"No More War," February 15, 2003
In Memoriam
Rachel Corrie (1982-2003)
Artist and Peace Activist
Student at Evergreen College
Olympia Washington
Killed on Sunday, March 16, 2003
at the age of 21
by an Israeli Army Tank
while defending the home of
a Palestinian family whose house was targeted for destruction. Rachel  fell and the Tank driver refused to stop and rolled over her, crushing her and then backed up once again over her body to the horrified shouts of her peace activitist colleagues. This photo was taken on April 18, 2002.  Rachel is shown wearing her dove headgear while working on a model of Earth for the eighth annual "Procession of the Species", a community artistic celebration combining art, music and dance to give nature a greater presence on Olympia's city streets. 

"People Have the Power "  --
A spontaneous expression  by the citizens of the world,
 against War and against the destruction of 
Our Sacred Mother Earth

See "Links to Antiwar Orgs"  Below


below: Hyde Park, London       Madrid        Rome 
Istanbul,             Berlin,                 Amsterdam, 


above: London,       Dublin,         
below: Amsterdam,      Glasgow,      Athens over 800,000


above: Shetland Islands,    Tokyo,    Kuala Lampur
below: London, Wellington, New Zealand, Bordeaux, France 


Enter subhead content here


row 1: Prague, New York & Los Angeles
row 2: Jakarta, Indonesia & Hattiesburg, Mississippi
row 3: Women of Bagdad and  and Seoul, South Korea

Arabs and Israelis together protest
the proposed War against Iraq
in Tel Aviv, February 15, 2003
Bird Caught in Oil Slick
The Gulf War, Iraq

Foes urged to spare Iraq's wildlife

By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent

Victim of the 1991 war: A greater flamingo (Image: Colin Mills/ BirdLife International)

Any war in Iraq should be fought in ways that protect its wildlife, conservationists say. BirdLife International has sent the UN Security Council and the Iraqi Government details of the main environmental threats from a war.

It says the impacts would affect local people, and would persist for a long time afterwards. BirdLife is urging potential combatants to avoid deliberately targeting or damaging globally important wildlife and habitats. It has sent a dossier of information, maps and photographs to the government in Baghdad and to the five UN Security Council permanent members - China, France, Russia, the UK and the US.

The dossier, which explains the environmental threats to people and sites, has also gone to the UN Environment Programme (Unep), and is available on the internet.  BirdLife is a global alliance of non-governmental national conservation organisations, and works in more than 100 countries. Icon of conflict  Its director, Dr Michael Rands, said: "Until recently the impact of war on nature has often been ignored or obscured by the conflict itself.

"As the 1990-1991 Gulf war showed, such conflicts have devastating effects on the environment, biodiversity and the quality of life of local people long after the cessation of hostilities. "It was the heart-rending image of an oiled bird that became a symbol of the environmental impact of the first Gulf war. BirdLife hopes images of oiled birds do not once again fill our television screens in 2003."

BirdLife's dossier is based on the environmental damage reported in 1991, and on data from the more recent conflicts in the Balkans and Afghanistan.

Iraq's endangered white-headed duck (Image: Dr Tony Martin)


It identifies several risks to natural habitats, which will also affect people:

  • 1.   physical destruction and disturbance from the use of weapons
  • 2.  toxic pollution from oil spills or oil well fires through fighting or deliberate damage
  • 3.  radiological, chemical or toxic contamination from the use of weapons of mass destruction or conventional bombing of military or industrial sites
  • 4.  physical destruction of wildlife and habitats because of increased human pressure caused by mass movements of refugees.

Other risks, BirdLife says, include the burning of vegetation; the extinction of endemic species (those found nowhere else); and the armies' role in damaging the deserts. Record destruction  Mike Evans visited the Gulf for BirdLife in 1991. He said: "Waders and waterbirds will be particularly at risk from oil spills.  "Iraq is at the northern end of the Gulf, one of the top five sites in the world for wintering wader birds and a key refuelling area for hundreds of thousands of migratory waterbirds during the spring and autumn."

BirdLife says the 1991 war saw "by far the largest marine oil spills in history, with six to eight million barrels of crude oil spilled, severely polluting 560 kilometres (350 miles) of coast, and totally obliterating intertidal ecosystems".  Iraq is home to one endemic wetland bird, the Basra reed warbler, and to five endemic or near-endemic marshland sub-species. It has 42 important bird areas, and the Mesopotamian marshes endemic bird area. Expropriated people BirdLife says the marshes shrank between 1991 and now from 15,000 sq km (3.7m hectares) to about 50 (12.25 thousand ha).

The deliberate destruction of the marshes by Iraq, according to Unep, was devastating, "with significant implications for global biodiversity from Siberia to southern Africa". The bandicoot rat and a sub-species of otter are believed to have been driven to extinction as a result.  On the human scale, the Ma'dan people who have lived in the marshes for 5,000 years have lost their traditional homeland..

A dead green turtle.


Marsh lands of Iran and Iraq are nearing final collapse  By BBC News Online's environment correspondent Alex Kirby

A stark metaphor of accelerating environmental change, the marsh- lands of Iran and Iraq are nearing final collapse.  The largest wetland in the Middle East, they have shrunk by about 90% since 1970.  The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) says the impacts on humans and wildlife are "devastating".

It compares what is happening to "the drying of the Aral Sea and the deforestation of large tracts of Amazonia".

Unep has documented the marshes' precipitous decline by analysing Landsat satellite imagery.  The analysis, it says, "graphically documents the stunning scale and speed at which the wetlands have disappeared, confirming the most pessimistic scenarios". By May 2000 most of the marshland was barren, with only a small and rapidly shrinking section remaining, part of the Al-Hawizeh marsh which straddles the Iran-Iraq border. Desert

Unep has produced a report, Demise of an Ecosystem: Disappearance of the Mesopotamian Marshlands, which is to be released later this year. It says the drying out of the marshes, which used to cover 15,000-20,000 square kilometres where the rivers Tigris and Euphrates meet in southern Iraq, has two main causes: dam building upstream, and drainage schemes.

