A Revolutionary Development Plan
for the Near and Middle East
Hussein Askary is the chairman of the European Labor Party (EAP) in Sweden, and the EIR Arabic-language editor. He addressed the Schiller Institute conference on Nov. 24. A video of his speech is available at http://www.schiller-institut.de/
What I am going to present is the other side of the coin of what we have today in the region of Southwest Asia. You know, we have wars and so on. But what I'm going to present, is going to be done by the same nations which are involved in war acts, or defending themselves against war. All these nations are nation-states. And in a just world economic and political order, all these nations will have to contribute to this development. So it doesn't matter if it's Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar—all these nations are considered nation-states, and they should be sovereign. But the policy has to change.
The other thing is that many of the projects which I'm going to present, and which Helga [Zepp-LaRouche] presented, are already being built. Some of them are finished. The problem is that these are local projects, and they lack a global, planetary dimension and perspective. So this is what we're going to add, through our plan, to this. This is a planetary mission.
I've been working with the question of Southwest Asia many years, as a member of the LaRouche organization. And there's a recurring problem: Every time that I meet and talk with both citizens and political leaders from Southwest Asia, they say, how can you present an economic program at a time when we are being shot at? We have war. So how can you talk about economic development and projects in the middle of a war?
The problem is, that there are lots of excuses. The reason is that these nations did not do what they were told, or what they were supposed to do, before they were getting shot at. We've missed many years since Lyndon LaRouche was in Baghdad in 1975. We lost a lot of time.
The other thing is that some people say, we don't have money. And as soon as they finish talking to you, they go around the corner and they buy weapons for hundreds of billions of dollars, because they say, we are in a war situation.
There is another excuse which is difficult to deal with, and it's true, because they say, we are not capable of doing these things because world politics is not decided by us; it's decided by the big powers. And that's true. That we can discuss. And that's what we need to change. So that if our friends in the United States can impeach President Obama, and if our friends in England can help us put Tony Blair in prison, then we will have a totally different situation, where we can discuss these things, and people will not have excuses, because we can turn around the whole imperial policy.
And if somebody can please tell Mrs. Merkel to wake up, that would be very helpful. Because we are soon in 2013, and Germany is being suffocated. Germany is a technical superpower, which is needed by the whole world. It's being suffocated by the current policies—environmental policies, green policies, and the financial monetarist policies. So Germany's role is very important in this whole situation.
Focusing on Principle
I want to focus on some questions of principle, because as I have outlined, we have to define, really, what is the purpose of existence of the human race. It's not about competition, as modern economics says; or, seeking vengeance for old political injustice; or winning land—taking it from others.
What is really true about human existence is that it's implementing our creative powers to change the universe around us. You don't necessarily have to be a physicist or astronaut, to change the universe around you. You could be a farmer, a teacher, or an ironsmith, who finds joy in applying his creativity and passion to his area of work, and making others around him happy.
But we do need scientists. We do need astrophysicists. I'm going to take a quote from Krafft Ehricke, a German space pioneer and thinker. He says, in his Extraterrestrial Imperative:
"The fact that neither technology, nor reaching beyond Earth is exactly new, but natural growth options exercised before, puts the human reality of our time into perspective. That reality has two anchor points.
"One, that the chlorophyll molecule—which is responsible for photosynthesis—and the human mind, are the only true superpowers on this planet. They must find a way to co-exist, and, not being intrinsically incompatible, they can.
"Two, that humanity does not live as a mankind generally, but is organized as an aggregate of some 140 nations [now, there are more]. Most of these nations try to improve their standard of life, or safeguard social standards, achieve and extend them to the less advantaged. Without the means to grow, and like it or not, these means include material resources and the ability to process them, general stagnation will create a shrinking water droplet world, in which competition for growth turns into a grim struggle for survival."
So the purpose of governments and political institutions is to secure an environment, within which the individuals can practice their creativity. Our responsbility as citizens and political activists is to kick those elected politicians and governments in the rear, to make them do their job. We can also give them some useful suggestions, about what needs to be done, which we are going to do here.
The perspective from which we are going to act in this geopolitical situation, involves conceptualizing what should, instead, be going on in this region, from the highest-level perspective of the Strategic Defense of Earth: true development of mankind and the universe we inhabit. We will consider this in terms of three main principles:
One, upgrading the resource base, in particular, water, by organizing what is presently available, to higher levels.
