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Irregular Competition: The Impacts of Water Competition within the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers on Irregular Conflict

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Technical Report

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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Since World War II a preponderance of armed conflict has been lessother than declared war between nation states. Irregular Warfare encompasses a broad range of conflicts involving state and non-state entities, and according to Samuel Huntington, is a form of warfare by which the strategically weaker side assumes the tactical offensive in selected forms, times, and places. Irregular Warfare during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has had significant influence on the form and function of multiple dynamics within the Middle East. The dynamics of water resources have equally effected the region during this period. Both of these dynamics have had and continue to have significant impacts to the geography, population, and political structures in the region encompassing the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The utility of water spans the spectrum of human needs from the basic individual need of consumable drinking water to industrial society needs such as electricity generation. Competition for available water within the Tigris and Euphrates watershed has had significant impacts on IW conflict. Multiple attributes describing the function, form, and practice of the participants within the current conflict in Syria and Iraq are a function of water resource competition and stress. The purpose of this study is to explore the interconnected dynamics of water resource competition and stress and Irregular Warfare.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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