Is the Syrian conflict a climate war? A Question Revisited.
But before we get there here are a few points that are not getting enough attention in the media. I make no excuses for the behaviour of Putin, Assad or anybody else but let's bear in mind the following:
1. Syria, under Assad's leadership, is a properly constituted state, recognised at the UN.
2. The Syrian government has invited, as is their right under international law, military support from Russia.
3. Other governments, including the UK's, have acted to aid those who would seek regime change, have supplied weapons and even been directly involved in military action within Syria's territory.
4. Israel remains an occupier of Syrian territory, in defiance of UN Resolution 242.
But back to my main point, the Syrian conflict is the first significant war triggered, at least in part, by global warming. I fear it may not be the last.
And here's an excellent new report from Alex Randall and The Climate and Migration Coalition.
Is the Syrian conflict a climate war?
The issue of water does not feature much in discussions on Syria but water shortage and a perceived unfairness in water distribution was one of the original triggers to the uprising a couple of years ago, though it's now been overtaken by all sorts piling into the scrum.
For a recent update see Peter Gleick's piece
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31, 2013
Is the Syrian conflict a climate war? Part 2
That shows the drought
That drove the farmers
Away from their fields
And into the cities
Where they looked for scapegoats
And found religion
Took up their weapons
And were killed in number.
We watched in horror
We wrung our hands
We talked of bombs
But not of rain
Nor climate change
Nor carbon emissions
Nor greenhouse gases
Symptoms not causes
Our own complicity
In dreadful slaughter.
Syria, Water, Climate Change, and Violent Conflict
We need to talk about global warming