Number two, by making new natural resources, and by upgrading the power per unit area; and
Three, through advancing what Lyndon LaRouche calls the productive platform, which is the infrastructure, agro-industrial sector, social advancements, and the scientific and technological level of the society.
These are the same principles which were implied, originally, in LaRouche's proposal for the Oasis Plan, which was presented in Baghdad in 1975. These are the same scientific and moral principles.
Helga went through this question of the world desert. This is the global desert (Figure 1), 13 million sq km. And if you compare that area, which is largely depopulated, with the areas where you have 7 billion human beings on Earth, it's almost larger than where we have the rest of mankind. In countries like Egypt, 80 million people live on only 4% of the land; 96% of the land is totally empty. So we have people here in Europe and the United States, talking about "overpopulation" of the planet. We are depopulated! We don't have enough people on Earth. We have too much space, but that space is dead.
If you look at the relationship of this desert, and the Eurasian Land-Bridge, or the World Land-Bridge, which Helga presented, and we have been working on, what we're going to have, is that this is a huge planetary mission, which has enormous dimensions. And it can only be considered from a planetary perspective, which also involves an agreement among the big powers and the regional powers to work together, to achieve a shift from this desert, to what we can see will happen later.
I would like to start by going directly to Southwest Asia region, with some images of sandstorms Figure 2). Sandstorms and duststorms are frequent events in Southwest Asia, especially in the Gulf region, but even extend to Iran and Afghanistan.
If you look at these satellite images —that's why we need space technology to determine what is going on on Earth. You look at where the sandstorms start from, which go from north to south; these are Arctic jet streams, winds, which come with high-pressure areas, which meet a low-pressure area in the Gulf region and the Arabian Sea.
So, you look and figure out that the sandstorms start in the border area between Iraq and Syria. That's exactly where the Euphrates [River] ends. And then, they sweep down and gather strength. They go over Iraq.
It all starts there in Syria, and then goes over Iraq. (These images, I think, are collected by NASA and by the European Space Agency satellites.) Around March 2011, there was a huge sandstorm, which covered the whole area.
The sandstorms—these storms—when they attack cities, it's like enormous, apocalyptic images. I don't have them here. The sandstorms are up to tens of meters. But the duststorms can be up to several kilometers into space. And they cover whole countries. They shut down airports, ports, hospitals, schools, and everything. So they continue into the Persian Gulf, Qatar, Saudi Arabia.
And then they take a turn around the highlands of central Saudi Arabia, and they dump the sand in the Empty Quarter (Figure 3). But in this case, the sandstorm was so powerful, because you have a mountain range there in Yemen and Oman, so the Empty Quarter is the most dry part of the world desert. But in that case, it just continued down, over the mountain range, into the Gulf of Oman, over Yemen and Oman, and then, continued into the sea.
You can see also, in the next images, it goes all the way to the Arabian Sea (Figure 4). They cover sometimes Pakistan, India. You have other storms which also attack Iran and Afghanistan.
Attacking the Desert
So this is a recurring problem. With the help of space technology, we can see where the sandstorms originate, and where can we start to attack them.
So the question is now, for Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to stop this. It doesn't help to send jihadis and weapons to Syria and Iraq to kill civilians. That will not help to stop this problem. What you need is a totally different perspective. With that perspective, we can start attacking the desert at different areas and with different technologies. There are plans in these regions; these are local plans, but they can give an image. If you look at the area where the sandstorms start, which is now a war area, the land is deteriorating, and the desert is expanding. They have taken ones called the Fertile Crescent.
These are also examples (Figure 5). Egypt is also attacked by the Khamsin winds. Also, the sandstorms can reach Europe sometimes. China is also a route.
This is not the Shi'ite Crescent! This is called the Fertile Crescent, for obvious reasons. This was an area which was very fertile. There's an abundance of water. And some historians say, agriculture all started in this region.
But the problem is that, that region is not fertile anymore. It's deteriorating. And the water resources are shrinking. We're going to talk about the Turkish dam projects, which have affected the flow of water, but that is not the only reason. It's the destruction of the infrastructure by wars, sanctions, and lack of investments, which have created these situations.
But you can attack, for example, this sandstorm problem. There are ideas; they are called greenbelts. What you can do is that you can create greenbelts.
