Drought and water policies drying up Euphrates River
Star Telegram (Link) - Campbell Robertson - New York Times (July 13, 2009)
Throughout the marshes, the reed gatherers, standing on land they once floated over, cry out to visitors in a passing boat.
"Maaku mai!" they shout, holding up their rusty sickles. "There is no water!"
The Euphrates is drying up. Strangled by the water policies of neighboring Turkey and Syria, a two-year drought and years of misuse by Iraq and its farmers, the river is significantly smaller than it was just a few years ago. Some officials worry that it could soon be half of what it is now.
The shrinking of the Euphrates, a river so crucial to the birth of civilization that the Book of Revelation prophesies its drying up as a sign of the end times, has decimated farms along its banks, left fishermen impoverished and depleted riverside towns as farmers flee to the cities looking for work.
It is a crisis that threatens the roots of Iraq�s identity, not only as the land between two rivers but as a nation once known as the largest exporter of dates in the world, one that once supplied German beer with barley and that takes patriotic pride in its expensive Anbar rice.
Now Iraq is importing more and more grain. Farmers along the Euphrates say, with anger and despair, that they may have to abandon Anbar rice for cheaper varieties.
Droughts are not rare in Iraq. But drought is only part of what is choking the Euphrates and its larger, healthier twin, the Tigris.
The most frequently cited culprits are the Turkish and Syrian governments. Iraq has plenty of water, but it is a downstream country. There are at least seven dams on the Euphrates in Turkey and Syria, according to Iraqi water officials, and with no treaties or agreements, the Iraqi government is reduced to begging its neighbors for water.
But many U.S., Turkish and even Iraqi officials say the real problem lies in Iraq�s own deplorable water management policies.
Leaky canals and wasteful irrigation practices squander the water, and poor drainage leaves fields so salty from evaporated water that women and children dredge huge white mounds from sitting pools of runoff.
Along the river, there is no shortage of resentment at the Turks and Syrians. But there is also resentment at the Americans, Kurds, Iranians and the Iraqi government, all of whom are blamed. Scarcity makes foes of everyone.
Bible prophecy mentions the Euphrates River a couple of times in relation to Bible prophecy, once specifically regarding the drying up of the river.
One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Now I do not believe the current drying up is related t the above except perhaps a precursor. I posted some time back some information regarding the Southeastern Anatolia Project (AKA GAP) and the potential of these dams being constructed to fulfill the above prophecies allowing a drying up of the rivers to bring the "kings of the east."
It is my belief that these prophecies will be fulfilled toward the end of the time of great tribulation, so what is happening now is not, in my opinion, the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. However it is something to watch.