The report says: "The Tigris and the Euphrates are amongst the most intensively dammed rivers in the world. "In the past 40 years they have been fragmented by the construction of more than 30 large dams, whose storage capacity is several times greater than the volume of both rivers.  "The immediate cause of marshland dewatering, however, has been the massive drainage works implemented in southern Iraq in the early 1990s, following the second Gulf war.

"Recent satellite images provide hard evidence that the once-extensive marshlands have dried up and regressed into desert, with vast stretches covered by crusts of salt." The report says about a fifth of the estimated half-million Marsh Arabs are now living in refugee camps in Iran, with the rest displaced in Iraq. Cultural threat  Describing the Marsh Arabs as "a distinct indigenous people", Unep says: "A 5,000-year-old culture, heir to the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians, is in serious jeopardy of coming to an abrupt end."

The report says the destruction of the marshes is having devastating effects on wildlife, "with significant implications to global biodiversity from Siberia to southern Africa". It says: "Mammals and fish that existed only in the marshlands are now considered extinct. Coastal fisheries in the northern Gulf, dependent on the marshlands for spawning grounds, have also experienced a sharp decline."  One otter sub-species and the bandicoot rat are believed to have become globally extinct.

But Unep has not abandoned all hope. The author of the report, Hassan Partow, told BBC News Online: "The situation is obviously bleak, but there are examples around the world of marshlands that have been revived.  "It's happened in Cameroon and the US, for instance. The immediate need is to conserve what's left on the Iraq-Iran border, and then to reconsider the engineering works, especially those built as flood defences in the 1950s.  "They're now largely redundant, and that opens up the possibility of reflooding the marshes.  "All the same, it's easy to destroy and much harder to create. And the marshes represent thousands of years of evolution."

Jerome Le Roy is director of the Amar Foundation, a humanitarian agency working with the Marsh Arabs. He told BBC News Online: "The main responsibility for what's happened lies with the Iraqi Government.  "We know it's technically possible to reverse the situation. But you also need goodwill downstream, to stop building dikes and damming the marshes. And we have recent evidence that the Iraqis are still continuing the destruction."


Tigris-Euphrates Alluvial Salt Marsh:  A Fragile Ecoregion
by the World Wildlife Fund, 2001


Satellite view of the alluvial marsh at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, on the border of Iraq and Iran               

(Photograph by USGS)




Flooded Grasslands and Savannas13,700 square miles (35,600 square kilometers) -- about twice the size of New Jersey

Living in the Marshes

In this cradle of civilization, shallow freshwater lakes, swamps, and marshes are surrounded by desert. This is one of the most important wintering areas for migratory birds in Eurasia.

Special FeaturesSpecial Features

At the northern end of the Persian Gulf is the vast floodplain of the Euphrates, Tigris, and Karun Rivers. It includes huge permanent lakes, marshes, and ahrash forest of poplar and cedar species growing on the banks and islands of these mighty riverways. The aquatic vegetation of this ecoregion includes reeds, rushes, and papyrus, which support large numbers of water-loving species. Water birds stop here while migrating, and some even spend the winter in these marshes living off the lizards, snakes, frogs, and fish. Water buffalo, two endemic rodent species, and several other mammals also call these marshes home. In the 1980s this ecoregion was put in grave danger as the Iran-Iraq War raged within its boundaries.

The Asiatic water buffalo is mainly a grazing animal, eating mornings and evenings and lying in dense cover or submerged in wallows during the heat of the day. Females and young buffaloes usually hang out in small groups, often with a single adult male, but an older female leads them.

Wild Side

A scientific survey of the ecoregion revealed that more than 79 species of waterfowl, including pelicans, flamingoes, and ducks, use this ecoregion as their principal wintering area. This area may support more than two-thirds of the wintering waterfowl in the Middle East. Wild Asian water buffaloes still roam the marshes of the ecoregion as well. These animals are the ancestors of domesticated water buffalo and are associated with wet grassland, swamp, and heavily vegetated river valley habitats. Unique to these wetlands are two species of mammals: Bunn's short-tailed bandicoot rat and the Mesopotamian gerbil. Other mammals found in the ecoregion include wolves, common otters, and a subspecies of smooth-coated otter. However, these species are shy, so only a very patient observer will catch a glimpse.

Cause for Concern

Large-scale water diversion projects are rapidly degrading the Tigris-Euphrates marsh ecosystem. Changing the rivers flow with canals, dikes, and dams has cut off the water flow to extensive marsh areas, causing them to dry up. In addition, drainage canals flush salt from irrigated lands into the wetland system, increasing salt levels in the area. Regional conflicts and increased human settlement have also greatly increased pollution of the wetlands. All of these factors contribute to habitat loss and degradation. Unfortunately these marshes currently have no form of legal protection.


A fragile ecoregion--
the vast alleuvial marshland
at the confluence of the
Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
The Tigris River . . .
Make a cup of your hands, cradle its fragile body of water, and let its tributaries flow through you fingers. You are cradling the cradle of civilization.

And if you were to travel far from here, across oceans, you might come upon another gift of the Great Glacier, an alleuvial marshland sculpted eons ago. 
This vast alleuvial marshland lies at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and is the Glacier's gift to the birds--pelicans, egrets, flamingos-- the greatest fly-over for all Eurasia. This place also has been the home of the Marsh Arabs for 3,000 years.  It is where to go for collecting papyrus reeds to build yourself a sailing vessel, sound and seaworthy.   