This is the idea from the Iraqi Agriculture Ministry (Figure 6). When I was a kid [in Iraq], we used to read about these in school, that we have a national program to protect the country against sandstorms and deserts. It's quite an impressive plan, but it was never realized. I was born in 1968, and immediately, we had a civil war in '73; we had the Iran-Iraq War in '80; we had the Gulf War in 1990; we had sanctions; now—so it's just continuing. Nothing has happened.
But there are courageous efforts to build part of this. We have actually an Iraqi-Iranian agreement to build a greenbelt around the religious cities of Najaf and Karbala (Figure 7).
What you do is that you plant different types of trees, mostly palm trees, olive trees, eucalpytus trees, tamarind trees—these are trees that are known to resist heat, salt, and water scarcity. They can survive in dry climate.
This is the project in Iraq (Figure 8). It's a small project, but this is the kind of idea that gives you an image of what you need to do. Instead of just a few hundred meters, a greenbelt should be several kilometers. And then you have rows of these. And when you expand, as we saw in the Iraqi plan, it's like you have a shield of greenbelts, and you move gradually against the desert. We're going to talk about the irrigation and other techniques later.
The idea of planting a variety of plants is not new. This is from Egyptian, it's called the Grave Chamber, in one of the Egyptian pyramids (Figure 9). This is a painting on the wall, and you can see the variation—you have palm trees, you have other fruit trees, you have other plants, and then you have crops, of course, which you need to produce food: wheat, cereals, and so on.
So these are old ideas, they have existed there. We have very skillful farmers, but they lack resources. The issue, which Helga was emphasizing recently, is that these are not things we can do in 10 or 20 years; these are things we can do next week. There are people there—farmers, and unemployed young people—they can start work immediately, next week. We can start planting trees next week. There's no problem. What is lacking is the policy. We don't have a policy. We have a policy of destruction; we don't have a policy of construction.
This is also an interesting image (Figure 10), sent by an Egyptian friend of ours, an agricultural engineer, and it's just the same thing. The palm trees—what's special about them is that they can work as a wind shield, but they also can stabilize the soil. But what they do also, is that they can create shade for other types of trees.
Olive trees, if they are planted alone, under the Sun, their productivity will be diminished by about 50%, because the heat will kill a lot of the kernel of the olive. But if you plant them in the shade of a plant, their productivity will increase. It's a cooler area.
But there is an interesting reference to this we have from the Holy Koran, where there's a story of two men, and there's a conflict between the two men. It's in the story of The Cave. It says: "And present to them an example of two men: We granted to one of them two gardens of grapevines, and we bordered them with palm trees and placed between them fields of crops. Each of the two gardens produced its fruit and did not fall short thereof in anything. And We caused to gush forth within them a river."
These are the agricultural techniques, according to the Koran. But what we're going to do is, we're going to remove one thing in the modern techniques. We're not going to have open canals nowadays, because most of the water would evaporate. We have to cover all the water streams. I will just describe it. But the Koran may excuse us, that we remove that part, because we need the modern technique, and to adjust to today's situation.
Here are palm trees (Figure 11), and they are very productive, of course. You all have eaten dates and so on. So these are not only to protect against dust, but these are a source of food and energy for the population.
There are different ways of stopping the desert. This is dune fixation. It's used a lot in China—it's very labor-intensive—that's the problem. You create these cross-sections of dry trees or reeds, and then you try to stop the advancement of the desert, and then you plant in these areas. But the problem is that you have to bring the water infrastructure first. You can't dig the water infrastructure later; you have to do it before starting this. This just gives you an idea. We can go further.
This is China, the Taklamakan Desert Highway (Figure 12). They tried to protect the road from the sand, which moves the whole time. It's like snow in the Arctic regions. So they tried—you pump water from the underground. It's salty water, but they have planted types of plants that resist salt.
So that's also a question for scientific development. You have to develop new types of plants which can resist saltwater and can resist heat. So this is also a technological level.
So, this is one idea. But, unless you deal with this in a larger context, you cannot limit the desert. But these are images to show what is being done, but it needs to be generalized.
Bring in Water for Life
So any reasonable person would ask first, after seeing all these nice things, "Where would the water come from?" Which is a good question. What we are defining in our report, is that there are three sources of water which are available, or could be made available.
