Saturday, January 12, 2019

Water issues in Iraq

As PRESS TV notes, the protests in Basra go on.  Among the reasons for the ongoing protests -- which started in July -- is the water issue.  Over 150,000 residents of the area have ended up hospitalized for drinking the local water.  Potable water is a right, not a luxury. 

Water is an issue throughout Iraq.  For example . . .

5 million residents in Baghdad, suffer from shortages & outbreaks of waterborne diseases due to inadequate infrastructure, sewage, & rapid population growth. How this project can save lives:

Among the reason for water problems in Iraq today?  Pollution, to be sure.  Back in October, Philip Issa (AP) observed that the Tigris River "is foulded by untreated sewage and dead carp, which float by in the fast-moving current." Equally true, neighbors who block off the water flow through Iraq. 

Hope Iraq would professionally deal with newly appointed envoy Mr. Veysel Eroğlu not only to get its fair share of water but also to learn how to use that fair share of water rationally to rivers & to avoid Iraq from inevitable water crises

Zubeyde Yalcin (DAILY SABAH) reports:

Turkey has appointed former Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu as a special envoy to Iraq to resolve the water sharing issues between the two countries. During a press conference with the Iraqi President Barham Salih last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said there were serious water management problems between Iraq and Turkey but some necessary steps could solve the issues within a couple of years. Erdoğan said that he would send a special envoy to Iraq to talk with officials and take the necessary steps.
The Iraqi president said: "We do not want water sharing issues to remain a source of problems between the two countries," and added that Erdoğan's move to appoint a special envoy would be a significant step toward solving the issue.

So Turkey's going to decide what a "fair share" of the water is for Iraq?  Is that it's supposed to work?  Let's hope not.  And let's hope that people grasp how important water issues actually are.  Bryan Bowman's report for GLOBAL POST touches on this importance:

Poor water infrastructure and droughts related to climate change lead to mass unemployment and desperation among farmers in northern Iraq in 2014, leading some of them to become prime targets for ISIS recruitment.
While many other factors contribute to conflict, [PAX researcher Wim] Zwijnenburg said he hopes people understand that there is a connection between a stable environment and national security.
“Environmental grievances can breed resentment and be exploited by local groups,” he said. “So I think it’s critical to think about environmental security and protection of civilians as being interlinked.”

Back to Basra, the protests aren't the only issue.  Mustafa Saddoun (AL-MONITOR) reports:

Amid ongoing protests in the southern Iraqi province of Basra, where citizens have been facing poverty and a critical lack of basic services, another dispute is emerging, this one over the governor’s position. This new controversy threatens to escalate the ongoing discord between political blocs there as the Basra provincial council feels pressure from outside sources seeking to sway its members' votes.
Political blocs realize that winning governors' positions locally could pay off later in national elections. Some observers say this competition has become an even more difficult struggle than the prolonged fight over selecting the country's prime minister. The blocs are worried this extended struggle for governor could inflame protests over the already hot topic of public services.
Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Hikma bloc (National Wisdom Movement), a Shiite party with 19 seats in parliament, is competing for the position. He talks about “business deals and interests-based agreements behind the scenes.” He also stresses the need to “get rid of foreign interventions that affect the choice of governor.”
Commenting on Hakim’s allegations, a political source close to the government in Basra told Al-Monitor about an unprecedented level of Iranian pressure to assign this position to a member of the State of Law Coalition led by Nouri al-Maliki or the Fatah Alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri.
“Meanwhile, Muqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon Alliance and the Hikma bloc led by Hakim have another say,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The Iranian Consulate in Basra leads the negotiations on behalf of some political blocs. The consulate also interferes in all negotiations, contacts candidates and tries to win them over to its side. This intervention is different from all previous Iranian interventions. This time, Iran is getting into details and disbursing funds to some members of the provincial council to win their vote.”


The following community sites updated:



    photoessay - marriott workers celebrate victory - hotel strike story part 2
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    David Bacon Fotografias y Historias
    By David Bacon,
    Truthout, January 9, 2019

    UNITE HERE Local 2 representative Rafael Leiva tells strikers at the Saint Francis Hotel that a settlement has been reached in the Marriott strike.

    To hear their own accounts of the strike and why the union won, read Truthout's exclusive interview with UNITE HERE Local 2 President Anand Singh and UNITE HERE Local 2 organizer and Marriott campaign coordinator Kevin O'Connor, posted yesterday on this blog.  Click here.