This gift of the Glacier, this life-sustaining  marshland, was damaged by the Gulf War, and its waters have been drained and bled by Saddam Hussein for a decade. The impending war, with its heartless bombs, depleted uranium, and killing spills of chemicals and oil , threaten the marshland's lifeblood, its waters,  to extinction.  This poet expresses her despair in the poem "Great Glacier -- Monumental Sculptor" on the page,

Poems Against War


Marsh Arabs

TED Case Studies, American University, Trade & Environment Database, The Mandala Projects

CASE NUMBER:        189
        CASE NAME:          Marsh Arabs and Water Loss


far left:  A Marsh Arab today
near left: His Sumerian ancestor 3,000 years ago

1.         The Issue

     Since the Gulf War, various news reports, essays, and
critiques have been published concerning the physical devastation
brought about by coalition force bombing attacks.  No doubt, the
ruinous aftermath remains a very important environmental, economic,
and cultural concern.  One of the more important internal problems,
however, has been quietly unfolding over the past four years.  It
involves an attempt, by the Iraqi Government, to force the Ma'dan
people (roughly 500,000 of them), the so-called 'Marsh Arabs,' out
of their southern wetland settlements by literally "draining life
from Iraq's marshes."  Reaching beyond the social and political
ramifications, the permanent environmental and economic damage
caused by this policy may be irreversible.  By diverting the water
flow of one of the most famous and important river systems in the
world (the Tigris/Euphrates), the Iraqi leaders appear to be
tampering with not only their environment but with their historical
legacy, as well.
2.         Description
     The idea of draining the marshlands of southern Iraq is not a
new concept, and certainly not the first time the Tigris-Euphrates
river system has been harnessed for man's use.  The delta/marsh
area "was probably the first region of the world where humans
gained mastery over major rivers.  Irrigation and flood protection
were vital to the farmers who fed the inhabitants of the world's
first known cities, built in Mesopotamia more than 5,000 years
ago."  The marshlands region was part of this development.
     Over the years, as technology improved, dams were built to
harness water and energy for irrigation and electricity.  Within
Iraq, there are at least four dams on the Euphrates and three major
dams on the Tigris, which are contributing heavily to a water
shortage in the area.
     The first major marsh-draining scheme was proposed in the 1951
Haigh Report, "Control of the Rivers of Iraq," drafted by British
engineers working for the Iraqi government.  "The report describes
an array of sluices, embankments and canals on the lower reaches of
the Tigris and Euphrates that would be needed to 'reclaim' the
marshes."  The study's senior engineer, Frank Haigh, felt that the
standing marsh water was being wasted, so he "proposed
concentrating the flow of the Tigris [River] into a few embanked
channels that would not overflow into the marshes.  He proposed one
large canal through the main `Amara marsh."  In this way, Iraq
would be able to "capture the marsh water for irrigation" purposes
to aid in feeding the newly created State of Iraq.
     Construction of the large canal, called the Third River, began
in 1953.  Further construction took place in the 1960's.  It was
not until the 1980's, however, during the Iran-Iraq War, that major
work was resumed.  Today, many of the water projects in the marsh
area bear a striking resemblance to the Haigh Plan -- the only
problem is that the projects are not being used for agricultural
     Various international organizations such as the U.N. Human
Rights Commission, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in
Iraq (SCIRI), the International Wildfowl and Wetlands Research
Bureau, and Middle East Watch have been monitoring the Iraqi
situation.  All have found evidence to indicate that the Iraqi
Government has been attempting to force the Ma'dan people from
their homes through water diversion tactics copied from the Haigh
Report.  Iraq's majority Sunni government is attempting to weaken
the Ma'dan because they are Shiite Muslims, maintaining religious
links with Iran's Shiite leadership.  They have also been accused
by the government of harboring refugees from oppression in
     Since the end of the Gulf War, the above-mentioned
organizations have uncovered the following intelligence:  1) By
1993, the Iraqi Government was able to prevent water from reaching
two-thirds of the marshlands.  2) The flow of the Euphrates River
has almost been entirely diverted to the Third River Canal,
bypassing most of the marshes.  3) The flow of the Tigris River has
been channeled into tributary rivers (with artificially high
banks), prohibiting the tributary water from seeping into the
     As a result, the environmental effects are thought to be
"irreversible with disastrous ecological, social and human
consequences for the region."  The sparse water remaining has
contributed to the salinization of the land.  "Over-irrigation and
poor drainage compound the problem:  as the stagnant water
evaporates, it leaves behind a crust of salt."   The future for
wildlife in the region looks bleak, as well.  The marshes are home
to fish and migratory birds from western Eurasia such as pelicans,
herons and flamingos.  Without fresh water, the ecosystem will
easily become damaged.
     In economic terms, the effects are just as severe.  The
marshlands region, is home to various crops, trees and livestock.
The staple crops of the region are rice and millet.  Date palms
from the area have played an important part in Iraqi exports as
well as the weaved reed mats and harvested cereals from the Ma'dan
people.  The marshes are also home to cows, oxen, and water
buffalo.  The recent scarcity of water in the marshlands has
contributed to transport problems, which has all but put a stop to
economic movement in the region.  "Instead of moving...goods by
boat the Ma'dan are often having to struggle through hip-deep mud
on addition, hundreds of thousands of inhabitants have
fled their areas.  If this process continues, Saddam Hussein will
become responsible for destroying not only the environment and
culture, but one of the oldest and most important links with Iraq's
past -- the people of the marshlands.
3.         Related Cases

