeli society.

Those who oppose the polygamy rampant in the Arab community oppose Israeli measures to curb it. Those who are against the abuse of women and so-called honor killings think these are “local problems” that should be handled by the Arabs themselves. Nor do they want the Israel police to handle the crime running wild in Israel’s Arab towns. Keep Israel out of your lives, is their common motto. They oppose young Arabs volunteering for either military or civilian national service. . . .

Within Israel’s Arab community there is a struggle between those who insist on rejecting everything Israel stands for while supporting its enemies and those who want to integrate into Israeli society and take advantage of the opportunities it offers. . . . Can Israel’s Arabs become a beacon of democracy and modernity for the Arab world, or will they provide proof that Arabs are not yet prepared to enter the 21st century? . . .

[E]ach year, growing numbers of young Arabs volunteer for national service and join the ranks of Israel’s military and police. At the moment, the only way this trend can express itself politically is for these individuals to drop their support for the Joint List in favor of Israel’s existing political parties, and for these parties to welcome Arabs into their ranks.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Israeli politics, Joint List