    For 61 days members of UNITE HERE Local 2 struck at seven Marriott hotels in San Francisco during a national campaign targeting the world's largest hotel corporation. The San Francisco union was the last to settle and go back to work.

    Room cleaners won a $1.75 per hour raise retroactive to last August, and significant raises in the next three years, while fully employer-paid health care is guaranteed for the life of the contract. Housekeepers won workload reductions. The new contract strengthens workers' rights around the introduction of technology in the workplace, the "Green Choice" program, sexual harassment of room cleaners by guests, employee safety, and immigration. The strike stopped Marriott from contracting out room service and food service in a number of hotels. In San Francisco, workers won unprecedented job protections - if they're laid off their names go into a pool where they'll receive preference for rehiring at other hotels.

    The agreement was the result of the strike's meticulous planning and the participation of workers in the seven hotels. In four hotels, not one Local 2 member crossed the picket line. Only a few did in the other three hostelries at which workers were on strike.

    The images in this photo essay were taken on the last day of the strike. In the photographs, the workers react on the picket lines to the end of the strike, weigh the proposed agreement, vote on it and then celebrate it.

    Saint Francis strikers listen to an outline of the strike settlement on the picket line on the last day of the strike.

    Striker Richard Mason, one of the longest-term workers at the Saint Francis, shows his happiness on hearing that a settlement has been reached in the Marriott strike.

    [. . .]

    Exhibition Schedule
    Exhibitions of photographs are scheduled for the following venues and dates:

    In the Fields of the North / En los campos del norte
    Scheduled exhibitions:

    January 13, 2019 - March 10, 2019
    Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum, Vallejo
    September 1, 2019 - December 22, 2019
    Hi-Desert Nature Museum, Yucca Valley
    January 5, 2020 - March 1, 2020
    Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County, Yuba City
    March 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020
    Monterey Country Agricultural and Rural Life Museum, King City
    March 21, 2021 - May 23, 2021
    Carnegie Arts Center, Turlock

    In Washington’s Fields - Scheduled exhibition:

    February 5, 2020 - July 15, 2020
    Washington State Historical Museum, Tacoma, WA

    In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte
    Photographs and text by David Bacon
    University of California Press / Colegio de la Frontera Norte

    302 photographs, 450pp, 9”x9”
    paperback, $34.95 (in the U.S.)

    order the book on the UC Press website:
    use source code  16M4197  at checkoutreceive a 30% discount

    En Mexico se puede pedir el libro en el sitio de COLEF:

    Los Angeles Times reviews In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte - clickhere

    En los campos del Norte documenta la vida de trabajadores agrícolas en Estados Unidos -
    Entrevista con el Instituto Nacional de la Antropologia y Historia

    Entrevista en la television de UNAM

    David Bacon comparte su mirada del trabajo agrícola de migrantes mexicanos en el Museo Archivo de la Fotografia

    Trabajo agrícola, migración y resistencia cultural: el mosaico de los “Campos del Norte”
    Entrevista de David Bacon por Iván Gutiérrez / A los 4 Vientos

    "Los fotógrafos tomamos partido"
    Entrevista por Melina Balcázar Moreno - Laberinto

    Die Kunst der Grenze für "eine andere Welt"

    Die Apfel-Pflücker aus dem Yakima-Tal


    "Documenting the Farm Worker Rebellion"
    "The Radical Resistance to Immigration Enforcement"
    Havens Center lectures, University of Wisconsin, click here

    San Francisco Commonweallth Club presentation by David Bacon and Jose Padilla, clickhere

    EN LOS CAMPOS DEL NORTE:  Farm worker photographs on the U.S./Mexico border wall
    Entrevista sobre la exhibicion con Alfonso Caraveo (Español) REALITY CHECK - David Bacon blog

    Cat Brooks interview on KPFA about In the Fields of the North  - Advance the time to 33:15

    Book TV: A presentation of the ideas in The Right to Stay Home at the CUNY Graduate Center

    Other Books by David Bacon

    The Right to Stay Home:  How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration  (Beacon Press, 2013)
    Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants  (Beacon Press, 2008)
    Recipient: C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008

    Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

    The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

    En Español:

    EL DERECHO A QUEDARSE EN CASA  (Critica - Planeta de Libros)


    For more articles and images, see and

    Micah Zenko breaks it down (or Pay Attention, Peter Baker, you need to be more than a pretty face)