     ISRAELH2 Case
     ATATURK Case
     ARAL Case

     Keyword Clusters
     (1): Bio-geography               = LAND, RIVER, DELTA
     (2): Environmental Problem       = HABITat loss, BIODIV
     (3): Trade Problem               = FOODs
4.         Draft Author:  Robert D. Cohen
B.         LEGAL Clusters
5.         Discourse and Status:  INPROGress
     The U.N. has been attempting to monitor the situation in the
southern marshes of Iraq.  The one piece of legislation applying to
the marshlands situation is U.N. Resolution 688, passed April 6,
1991.  "This resolution calls on the Iraqi government to provide
free access to United Nations and non-governmental humanitarian
agencies to all parts of the marshes so that essential humanitarian
assistance can be provided."  In January 1995, the European
Parliament (EP) also passed a resolution "characterizing the
[M]arsh Arabs as a persecuted minority 'whose very survival is
threatened by the Iraqi Government.'  The EP resolution described
the Government's treatment of the marsh inhabitants as
'genocide'."  In March 1995, the European Parliament adopted
another resolution deploring the continuing attacks on Marsh Arabs.
Furthermore, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, in March 1995,
passed a resolution calling for an end to military operations and
efforts to drain the swamplands. 
6.         Forum and Scope:  (OPEN) and REGION
     Since all of the environmental and economic damage to the
marshlands is yet to be seen, there has not been any formal legal
case brought before a forum at this time.  The United Nations,
however, appears to be the likely forum for legislative activity.
7.       Decision Breadth:  N/A
     If and when a law is passed, the decision breadth will
probably come from a multi-national organization, such as the U.N.
It is also possible that unilateral action will be taken against
Iraq's marshlands policy.  The United States has already (through
U.N. auspices) enforced a "no-fly" zone in the south in an attempt
to crack Iraq's inhumane activities.
8.         Legal Standing:  N/A
     As of this writing, no other legal proceedings have been found
that reveal any treaty or legislation aimed at curbing the
environmental or economic degradation of the Iraqi marshlands.  The
Iraqi government has not declared the lands as part of the RAMSAR
CONVENTION, "the international treaty that protects wetlands."
C.        GEOGRAPHIC Clusters
9.         Geographic Locations
     a.    Geographic Domain : MIDEAST
     b.    Geographic Site   : SMID
     c.    Geographic Impact : IRAQ
     The worst destruction is located in the southeast sector of
Iraq, between the cities of Amara, Nassiriyah, and Basra (in the
land of ancient Mesopotamia).  The `Amara Marsh, near the
confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, is home to the
Ma'dan people.  The `Amara Marsh has been most affected by the
drainage scheme.
     Another geographical concern involves water shortage.  The
Middle East continually suffers from drought and water amounts are
always near critical levels.  "The region's accelerating
population, expanding agriculture, industrialization, and higher
living standards demand more fresh water."  Dam-building is
adding to the problem.  For example, Turkey just recently completed
building the Ataturk Dam [1993] on the Euphrates River.  This dam
is now capable of harnessing river water for irrigation and power
purposes.  Since 90 percent of the water for the Euphrates
originates in Turkey, any amount kept by Turkey will decrease
waterflows to other nations downstream (i.e., Syria and Iraq).
This is another reason why the Iraqi marshlands have been drying-
     There is no "legally binding obligation" to prohibit Turkey
from taking the river water.  Neighboring countries suffering
shortages can press for fair treatment by claiming "historical
rights of use", but this usually comes to no avail.  In the area,
Turkey, Syria, and Iraq have set up a "technical committee" to
share hydrological information, but it has made "no real
10.        Sub-National Factors:  YES
     Since the Iraqi Government is attempting to exterminate a
minority within its own borders, this issue can be defined as Sub-
National.  Most of the environmental and trade effects are Sub-
National, as well.
       People have been living in the area of the southern marshes
for thousands of years.  The ancestors of the Ma'dan (currently the
largest group of marsh dwellers, numbering around 500,000) were
"partly descendants of the Sumerians and Babylonians, although
their numbers have been augmented by immigrations and
intermarriages with the Persians on the east and the bedouins on
the west."  Before the marsh drainage, the lifestyle of the
Ma'dan centered around agriculture, particularly cultivating rice
and dates, weaving reed mats, raising water buffalo, and fishing.
A form of local commerce had developed involving mostly local
trade, supported by the use of small boats for transportation.
     Since the Ma'dan are Shiite Muslims (sympathizing with the
majority leadership in neighboring Iran), and the Iraqi Government
is made up of Sunni Muslims, tensions have been steadily on the
rise.  After the Gulf War ended in 1991, the southern Shiites, at
the urging of the coalition forces, started an uprising against
Saddam Hussein's government.  The uprising was immediately crushed
by Iraqi forces and the systematic drying of the land began due to
the fact that many Shiites who took part in the uprising fled to
hide in the marshlands!  Hence, the Ma'dan have been "flushed-
out" along with the rebels, "mercilessly", as part of the
government's revenge scheme.
11.        Type of Habitat:  DRY (delta area near Persian Gulf)


In 1977, Thor Heyerdahl sailed his boat
made of papyrus reeds
down the Tigris River.

