The marshes were drained by former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, in the 1990s in an attempt to starve revolutionary Iraqis out of the area and even though waterways were unblocked after 2003, the marshes – home to unique birds, fish and plants as well as farmers and fishermen – have never been the same since. Iraq's marshes drained by Saddam in the 90s to punish rebellious marsh inhabitants are now thriving once more. The draining of the marshes was largely due to dams , dykes and other diversion structures constructed into Iraq but were exacerbated by upstream dam construction in Syria and Turkey. [10], By the mid 1980s, the marshes had become a refuge for elements persecuted by the Ba'athist government of Saddam Hussein (Shi'ites in particular), and a low-level insurgency had developed against the drainage and resettlement projects, led by Sheik Abdul Kerim Mahud al-Muhammadawi of the Al bu Muhammad under the nom de guerre Abu Hatim. The Mesopotamian Marshes or Iraqi Marshes are a wetland area located in southern Iraq and partially in southwestern Iran and Kuwait. Several years later Hussein turned his fury on southern Iraq’s marshes, the region’s largest wetlands. [7][8], During the 1970s, the expansion of irrigation projects had begun to disrupt the flow of water to the marshes; by the early 1980s, it was evident that these had significantly affected water levels. Saddam Hussein accused the Marsh Arabs of treachery during the 1980-1988 war with Iran and later drained the marshes to flush out rebels. Until a decade ago the south-east was an area of marshes that covered 20,000 square kilometres, the largest such region in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein, who accused the region's Marsh Arab inhabitants of treachery during the 1980-1988 war with Iran, dammed and drained the marshes in the 1990s to flush out rebels hiding in the reeds. [22], The majority of the Maʻdān were displaced either to areas adjacent to the drained marshes, abandoning their traditional lifestyle in favour of conventional agriculture, or to towns and camps in other areas of Iraq. Iraq’s marshes, once drained by Saddam, named world heritage site Published Monday, July 18th, 2016. Iraq's Marsh Arabs have lived in the wetlands, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden, for millennia BAGHDAD, July 17 (Reuters) - A wetland in southeast Iraq, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and almost completely drained during Saddam Hussein's rule, has become a UNESCO world heritage site, Iraqi authorities said on Sunday. Ali Hasan al-Majid, Hussein’s cousin and later the author of Iraq’s genocidal Anfal campaign in Kurdistan, oversaw the establishment of a cordon sanitaire around the … Prague, 26 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The marshes, considered to be the inspiration for the Biblical Garden of Eden, were drained in the early 1990s by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Constantly oppressed and marginalised Shias of the region rose to oppose the predominantly Sunni Baath regime. After the first Gulf War and the unsuccessful uprising of Shiite Muslims in the south, the Iraqi government set about draining the remaining marshes. The draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes occurred in Iraq and to a smaller degree in Iran between the 1950s and 1990s to clear large areas of the marshes in the Tigris-Euphrates river system. Marsh Arab civilisation disappearing as Iraqi wetlands are drained Special report: Iraq . The biggest impact on the marshes of Iraq however has been from Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime. International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau, "Saddam drains life from Arab marshes: Scientists fear Iraq's historic wetlands face destruction in 10 to 20 years", The Mesopotamian Marshlands: Demise of an Ecosystem, "Iraqi push to complete strategic 'Third River, "Iraq's Famed Marshes Are Disappearing—Again", "Vegetation Response to Re-flooding in the Mesopotamian Wetlands, Southern Iraq", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Draining_of_the_Mesopotamian_Marshes&oldid=990812305, Articles with dead external links from September 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The loss of a migration area for birds migrating from Eurasia to Africa, and consequent decrease in bird populations in areas such as Ukraine and the Caucasus, Probable extinction of several plant and animal species endemic to the Marshes, This page was last edited on 26 November 2020, at 17:09. Oct 29, 2008 - Al Hamar Marsh, Iraq - Believed by many to be the site of the Garden of Eden, Iraq's vast marshlands are now home to a massive environmental tragedy. They were characterised by tall qasab reeds but included a number of freshwater lakes, of which the largest were the Haur az-Zikri and Umm al-Binni (literally "mother of binni", the latter being a species of barbel). Iraq's Marshes, Once Drained by Saddam, Named World Heritage Site BY :STEPHEN KALIN JULY 18, 2016 A wetland in southeast Iraq, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and almost completely drained during Saddam Hussein's rule, has become a UNESCO world heritage site, Iraqi authorities said on Sunday. By around 2000, only about 10 percent of these marshes remained. The Iraqi marshes were drained