Iraqi officials fear Islamic State ‘water war’

Jihadists close gates of Ramadi city dam, drying Euphrates river and cutting supplies to strategic communities

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said after the May 17 fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, that his men would take it back within days but operations are moving slowly.

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As they edge towards Ramadi, officials said Iraqi forces risked coming under attack because IS had closed the gates of a dam in the city to dry up the Euphrates.

The move will enable IS fighters to cross the river more easily and to infiltrate more territory.

Ramadi dam

“Daesh is now waging a filthy water war,” said Sabah Karhout, the head of Anbar’s provincial council, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

“Cutting the water is the worst crime they could commit. It will force children, women and elderly people to flee and allow them to move in to launch attacks,” he said.

“Daesh may not have enough fighters to face us in a conventional battle right now,” said Arkan Khalaf al-Tarmuz, another provincial council member.

“So they are using water as a weapon to weaken areas where there are military bases,” Tarmuz said.

The chaotic retreat from Ramadi last month was reminiscent of the complete collapse of federal forces in second city Mosul a year ago, when IS-led fighters conquered almost a third of Iraq within days and brought the country to the brink of breakup.

Full article: Iraqi officials fear Islamic State ‘water war’ (The Times of Israel)

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