D.         TRADE Clusters
12.        Type of Measure:  None
     United Nations trade sanctions have been placed on Iraq due to
its human rights violations, but no environmental or trade
restrictions have been passed to curtail its waterflow policies.
Perhaps, if the policy continues to drain the marshlands,
neighboring countries will begin to protest (i.e., Iran, Kuwait).
13.        Direct vs. Indirect Impacts:  DIRect
14.        Relation of Measure to Environment Impact
     a.  Directly Related           : NO
     b.  Indirectly Related         : YES  AGRICulture
     c.  Not Related                : NO
     d.  Process Related            : YES  HABITat loss
     Though there is no legislation dealing with the marshlands
environment, one can easily see how the relations might be drawn.
15.        Trade Product Identification:  FOOD, NOTH
     Crops involved are:  paddy rice and great millet.  Other
Products/items from the marsh area used in trade are:  grain
cereals, dates, fish and woven reed mats form the Ma'dan people.
Most of the trade has been internal (within Iraq), supporting the
Ma'dan people.  With the loss of valuable water, however, this
way of life is quickly coming to an end.  The water-based rural
economy of the Marsh Arabs is being exterminated.
16.        Economic Data
     Most of the damage is environmental in nature.  Water,
nevertheless, is becoming a highly valued commodity and its
unbridled drainage will certainly cause future problems.  Trade
sanctions (on oil) imposed by the United States, under UN auspices,
have hurt Iraq ever since the Kuwait invasion. The Iraqi
Government's continuing drainage scheme will only serve to prolong
the sanctions' enforcement.
17.        Impact of Measure on Trade Competitiveness:  N/A
     The impact of U.N. sanctions has already reduced Iraq's trade
competitiveness considerably.  For example, "before the imposition
of the oil embargo in August 1990, Iraq imported food and medical
products worth $3-4 billion a year.  The revenue available today
for those types of imports, including those arriving as contraband
from Jordan, Turkey, and Iran, does not exceed a billion
dollars."  More sanctions or legal actions could cripple Iraq
even further.
18.        Industry Sector:  CRAFT
     For hundreds of years, the Ma'dan have cut river reeds and
used them to produce mats, fences, and homes.  Reed has also been
used to make beds, cots, baskets and canoe poles.  Crafting reed
products has helped sustain the Ma'dan and has given them the
opportunity to barter with people from the surrounding countryside.
As the marshes are drained, and the Ma'dan are forced to flee their
homeland, this important part of their culture will disappear.
19.        Exporter and Importer:  N/A
     Besides products like dates and rice, the southern marsh
dwellers do not produce many items for export.  Most Ma'dan trade
has taken place within Iraq's borders.
20.        Environment Problem Type:  HABITat loss
     Due to the marsh draining, there is a large bio-diversity
problem.  FISH, BIRDS, and HUMANS are being displaced.  CROPS are
also being destroyed, as well as the LAND and the marshes
themselves.  The salinization of the land is polluting formerly
good agricultural areas, such as the land surrounding the `Amara
21.        Name, Type, and Diversity of Species
           Name:           FISH, BIRDS, HUMANS
           Type:           Animal
     This case can also be described as a Bio-diversity problem.
22.        Impact and Effect:  HIGH and STRCT
     The case has caused HIGH and immediate impact upon the
marshlands.  The LAND has suffered many of the effects and will
continue to do so as long as the ecosystem continues to
deteriorate.  The Ma'dan people are suffering HIGH impacts, as
23.        Urgency and Lifetime:  HIGH and 50 years
     If the marshes continue to be drained at the current rate,
they will probably become non-existent in another 50 years.
24.        Substitutes:  RECYC
F.         OTHER Factors
25.        Culture:  YES
     A way of culture is being snuffed out.  The Ma'dan are being
forced to leave their homeland and a link to the ancient past is
disappearing quickly.
26.        Trans-Border:  NO
     As of this writing, there has been no major outcry from
neighboring Iran about the marsh-draining or human displacement,
though the marshlands do border Iran.  However, about 650,000 Iraqi
refugees have crossed over the Iraqi border to Iran to escape Iraqi
military operations directed against them.
27.        Rights:  YES
     As mentioned above, the U.N. Human Rights Commission and
Middle East Watch have been monitoring the situation.
28.        Gender:  NO
29.        Geo-Politics:  YES
     Iraq has been accused of following through with its marsh-
draining project for military and political purposes -- not for
agricultural purposes, as the official line insists.  An official
Iraqi document in the possession of an Iraqi engineer who was
captured by resistance forces in the area, provides details about
what is transpiring in the marsh area:  "It contained instructions
to 'withdraw all foodstuffs, ban the sale of fish and prohibit
transport to and from the areas.' Mass arrests, assassinations,
poisoning the water and burning villages were also ordered by the
Iraqi regime."  Agriculture has nothing to do with what is
actually transpiring.
30.        Relevant Literature
Hazelton, Fran, ed. Iraq Since the Gulf War:  Prospects for
     Democracy (London:  Zed Books, Ltd., 1994).
Salim, S. M. Marsh Dwellers of the Euphrates Delta (London:  The
     Athlone Press, 1962).
Gleick, Peter H., Haleh Hatami, Peter Yolles.  "Water, War, and
     Peace in the Middle East:  Conflict Over Water Rights."
     Environment 36/3 (April, 1994).
Pearce, Fred.  "Draining Life From Iraq's Marshes."  New
     Scientist 138/1869 (April 17, 1993).
Rouleau, Eric.  "America's Unyielding Policy Toward Iraq."
     Foreign Affairs 74/1 (January/February 1995).
Vesilind, Priit J.  "The Middle East's Water:  Critical
     Resource."  National Geographic 183/5 (May, 1993).
"Iraq:  Down but not out."  The Economist 335/7909 (April 8, 1995).
Deutsche Press-Agentur (March 8, 1995).
Reuter EC Report (March 20, 1995).
U.S. Department of State Dispatch, March, 1995.


Women washing their clothes in the Tigris River


Anti-war march: what the speakers said

by Staff of the Guardian and agencies
Saturday February 15, 2003

Jesse Jackson

The Rev Jesse Jackson insisted that it is "not too late to stop this war" and urged protesters to "march until there is peace and reconciliation".

"War should be necessary as a last resort, and not pre-emptive, and it should have moral authority," he said.

"Today, we can stop this war. It's cold outside, but our hearts are warm. All of you together are generating some serious street heat.

"George Bush can feel it, Tony Blair can feel it: turn up the heat."

He attacked the Bush administration, saying: "America is a great nation: better than the vision of our leadership," and urged Mr Blair to "listen to the voices of the British people". Ken Livingstone

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, launched a scathing attack on the US president, George Bush, during his address to crowds in London's Hyde Park.

"This is a president who uses the death penalty with complete abandon and disregard for any respect for life. This is no example," Mr Livingstone said.

"So let everyone recognise what has happened here today: that Britain does not support this war for oil. The British people will not tolerate being used to prop up the most corrupt and racist American administration in over 80 years.

"If you listened to Tony Blair today ... he talked about giving more time to the inspectors, he talked about the need for a new UN resolution, and there's the weakness.

"There are nations on the security council that are for sale. Nations who will be offered the liquidation of their debts and offered major grants. Let's watch the security council like hawks.

"Let's not, having won the moral case and demonstrated the opposition of the world, lose this fight because of corruption and vote-buying on the security council." Tony Benn

Labour MP Tony Benn said that anti-war protesters had "formed a new political movement" which would last beyond the Iraq crisis.

"It's to stop a war in Iraq but it must be about other matters as well," he said.

"It must be about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It must be about democracy in the Middle East - there is no democracy in Saudi Arabia or Iraq - and about some democracy in Britain as well, and letting parliament decide. "We are starting something really big, and our first task is peace in Iraq: but we must not stop until we have achieved the objectives which have brought us to Hyde Park this afternoon." Charles Kennedy

The Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, told the crowd that he was "not persuaded" by the case for war in Iraq.

"The arguments have been contradictory and inconsistent," Mr Kennedy said. "The information has all too often been misleading as well as inconclusive. It's no wonder people are scared and concerned.

"Given the evidence we heard yesterday in New York from Dr Blix, there can be, as we stand, no just or moral case for war against Iraq.

"If we reach the stage, at some point in the future, where British troops are asked to enter some form of military conflict, that's got to be achieved in a democratic way.

"The House of Commons should be given the right it so far has been denied: the right of a vote on whether it believes our forces should be sent into battle.

He called on the prime minister to recall the commons when it is in recess next week and "make a full statement", and branded the Iraq crisis "the riskiest moment for Britain since Suez". Mo Mowlam

Former Labour minister Mo Mowlam told the crowd that Mr Blair and the government had themselves in "a right corner" over Iraq.

