In southern Iraq, putrid water gushes out of waste pipes into marshes reputed to be home to the biblical Garden of Eden, threatening an already fragile world heritage site.
Pope Francis expected to visit the ancient southern Iraqi city of Ur on Saturday.
Rebuilding Iraq starting from water. The story of Salman Khairalla; Water Grabbing Observatory; LifeGate
Salman Khairalla is an Iraqi activist who’s been fighting to protect his country’s marshes, a key water resource, since 2007.
Legends say that the Garden of Eden lays hidden somewhere near these revitalized marshes in Southern Iraq…
Thirty years after Saddam Hussein starved them of water, Iraq’s southern marshes are blossoming once more thanks to a wave of ecotourists picnicking and paddling down their…
This time last year, most of Iraq’s historic marshlands were dry, desiccated by upstream damming and a chronic lack of rainfall.
Tourists are slowly beginning to return to the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, raising hopes among some locals.
Can Iraq beat the drought and become the breadbasket of the Middle East again?; Kieran Cooke; Middle East Eye
Despite an environmental crisis, award-winning expert Azzam Alwash believes that Iraq can revive its agriculture
The Iraqi marshes: More than three decades of man-made ecological disaster; Sylvain Mercadier; Al Araby
CHABAISH, Iraq (AP) – In the southern marshlands of Iraq, Firas Fadl steers his boat through tunnels of towering reeds, past floating villages and half-submerged water buffaloes in a unique region that seems a world apart from the rest of the arid Middle East.
The marshes, a lush remnant of the cradle of civilization , were reborn after the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein when residents dismantled dams he had built a decade earlier to drain the area in order root out Shiite rebels. But now the largest wetlands in the Middle East are imperiled again, by government mismanagement and new upstream projects.
Dictators are colorful people, to put it mildly. It must be something about being constantly alone, maybe being a little paranoid all the time, or maybe they just get on a non-stop high from absolute power.
Hitler thought eating meat was abhorrent, but had no qualms about methamphetamine. Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier sent someone to collect the air around JFK’s grave so he could control the dead president’s soul. Muammar Qaddafi had a crush on Condoleezza Rice that rivals the one I have on Nicki Minaj.
It seems like every dictator has some bizarre personality quirks or aspirations that may seem out of character. And Saddam Hussein was no different.
1. He penned a best-selling romance novel.
The book, “Zabiba and the King,” was originally published anonymously in 2000.
Iraq’s ‘Marsh Arabs’ look to restore once-lost culture with help from US scientists; Andrew O’Reilly; Fox News
For more than 6,000 years, the marshlands of southern Iraq played a major role in sustaining the agriculture, economies and livelihoods of those residing in the Fertile Crescent.
Living in arched reed houses and relying on water buffalo along with rice, barley, wheat and pearl millet for sustenance, the inhabitants of these wetlands – the so-called Marsh Arabs – maintained for centuries a lifestyle that was both unique and separate from the rest of the Middle East.
But things changed rapidly in 1992, when former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein – angered by claims that the Marsh Arabs were harboring defeated Shia rebels – decided to punish them by sending engineers to divert the Tigris and Euphrates rivers away from the marshes.
Life continues to return to Iraq’s historic marshlands – and in some cases, species that have never been recorded before in the country. In July, a species of jellyfish Catostylus perezi was discovered at the Main Outfall Drain (MOD) channel and in southern part of Hammar Marshes of southern Iraq. This is the first Iraqi record for this species.
The discovery came to the attention of Nature Iraq (BirdLife in Iraq) when they were informed by a fisherman that he saw a jellyfish in the MOD channel. Nature Iraq then began a field survey, monitoring the MOD and Southern side of East Hammar and West Hammar Marshes searching for the jellyfish and in August recovered a specimen for relevant scientific studies.