First, you can transfer water from areas which are rich with water to these water-poor areas, by so-called water-diversion systems. Helga went through some of these: the Irtysh-Aral Sea (Figure 13). You have also another one, which goes to the east of the Ural Mountains—it's called the Pechora-Kama-Volga Canal. Also, these rivers, like in the NAWAPA project, they end up in the Arctic Ocean. So the idea is to stop them from going to the Arctic Ocean, and divert part of the water, and reverse the movement of the water to rivers which flow in the opposite direction.
This is what the ambassador [Ali Reza Sheikh Attar] was talking about (Figure 14). It's called the Iran Route, popularly. There's very little information about this; it's good you [the Ambassador] mentioned that there is a feasibility study being done. There are, of course, big technical problems. Iran is a semi-arid country. You have two large deserts, the Dasht-E-Kavir and the Dasht-E-Lut—the same idea.
If you bring water—the Iranian engineers have been looking at what they are doing, by just bringing in even salt water, because these are very salty lands too. These were ancient lakes, or part of a sea. And when the sea sank, the salt was left. But just by the mere fact of bringing water to the region, you can create a cooler climate situation, which will affect the region, and will affect Afghanistan.
What you can do simultaneously, is you build desalination plants along these areas, and you have freshwater for agriculture, urban use, and so on. So you can bring life to that region. And you can help Afghanistan also, with the expansion of the desert and so on. So you can have forest, also greenbelts in that region.
There's another plan from the other side of the Caspian Sea: is that you bring water from the canal I mentioned [the Pechora-Kama-Volga Canal], and you pass the Caspian Sea, and you bring it to Iran at the northern shore of the Caspian Sea. There is a technical problem, because you have to bring it across a little pass in the Elburz Mountains. But all these things are doable. There's no problem.
Then you bring the water down to the Karkheh and the Karun rivers. There are lots of dams being built there, but the amount of water there is also decreasing, so you need new water. For example, we have a crisis in Iraq, because of the dams in Iran on the Karun River, where the water in the Shatt al-Arab in Iraq is getting lower. So the Gulf seawater is moving inland and affecting Basra and these other regions.
You can't stop building these things, but what you need, is to increase the development, so you don't go backward; you go forward when you have a problem. You don't destroy the dam, because the water is becoming less.
This is what Helga described as the Turkish, the Southeastern Anatolian Project (Figure 15). It's a massive project. There are several problems, but the project in itself is sound. But political disagreements and wrong agricultural policy are affecting the efficiency of it. I will come to that later. So this is the Southeastern Anatolian Project—the GAP, it is called. And the idea is to build dams on the Tigris and Euphrates, and have huge reservoirs, like the Atatürk Dam Reservoir.
The lake behind the Atatürk Dam has enough water for a whole year of the Nile River's water flow (Figure 16). A whole year; it's about 49 or 50 billion cubic meters. So in terms of drought, these are very useful. But, the water's got to be used in a sound way.
So we covered the eastern part of the so-called Middle East. The problem with the term Middle East is that it reflects the region, as seen from Britain. If you look at the region from Britain, you have the Far East, you have the Near East, you have the Middle East. We call it Southwest Asia. That's a more appropriate name.
There is also a water diversion plan, which Helga described, of bringing water from these—this will come not from the Tigris-Euphrates Basin, this will come from the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers (Figure 17). They are more to the west of Turkey. They don't affect the Tigris and Euphrates. The water flows into the Mediterranean. So you divert part of that water in pipelines, all the way down to the Arabian Peninsula.
So, we go all the way over the Middle East/Southwest Asia, to Africa. We have the Transaqua Canal, to refill the Chad Lake, which is a big humanitarian and environmental crisis, by bringing water from the Congo River. All that region has to be developed, Africa is witnessing horrific crimes right now, because the resources there are being utilized for the global economy, but the population there is being slaughtered and moved from their lands to clear the places for the multinational raw materials cartels. And this is what's going on in the eastern Congo, and has been going on for awhile.
So the perspective should include the development of Africa, and I think, our friend from Egypt [Aiman Rsheed], who is going to present the Africa Pass project, will discuss that.
So, what we have discussed now, is that the first source of water is—you bring water from water-rich areas to water-poor areas.