"Things can only get better if we stick together," she added. "Keep it peaceful. Because being peaceful, people will have no excuse not to listen.

"There is a position now ... that if a country has a lot of people killed from poverty and military dictatorship, if that number is smaller than that killed by war then the war is OK. That, to me, is totally illogical." Harold Pinter

The playwright Harold Pinter described the US as "a country run by a bunch of criminals ... with Tony Blair as a hired Christian thug".

"The planned attack on Iraq is a pre-meditated attack of mass murder," he added. "Resistance is embodied today in this massive gathering, and the word I want to direct to Tony Blair is resign, resign, resign." Bianca Jagger

Bianca Jagger accused the prime minister of "listening to President Bush rather than the voices of the British people".

"We want to live in a world where peace, democracy and security are enshrined in the UN charter," she added.

"I would like to see democracy in Iraq, but not by carpet bombing Iraq and killing innocent civilians."

Voices from the march:
A teacher, marketing manager and Greenham Common veteran speak

Sarah Left, Gwladys Fouché and Sally Bolton
Saturday February 15, 2003

Jenny Brealey, 53, a teacher from Whitstable, Kent

We must do everything we absolutely can to stop the war. I've come here today with a conviction that we must stop the war. I've given up thinking that Tony Blair will listen to anyone. So while I hope there won't be a war I feel there will be. The atmosphere here is fantastic. Michael Johnson, a marketing manager from London

I marching today with my family because I don't think the case has been made for war against Iraq. I think the evidence is inconclusive - the whole thing started with September 11 and Osama bin Laden and now we're going into Iraq. I don't think the two things are linked.

I think the case was better made for the war in Afghanistan. That was a kneejerk reaction and they just went in because they were looking for Osama bin Laden and that could have been justified by the atrocity in New York, I just don't the case has been made for an attack on Iraq. And if there is one where is it going to stop - we've heard that North Korea have got nuclear weapons, or are going to develop weapons, so does that mean we are going to go in their next.

I hope marching today makes a difference but I'm not optimistic. The show of strength today has shown the outrage of the British people. Mary Boardman, 53, from Hereford

We left at half past eight in five coaches, which is five times more coaches than there has been for any other protest I've been on. I'm part of three generations protesting today - my mother is 86 and on a small demo in Hereford, she's too old to join this march, and my nine-year-old daughter is here with me.

People feel that bombing Iraq would be a very unjust act and they are worried it might escalate into a full-scale world war with Muslim countries getting involved on Iraq's side. They feel that although we are not in anyway wanting to support Saddam Hussein and his regime that actually his regime got there by being sold arms by the Americans and the British. He wouldn't have got into power had they not supported him because it suited them at the time. We think it's all about oil and resources and America not wanting to compromise its very rich lifestyle.

I was at Greenham Common - and it's very jolly here, very similar in lots of ways except there weren't men at Greenham, at least not in the numbers you've got here. It tended to be less noisy but just as joyful. Of course we didn't have mobile phone then - it would have been different if we had. We'd have been able to tell each other what was happening around the base.

Protests across the world: Europe and Africa

John Hooper in Berlin, Sophie Arie in Rome, Rory Carroll in Johannesburg, and agencies

Saturday February 15, 2003


Three members of chancellor Gerhard Schröder's centre-left cabinet defied his express wishes to join an anti-war march through Berlin.

Fears were expressed that their participation could further inflame the continuing row between Germany and the US over policy on Iraq.

Church bells throughout Berlin rang out at midday as two vast processions set off from different parts of the city.

They were due to converge at the 19th century Siegessäule, or victory column, a symbol of the militarism which twice led Germany to disaster in the century that followed. "Old Europe knows about war", said one placard. "1939-45 - all forgotten?", read another.

The NTV television news station said that around 500 buses had been used to bring protesters into the city from all over Germany. Police said up to 500,000 people attended the rally.

The cabinet members taking part in the demonstration were Hiedemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, the overseas development minister, from chancellor Schröder's own Social Democratic Party, and Jürgen Trittin and Renate Künast, the environment and agriculture ministers of the Green party.

The speaker of the lower house, Wolgang Thierse, another leader SPD member, was also among the marchers.

The general secretary of the opposition Christian Democrats, Laurenz Mayer, said that it was "offensive" for ministers to be taking part in "an anti-American demonstration".

Mr Mayer added that it would revive memories in the US of last year's general election campaign, during which a then member of the cabinet outraged the White House by comparing President Bush's tactics on Iraq with those of Adolf Hitler.

A government spokesman said: "In the end, it is for each minister to decide for him or herself whether to respect the chancellor's request." Rome

Organisers claimed that more than one million marchers, including union leaders, left-wing opposition politicians, intellectuals and anti-vivisection campaigners, converged on the Italian capital to call for peace.

As people swarmed peacefully, wrapped in flags and chanting peace songs around Rome's ancient monuments, helicopters circled above and almost 2,000 police watched discreetly from the sidelines, with riot gear to the ready.

The center-right Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has declared the country to be a key US ally, despite overwhelming public opposition to a war.

The march was heavily politicized, as opposition politicians took the opportunity to rally support for the country's fragmented left against Berlusconi.

RAI, the state television station, chose not to broadcast the event live, arguing that it would put "undue pressure on politicians".

However, the majority of marchers were ordinary Italians, 85% of whom, according to recent polls, do not support a war to disarm Iraq.

Crowds opposed to war in Iraq thronged South Africa's major cities on Saturday, as peaceful protests united diverse racial and political groups. Johannesburg

White housewives, black communists and Muslim students, among others, marched through Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein, chanting slogans and brandishing placards with slogans including "By George, Bush is Just an Empty Warhead", "Blix, Start Searching Israel" and "US, UK, Israel - axis of hypocrisy".

Trade unions, churches and political parties, including the ruling African National Congress, were represented. Yet, despite South Africa's near-consensus opposition to war, the combined number of marchers was less than 20,000.

Police reported no violence, and shoppers and tourists mingled with the protesters. A small minority wore Osama bin Laden t-shirts, and one man in Durban, dressed as a suicide bomber, promised to defend Iraq with his life. Kiev

Braving biting cold and snow flurries in the Ukraine, around 2,000 people rallied in Kiev's central square.