by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s as part of a counterinsurgency campaign against the Marsh Arabs as a collective – an operation that has been analyzed previously as a case of ecocide and genocide. (2013). [30] 2010 research in the Central Marshes attributed the increased salinity and decreased water quality to the limitation of the water source to only the Euphrates, a smaller seasonal fluctuation in water inflow and outflow, and inputs of contaminated water from farms and villages. The draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes occurred in Iraq and to a smaller degree in Iran between the 1950s and 1990s to clear large areas of the marshes in the Tigris-Euphrates river system. The marshlands used to be the largest wetland ecosystem in Western Eurasia, representing a rare aquatic landscape in the desert and providing a habitat for important populations of wildlife. [23] The Marsh Arabs, who numbered about half a million in the 1950s, have dwindled to as few as 20,000 in Iraq. The draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes occurred in Iraq and to a smaller degree in Iran between the 1950s and 1990s to clear large areas of the marshes in the Tigris-Euphrates river system. The Ahwar are marshlands made up of bodies of water located in southern Iraq and are divided into three main sections: the Hawizeh Marshes, the Hammar Marshes and the Central Marshes, whose water areas change from year to year according to the amount of water coming in from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In 1991, then-President Saddam Hussein drained the marshes of southern Iraq in order to punish the indigenous Shi'ite marsh Arabs who had revolted against him. The Iraqi Marshes are located in the lower Mesopotamian basin, in the vast floodplain wetlands created by the Tigris-Euphrates river system. However, recovery of the Central Marshes has been much slower compared to the Huwaizah and Hammar Marshes; the most severely damaged sections of the wetlands did not show any signs of regeneration by 2006. Iraq - Iraq - The northeast: The mountains, hills, and plains of northeastern Iraq occupy some 35,500 square miles (92,000 square km), about one-fifth of the country. The Economy of the Iraq Marshes in the 1990s - Alexander Tkachenko. Since the time of the Sumer, agriculture in Mesopotamia involved major melioration, including drainage and building of irrigation canals. 3. [28], There has been some corresponding recolonization by the natural marsh vegetation since that time, and return of some species of fish and birds. The marshes had served as a base for a Shi’a insurrection against Saddam Hussein's Sunni-led Ba'athist regime, so Hussein drained the marshes largely to deny their use by insurgents and to punish the Ma'dan for their participation in the uprising.[12]. An Iraqi fisherman makes his way through dead fish and plants in the Delmaj marsh, east of the city of Diwaniyah, in Iraq’s southern province. The Iraqi marshes were drained by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s as part of a counterinsurgency campaign against the Marsh Arabs as a collective – an operation that has been analyzed previously as a case of ecocide and genocide. Iraq 'drained historic marshes' The marshlands have existed for over 10,000 years . The draining of the marshes was largely due to dams , dykes and other diversion structures constructed into Iraq but were exacerbated by upstream dam construction in Syria and Turkey. Description: The Mesopotamian Marshes were once the largest wetlands in the Middle East and Western Eurasia. [3][4], The draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes has been described by the United Nations as a "tragic human and environmental catastrophe" on par with the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest[5] and by other observers as one of the worst environmental disasters of the 20th century.[6]. meant to punish the Shi’ite marsh Arabs, drained this once fertile and abundant area of its life source-- water. Prague, 26 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The marshes, considered to be the inspiration for the Biblical Garden of Eden, were drained in the early 1990s by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The British colonial administrators were the first to attempt to drain the marshes, motivated by their role as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and lack of apparent economic value, as well as the potential use of the water for irrigation. Alwash said the latest commercial satellite imagery shows less than 10 percent of Iraq's marshlands hold water today, and what remains is a massive network of man-made canals and parched, salty earth. No need to register, buy now! As Saddam Hussein drained Iraq's famed marshes to punish the rebellious tribesmen who lived in them, Amjad Mohamed packed his few possessions, grabbed his fishing rod, and fled south to … An ancient way of life for the Marsh Arabs In the 1990s Saddam Hussein drained the wetlands to punish the indigenous Marsh Arab tribes, who … The western Hammar Marshes and the Qurnah or Central Marshes became completely desiccated, while the eastern Hawizeh Marshes dramatically shrank. The Central Marshes stretched between Nasiriyah, Al-'Uzair (Ezra's Tomb) and Al-Qurnah and were mainly fed by the Tigris and its distributaries. 