Thousands of dead fish ... the rivers of Babylon

After all the troubles that Iraq has suffered in past decades, as recent reports have highlighted, it has also added the environment to its long list of serious woes. The proclaimed defeat of ISIS in 2017 was followed by elections in May 2018, but the country is still waiting for its next government to be finalised. And in Basra, fed up protesters took to the streets during the scorching summer heat, demanding everything from a reduced Iranian influence in Iraq to reliable supplies of electricity and water.

Uploaded by عراقية on 2018-11-02.

As this video shows in the historic region of Babylon, this part of the Euphrates River is suffering from what seems to be lack of water, which is killing what looks like tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of fish. I’m not familiar with the reliability of the sources here, but according to Kurdistan24 it appears it’s not clear exactly how much of the cause is environmental (i.e. water shortages) and/or disease. The latter report I’ve linked to also says, ‘The Ministry of Agriculture has not ruled out that the deaths were intentional, though the exact strategy behind any proposed scheme was unclear.’

What is absolutely clear, however, is Iraq’s national – as well as its wider geo-political – challenges might end up being the least of its problems if the wider world doesn’t begin to seriously address water shortages and other major environmental issues there.