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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thomas Friedman. "WikiLeaks, Drought and Syria": Israel Has the Answer

In a May 2011 New York Times op-ed entitled "They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/opinion/22friedman.html?ref=opinion), Thomas Friedman, writing from Beirut, told us that the protestors being gunned down by Assad's monstrous regime were seeking "democracy":

"More than in any other Arab country today, the democracy protestors in Syria know that when they walk out the door to peacefully demand freedom they are facing a regime that has no hesitancy about gunning them down."

This was all about "democracy protestors"? I wrote in response (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2011/05/thomas-friedmans-they-shoot-horses-dont.html) that Friedman's explanation was "a facile depiction of a rebellion having its roots elsewhere." I continued:

"Notwithstanding demands by demonstrators for greater political freedom, the Assad regime is being brought down by the failure of its economy. Syria's agricultural sector employs some 30 percent of its labor force, and much emphasis has been placed in recent years on achieving food self-sufficiency and stemming rural migration. However, Syria's most important cash crop is cotton, which demands much water, and a five-year drought has had catastrophic consequences."

Was I invited to the State Department to expound upon my thoughts? A phone call? Heck no! Why do they need someone like me when President Obama and friends can depend upon a persistent stream of drivel from would-be Middle East experts such as Tom Friedman and Fareed Zakaria.

Fast forward two years: In May 2013 Friedman finally got around to acknowledging the effects of the drought in Syria. In an op-ed entitled "Without Water, Revolution" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/opinion/sunday/friedman-without-water-revolution.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0), Friedman wrote:

"Then, between 2006 and 2011, some 60 percent of Syria’s land mass was ravaged by the drought and, with the water table already too low and river irrigation shrunken, it wiped out the livelihoods of 800,000 Syrian farmers and herders, the United Nations reported. 'Half the population in Syria between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers left the land' for urban areas during the last decade, said Aita. And with Assad doing nothing to help the drought refugees, a lot of very simple farmers and their kids got politicized."

Today, in a New York Times op-ed entitled "WikiLeaks, Drought and Syria" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/22/opinion/friedman-wikileaks-drought-and-syria.html?_r=0), Friedman returns to the topic of the drought affecting Syria:

"And, finally, consider this: 'In the future, who will help a country like Syria when it gets devastated by its next drought if we are in a world where everyone is dealing with something like a Superstorm Sandy,' which alone cost the U.S. $60 billion to clean up? asks Joe Romm, founder of ClimateProgress.org.

So to Iran and Saudi Arabia, who are funding the proxy war in Syria between Sunnis and Shiites/Alawites, all I can say is that you’re fighting for control of a potential human/ecological disaster zone. You need to be working together to rebuild Syria’s resiliency, and its commons, not destroying it. I know that in saying this I am shouting into a dust storm. But there is nothing else worth saying."

An answer to the drought and the swelling population in Syria and the rest of the Muslim Middle East? Simple: Israeli desalinization technologies. You see, Israel has been affected by the same drought that has punished Syrian and also Jordan, and as was reported almost a year ago by David Horovitz in a Times of Israel article entitled "How Israel beat the drought" (http://www.timesofisrael.com/how-israel-beat-the-drought/):

"The solution was desalination, on a major scale — the third phase in a water revolution that had begun with the water carrier and continued with recycling. The first large desalination plant came on line in Ashkelon in 2005, followed by Palmahim and Hadera. By the end of this year, when the Soreq and Ashdod plants are working, there’ll be five plants — built privately at a cost of NIS 6-7 billion (about $2 billion).

Israel uses 2 billion cubic meters of water per year — which is actually a little less than a decade ago, as efficiencies have been introduced in agriculture (which uses 700 million), and water-saving awareness has permeated. Of that two billion, half will be 'artificially' manufactured by year’s end — 600 million cubic meters from those desalination plants, and 400 from purified sewage and brackish water.

'We’re not the world’s biggest desalinators,' notes Kushnir, 'but no one has made the shift so fast to a situation where half of its water needs are filled from ‘artificial’ sources. And it means we are now ready for the next decade, without dramatic dependence on rainfall fluctuations.'"

Would Syria ever consult with Israel regarding how best to solve its water shortage? Probably both Assad and the rebels would rather die of thirst than contemplate receiving technological assistance from the Zionist state.

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