6,000 years later, the water was drained out of the marshes by Saddam Hussein, and Eden was reduced to desert and rubbles. Iraq's marshes, once drained by Saddam, named world heritage site. Up to 500,000 marsh … The marshlands used to be the largest wetland ecosystem in Western Eurasia, representing a rare aquatic landscape in the desert and providing a habitat for important populations of wildlife. A wetland in southeast Iraq, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and almost completely drained during Saddam Hussein's rule, has become a UNESCO world heritage site, Iraqi authorities said on Sunday. Reuters reports: A wetland in southeast Iraq, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and almost completely drained during Saddam Hussein's rule, has become a UNESCO world heritage site, Iraqi authorities said on Sunday. It was a decline described by the United Nations as a “tragic human and environmental catastrophe”, on par with the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest . A miracle that was recognised last July when UNESCO awarded the “cradle of humankind” the status of World Heritage Site. (AFP) Al-Delmaj Marshes (IRAQ)--Poisoned water, illegal dams and even armed clashes: these days, fishing for precious barbels in Iraq’s majestic river marshes involves navigating precarious waters. Saddam Hussein, who accused the region's Marsh Arab inhabitants of treachery during the After heavy losses at the beginning due to human wave attacks, 15,000 casualties and little progress, Iran began developing new tactics, involving amphibious assault, and deployed a regular army division, the 92nd Armored Division. About half the Iraqi marshlands drained during Saddam Hussein's regime have been restored to their condition but problems still remain, according to the United Nations. Saddam Hussein accused the Marsh Arabs of treachery during the 1980-1988 war with Iran and later drained the marshes to flush out rebels. Fri 18 May 2001 20.44 EDT First published on … Formerly covering an area of around 20,000 km 2 (7,700 sq mi), the main sub-marshes, the Hawizeh , Central , and Hammar Marshes and all three were drained at different times for different reasons. A miracle that was recognised last July when UNESCO awarded the “cradle of humankind” the status of World Heritage Site. Then, in the 1990s, the marshes became a political pawn: former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein drained large areas at least in part to punish the tribes living there, the Marsh Arabs, for participating in anti-government rebellions. Iraq marshes: A return to Eden after Saddam’s fall Nature has rewarded the man with a vision who brought the Mesopotamian marshes back to … More recently it has been nature that has been an enemy of the marshes. This increased salinity has hindered the reintroduction of native plant and fish species and has had major detrimental effects on buffalo herding and fishing in the marshes, the chief economic activities of the Marsh Arabs. At times, the marshes have also served as a refuge for escaped slaves and serfs, such as during the Zanj Rebellion. Up to 500,000 marsh … "[19], Besides the general UN-imposed Gulf war sanctions, there was no specific legal recourse for those displaced by the drainage projects, or prosecution of those involved. From the 1950s to the 1990s, the marshes lost a colossal 90% of its total area. In the early 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained these unique wetlands of southern Iraq as a punishment to the region’s Marsh Arabs who had backed an uprising against him. The draining of the marshes was undertaken primarily for political ends, namely to force the Marsh Arabs out of the area through water diversion tactics and to punish them for their role in the 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein's government. Since then, thanks to restoration efforts, the marshlands have bounced back to life. [18], According to a 2001 United Nations Environmental Programme report, the projects resulted in:[19], The water diversion plan, which was accompanied by a series of propaganda articles by the Iraqi regime directed against the Ma'dan,[20] systematically converted the wetlands into a desert, forcing the residents out of their settlements in the region. The demise of the Iraqi Marshes has been compared to both the Aral Sea’s desiccation and the deforestation of the Amazon. One man is leading the way, attempting to rejuvenate the marshes and bring back the diversity of … Some of this dismantling was done by local Marsh Arabs acting on their own. [17], A study by the Wetland Ecosystem Research Group at Royal Holloway, University of London concluded that thousands of fish and waterfowl died as the waters receded, and that the central Qurnah marshes 'essentially no longer exist as an ecosystem'. However, the wetlands have since shrunk to 58% of their pre-drainage area and are projected to drop below 50% as a result of Turkish and Iranian damming of the Tigris and Euphrates, which the UN reports has reduced the combined volume of the rivers by 60%. [9] Part of the Hammar Marsh was also drained in 1985 during efforts to prepare the area for oil exploration. Constantly oppressed and marginalised Shias of the region rose to oppose the predominantly Sunni Baath regime. [27], Following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, many embankments and drainage works were dismantled under the newly formed administration, and the marshes began to refill. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. After the First Gulf War (1991), the Iraqi government revived a program to divert the flow of the Tigris River and the Euphrates River away from the marshes. The draining of the marshlands in the southern Iraq coincided with Saddam Hussein's attacks on the Kurdish population in northern Iraq. The draining of the marshes was intended at first to reclaim land for agriculture along with oil exploration but later served as a punishment for Shia Arabs in response to the 1991 uprisings in Iraq. Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. In both incidences, the aims were the same - … [11], After the First Gulf War (1991), the Iraqi government revived a program to divert the flow of the Tigris River and the Euphrates River away from the marshes. To enable Verizon Media and our partners to process your personal data select 'I agree', or select 'Manage settings' for more information and to manage your choices. These notably included the Main Outfall Drain (MOD), a large canal also referred to as the Third River, and the Nasiriyah Drainage Pump Station. Iraqis blame the government for lack of internal water policies. Draining of The Marshes. After the collapse of the Mesopotamian civilization and the Arab conquest the territory was derelict, which resulted in the restoration of the original wetland conditions. Further, the water quality and salinity is much worse than in the pre-drained marshes: water salinity has soared to 15,000 parts per million (ppm) in some areas, up from 300 to 500 ppm in the 1980s. By February 9, 2004, a dramatic transformation was underway in Mesopotamia. [24], The AMAR International Charitable Foundation described the event as "an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe of monumental proportions with regional and global implications. [29] By 2008, 75% of the marshes had been restored, including most of the Central Marshes. Formerly covering an area of around 20,000 km 2 (7,700 sq mi), the main sub-marshes, the Hawizeh, Central, and Hammar Marshes and all three were drained at different times for different reasons. According to the Iraqi army, in December 1991 and January 1992 over 70 marsh villages were destroyed and 50,000 people removed. [15][16] It is feared that the Bunn's short-tailed bandicoot rat (Nesokia bunnii, syn. The draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes occurred in Iraq and to a smaller degree in Iran between the 1950s and 1990s to clear large areas of the marshes in the Tigris-Euphrates river system. ... Before 2003, the marshes were drained to 10% of their original size. 6,000 years later, the water was drained out of the marshes by Saddam Hussein, and Eden was reduced to desert and rubbles. We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. Iraq Drained Marsh Stock Photos and Images (45) Page 1 of 1. The Iraqi Government Assault on the Marsh Arabs, "The Marsh Arabs of Iraq: Hussein's Lesser Known Victims", "The Marshlands of Southern Iraq: A Very Humanitarian Dilemma", "UN ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME RELEASES REPORT ON DEMISE OF MESOPOTAMIAN MARSHLANDS", The Physical Characteristics of the Mesopotamian Marshlands. Following the Second Gulf War and the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, Iraqis began demolishing the dikes and canals that had drained the marshes. The draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes occurred in Iraq and to a smaller degree in Iran between the 1950s and 1990s to clear large areas of the marshes in the Tigris-Euphrates river system. ; and Nader, I.A. Iraq’s marshes, once drained by Saddam, named world heritage site Published Monday, July 18th, 2016. [13], It was feared that the Levant darter (Anhinga rufa chantrei), a subspecies of the African darter, and the maxwelli subspecies of the smooth-coated otter had disappeared entirely, but small and threatened populations remain of both. Erythronesokia bunnii), which had only been described from specimens obtained in the Central Marshes, is extinct. Right after the Iran-Iraq war left about half a million people dead, the Shaaban intifada erupted in the south of Iraq. The drained marshes in southern Iraq were once abundant with wildlife. A British charity has accused the Iraqi government of turning a once-rich marshland region into a desert. [14] By the late 1990s, the Central Marsh had become completely desiccated, suffering the most severe damage of the three main areas of wetland. It was the home of about a half million Madan, or Marsh Arabs, who are Shiites. However, since his overthrow, a remarkable effort has begun to restore these Mesopotamian Marshes, among the most important wetland habitat in the world. Only 1,600 of them were estimated to still be living on traditional dibins in their homeland by 2003. In the ensuing years, severe droughts and decreased water flows from the twin rivers' source countries – Turkey and Iran – shrunk the marshes' surface from some 15,000 square kilometres to less than half that. Part of the Iran-Iraq border runs through the wetlands, and during the 1980s war, both sides built causeways and drained marshy areas for better access to the front. 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