Anti-globalists led a peaceful Rock Against War protest, joined by communists, socialists, Kurds and pacifists. Natalya Mostenko, 45, was one of several people in Kiev carrying a portrait of Saddam Hussein. "He opposes American dictatorship, and so do I," she said. Mostar

Around 100 Muslims and Croats united against the prospect of war, the first such cross-community action in seven years.

Ethnic divisions in the city, 45 miles south-west of Sarajevo, remain tense, despite the 1995 peace agreement which ended the Bosnian war. "We want to say that war is evil, and we who survived one know that better than anyone," said Majda Hadzic, aged 54. Athens

Several thousand protesters unfurled a giant banner across the wall of the ancient Acropolis, saying "NATO, US and EU equals War", before heading towards the US embassy. Clashes erupted after anarchists wearing hoods and crash helmets broke away from an otherwise peaceful march.

The great unheard finally speak out

Mary Riddell reports on the march that changed apathy into action for a cause which could crush a Prime Minister

Sunday February 16, 2003
The Observer

The age of apathy stops here, between a Thomas Cook branch and the Bloomsbury Diner, where the bodies are jammed together too tightly to move. In the minutes before the march begins, anyone will tell you why protest has supplanted politics.

Some of these twenty-first century Chartists with mobile phones are veterans of the Vietnam demonstrations. Some are too young to remember the Cold War. What unites them is anger against Bush and Blair, but mainly Blair. Everyone I talk to says that he will not have their vote again.

It is odd to think that these are the sloths who could not be prised from their armchairs when elections rolled round and who hit the remote at the first flicker of any BBC political coverage that wasn't Have I Got News For You.

These people, in New Labour's analysis, were the inert of the Earth. And here they are, out in their hundreds of thousands, quoting Hans Blix verbatim and defying a Prime Minister who longed to galvanise them and must now regret becoming the Frankenstein of the protesting classes.

Political leaders hate crowds. Mass meetings have been supplanted by leaks and soundbites. In the fractious build-up to war, lonely societies are encouraged to become more solipsistic. A fearful population, hiding behind its anthrax-proofed windows, is also tractable. There is nothing threatening to government about citizens bickering over the last roll of duct tape in Wal-Mart.

British marchers have spurned isolation for solidarity, and fear for fury. Their momentum came almost from nowhere. Unlike the Jubilee-trippers, the Soham mobsters and even the Countryside Alliance, they bore no social or political barcode.

Theirs was, and is, a movement without a leader. Its members belong to no obvious political caste. Labour voters who march are deracinated from their leaders, and the Tories have none worth worrying about.

Their mission, to halt the war, is by definition negative, and their goal unattainable, bar a miracle. Those hoping to recalibrate the Prime Minister's moral compass face disappointment, or even despair. Few predicted weeks ago that so many people would turn out to stop the unstoppable, and I was certainly not among them.

The surprise has been the altruism of the protesters, and the size of the vacuum they fill. Blair's natural supporters and opponents have registered their opposition, and seen it spurned. As they get more strident, he digs harder. The hole in democracy grows more cavernous by the day.

The marchers all felt that; the men in deerstalkers and Barbours, the pro-protesters in neon knitwear, the students and the grandmas whose families had persuaded them to take along brand-new Nokia mobile phones they couldn't work. Who will record their assembly when all of this is over?

History, perhaps. The War Remnants Museum in Saigon displays yellowed newspaper reports of Western protests against the Vietnam War. Next door, housed in hot sheds, are the napalmed babies and photographs of burnt children. The juxtaposition of press clippings and grim artefacts offers a memento mori. This is what happens when people are right and governments mistaken.

Today's protesters are starved of inspiration and data. In place of a charismatic leader, they have the belief that politicians are lying. They have no great freedom fighter to support; only Saddam. You could not sell washing powder on that basis, let alone a pacifist cause that may crush a Prime Minister.

Yet the movement has taken off and its subscribers, on yesterday's evidence, are not a reissued set of hoary peaceniks. These are organised people with clear aims. They want a peaceful solution for Iraq. If that is not forthcoming, Blair will be punished accordingly.

They may be wrong. He may be right. But in a war predicated on conviction and conscience, the hunches of the nation also count. As Martin Luther King said, countries should repent citizens' evil deeds almost less than 'the appalling silence of the good'.

The unheard have spoken out.


Man arrested at Crossgates for wearing peace T-shirt

Shopper charged after refusing to take off shirt that mall store made for him, bearing slogans "Peace on Earth" and "Give Peace a Chance"

By CAROL DeMARE, Staff writer  of the Albany Times Union
First published: Wednesday, March 5, 2003

GUILDERLAND -- An attorney for the state was arrested and hauled into court after refusing to take off a T-shirt that said "Give Peace a Chance" while shopping at Crossgates Mall.

Stephen Downs
Stephen Downs of Selkirk displays the T-shirts he and his son were wearing at Crossgates Mall on Monday.

This is at least the second time in recent months that mall security asked people wearing T-shirts with peace slogans to leave.

Steve Downs, 60, of Selkirk, said he was minding his own business Monday when he refused to remove the shirt and was charged with trespass.

"My point was I'm not trying to convert anybody," Downs said Tuesday. "This was a statement of where I was in my life."

He had purchased the shirt in a shop in the mall shortly before the arrest. The store put on the lettering while he waited: "Peace on Earth" on the front and "Give Peace a Chance" on the back.

His son, Roger Downs, 31, of New Baltimore, an ecologist, also bought a shirt. It read "No War With Iraq" and "Let Inspections Work."

"When they asked me to take it off, I took it off," Roger said. "I think it was ridiculous. I guess the way we see this is we feel the mall has a right to control assembly, not want large protests or large special interest groups or rallies. We were just individuals with T-shirts on, and we were shopping. We weren't talking to people or handing out leaflets."

Numerous calls to Crossgates Marketing Director Sarah Nieves regarding mall policy were not returned.

