UDC 502.171:546.212(5-15)(6-17)
Biblid: 0543-3657, 73 (2022)
Vol. 73, No 1184, pp. 7-32
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18485/iipe_mp.2022.73.1184.1

Pregledni članak
Received: 14 Aug 2021
Accepted: 29 Nov 2021
CC BY-SA 4.0

Water Security as a Factor in Environmental Security and an Element of Conflict in the Middle East and the North Africa Region

Stojanović Bogdan (Naučni saradnik, Institut za međunarodnu politiku i privredu, Beograd), bogdan.stojanovic@diplomacy.bg.ac.rs
Spasojević Nenad (Istraživač pripravnik, Institut za političke studije), nenadspasojevic96@gmail.com

This article investigates the justification for extending the traditional notion of security to environmental issues, where the water problem occupies a significant place. The relatively new concept of \"water security\" is an integral part of modern security thinking, which is not exclusively reserved for military threats. Ecological security is becoming increasingly important in overall security studies, and water security is one of the most important future issues. The authors analyse one of the driest regions in the world, exploring the variable of water security as an element of overall conflict relationships. The Middle East and North Africa, although regions rich in oil as a first-class resource in the modern world, are very poor in drinking and irrigation water, which is also unevenly distributed. The problem is further complicated by the constant tensions and conflicts in this part of the world. This article uses a comparative method and analysis of state practices to examine the position of water security as a variable in the conflict. The authors conclude that water security is not a sufficient condition for starting wars, but it is of great importance as an element that intensifies existing conflicts and slows down peace negotiations. Water wars are still not our reality, but the authors do not rule them out as a possible future issue, given the constant deterioration of the situation and the amount of available water resources in this region. Water security will certainly be an element of the conflict in the foreseeable future because it cannot be overcome by importing water or perfecting desalination technology. Therefore, the authors emphasise the importance of researching this variable.

Keywords: water security, environment, conflict, Middle East, North Africa, desalination, Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, Jordan