Heidi Siegfried, interim executive director of the Capital Region chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said, "We have the position that the public space in the mall should be a First Amendment protected activity. Even when they have the right to control and prohibit ... someone shouldn't be removed when doing activity consistent with the normal uses of the mall."

On Dec. 21, about two dozen anti-war protesters wearing pro-peace T-shirts and carrying signs were asked to leave Crossgates. The group complied.

The incident with the father and son occurred shortly after 7 p.m. in the food court. They said they were asked by two security guards to take off their T-shirts, leave or be arrested.

"I don't think we have to take off the T-shirts," said Steve Downs, chief attorney in the Albany office of the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

The guards returned with a Guilderland police officer and, "It was the same routine all over again," the father said. "I said 'OK, arrest me.' "

The cop talked to him for an hour after he was handcuffed, Downs said, trying to get him to drop the whole thing and take the shirt off.

"I didn't want to do that," Downs said. "They were just doing their duty. They were trying to be very peaceful. They didn't want any confrontation."

He was repeatedly told the mall was private property and what he was wearing was unacceptable, the same as if he went to someone's home wearing something unacceptable.

"I said it's not the same thing, it's not a good analogy," said Steve Downs, who insisted he wasn't protesting or demonstrating by wearing the shirt.

Guilderland Town Justice Kenneth Riddett released Downs on his own recognizance and set a return date of March 17. Trespass, a violation, carries a maximum of 15 days in jail. A fine or conditional discharge with community service is more commonly given.


CNN misleads us into thinking that this was the t-shirt and headlined the story as 'Peace' T-shirt gets man arrested' . . .CNN is actively engaged in a concerted effort at  pro-war propaganda and disinformation . . . they characterized this story with a heading of "weird news"

Wednesday, March 5, 2003 Posted: 11:18 AM EST (1618 GMT)

(Reuters) -- A lawyer was arrested late Monday and charged with trespassing at a public mall in the state of  New York after refusing to take off a T-shirt advocating peace that he had just purchased at the mall.


According to the criminal complaint filed Monday, Stephen Downs was wearing a T-shirt bearing the words "Give Peace A Chance" that he had just purchased from a vendor inside the Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, New York, near Albany.

"I was in the food court with my son when I was confronted by two security guards and ordered to either take off the T-shirt or leave the mall," said Downs.

When Downs refused the security officers' orders, police from the town of Guilderland were called and he was arrested and taken away in handcuffs, charged with trespassing "in that he knowingly enter[ed] or remain[ed] unlawfully upon premises," the complaint read.

Downs said police tried to convince him he was wrong in his actions by refusing to remove the T-shirt because the mall "was like a private house and that I was acting poorly.

Calls to the Guilderland police and district attorney, Anthony Cardona and to officials at the mall were not returned for comment. Downs is due back in court for a hearing on March 17 and he could face up to a year in prison if convicted.



Students protest Bush administration's march toward war with Iraq

By Associated Press, 3/5/2003 18:19

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) They walked out of classes and packed student centers or town commons. With signs, angry words and shouts for peace, thousands of college, high school and middle school students around the state rallied to protest the Bush administration's march toward war with Iraq.

The rallies were part of a ''Books not Bombs'' student strike coordinated by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, an organization formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Tens of thousands of students at more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide had pledged to join the protests. Thousands of students also rallied for peace in Britain, Sweden, Spain, Australia and other countries.

At the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, more than 1,000 students from campus and the town's high school and middle school packed into the Student Union Ballroom.

''We portray ourselves as heroes fighting off the bad guys,'' said Hilary Wilcox, a 17-year-old Amherst Regional High School junior. ''We close our eyes to the truth of what's going on. This apathy is our greatest enemy because it allows our government free rein.''

One student in the crowd waved an American flag. Others waved signs reading, ''Drop Bush, not Bombs'' and ''No Blood for Oil.''

''There's been a constant sense of protest on the UMass campus,'' said Amy Griffin, a 21-year-old UMass senior. ''You see signs painted around campus and pins on people's bags protesting the war. This is a community that gets involved and cares.''

Students from Amherst Regional High School and Amherst Regional Middle School marched about a half mile through a cold drizzle from their schools to the UMass rally.

When they arrived the older crowd gave them a rousing welcome.

''On Sept. 11 a lot of innocent people got killed and we were all really upset about that,'' said Javed Basu-Kesselman, a 14-year-old middle school student. ''How are we going to do the same thing to Iraq?''

The students, most who skipped classes to attend the rally, had organized discussion groups to talk about the impending war and the Bush administration's policies. Similar rallies and forums were held on campuses at Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire colleges.

And they weren't alone. Professors and some community members turned out at the rallies.

Isaac Ben Ezra, an outspoken senior citizen who often rallies for health issues, took the stage at UMass with signs that read, ''Grandparents for Peace,'' and ''Support our Troops. Bring them Home.''

''We have thousands of Americans today who cannot afford drugs or are cutting their pills,'' Ben Ezra said. ''And yet we have a Bush administration that is ready to piss away billions of dollars for war. Not one life for this immoral war. If George Bush doesn't get that message by now, we're going to have to sell it to him.''

Mika Cade, a member of the Anti-War Coalition at Smith College in Northampton, said about 150 students walked out of class about 1:30 p.m. and held a rally outside the campus library.

''It's not like we're just a few hundred people in one part of the nation protesting. This is happening all over the world. Bush has to listen to us and so does the rest of the world.''

She said there were about 200 people at the rally altogether and they had planned some teach-ins and discussions throughout the day.

At Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, about 200 student gathered for an afternoon rally. Throughout the day, some professors tailored their lesson plans to discuss topics of war.

''We wanted people to take a stance and engage in talk about war in the classroom,'' said Elizabeth Oshel, 19, a sophomore who is the co-chair of Mount Holyoke's student anti-war group. ''A lot of people on campus have not been talking about war, and we were hoping to bring it to more people's attention.''

In Boston, Arlington, Newton and Lexington, high school students organized marches to town centers and rallies outside schools.

''The war affects kids in a big way,'' said Dan Hurwitz, a 15-year-old Arlington High School student. ''We're seeing a lot of budget cuts in education, and money can be spent on better things than war. And if there's ever a draft, we'd be eligible.

''The clock is ticking, and we need our voices heard,'' he said.