The second source is, of course, water desalination. Now, there is massive investment going on in the Gulf, specifically, Saudi Arabia. They are investing heavily in water desalination for urban use, for drinking water, sewage, and so on, in the cities; and 50%, or 70%, of Saudi Arabia's drinking water comes from desalination. Saudi Arabia alone produces half of the world's desalinated water. These are huge amounts of water, but they are not enough, of course; and they are investing heavily into that. The United Arab Emirates too; Bahrain, Qatar—all these countries are building massive water-desalination plants.
The problem with that, is that they are using natural gas and oil for producing the heat, which will help in the evaporation process, to desalinate the water, to remove the salt.
Now, the problem is, that in the coming two decades, these countries in the Gulf, for example, would need to double and triple the amount of water they desalinate, to match the growing population and economic growth.
The problem is, that already today, Saudi Arabia, for example, burns 1.5 million barrels of oil every day to produce that water. So imagine, in 10 or 15 years, they will have to burn 4 million barrels of oil, to meet only the urban drinking water problem. So that's not really sustainable, in a sense.
So what Lyndon LaRouche and Helga have been proposing, is to build desalination plants based on nuclear power plants. The idea is called a nuplex. This idea is not new. Actually, under President Eisenhower, one of the ideas he had for solving the Arab-Israeli crisis, was by providing assistance to the Egyptians, Israelis, and these other countries, by building small nuclear power plants to desalinate seawater.
Because most of the Israeli wars against the Arab countries are not based on religion; most of them are based on controlling water. When you see that the Israelis occupy a new area, you have to look to see if there is a river there, if there's groundwater, reservoirs, or lakes. Most of the wars have been about controlling water. And the Israelis have been doing it, actually brutally, in the Palestinian areas, which created the crisis now in Gaza, for example.
There was a United Nations report released in October, which says that Gaza will not be livable in 2020. There's no water anymore. The aquifers are emptied. The Israelis took what they took, before they left. But now, the aquifers, which are shallow aquifers next to the sea, under Gaza, are being contaminated. They have intrusion of saltwater into them. And people are just getting sick from the water. So Gaza immediately needs a desalination plant, to produce 500 million cubic meters of water every day.
I met the Water Minister of Palestine in Stockholm at a water conference, and he said, we are going around begging Europeans to give us $250 million. The Qataris and the Saudis promised $250 million—half of the cost of the plan, but they are getting nothing! $250 million can save millions of lives in Gaza, and they're not getting it from Europe. And the European Central Bank, and the European governments are bailing out banks, for not hundreds of millions of dollars, but hundreds of billions of dollars. So this is really a tragedy. It's a moral problem. So that's just an example of the water problem.
Here, you have these images of the nuplex (Figure 18), as I said, going back to Eisenhower's plan.
Now, actually, there are these kind of floating nuclear power plants. The Russians have built them for their icy Arctic region. These are small-scale nuclear power plants, and they are floating, like a ship. They are placed near the coasts. So you can do the same thing actually, with the [Southwest Asian] region. You can build these things very quickly and ship them, from Germany or Sweden or France, or wherever, and you can place them off the shore, and you can desalinate water, and you can produce power for industrial and other use for these regions.
Helga mentioned that there is actually an active plan for building nuclear power in the United Arab Emirates, in Saudi Arabia—these are good signs. One thing about the United Arab Emirates: The four nuclear power plants which the Koreans are building cost about $20 billion—that's the agreed cost.
You can't really imagine how much is being wasted. Abu Dhabi—which finances this thing—pays Dubai, which is another emirate, $20 billion a year to pay debt to international banks, who finance the real estate boom in Dubai. The whole Dubai miracle was based on debt. It's one of history's largest land scams. And they did not introduce any modern technology. When people travel to Dubai, they will see the traffic jams, because they build these huge towers, but the roads are not efficient enough to accommodate to this development. Now they are thinking about building rail transport systems in Dubai, but that's going to be difficult, because you have to remove buildings. Enormous waste!
The United Arab Emirates' so-called sovereign fund is $750 billion, and they invest in football clubs in France, in England. This is becoming famous. Every sheikh has a football club.
LaRouche's Oasis Plan
So there is no lack of resources to do these things. As Helga said, Iran is the only country in the region besides Israel which has a running nuclear power plant. And the original German design by Siemens to build the Bushehr plant included desalination of water. Now, in the Russian design, that's not included. So this has to be, also, included in the Iranian plans, to connect nuclear power to desalination. You can use thermal heat for that purpose.
There is an awareness in the region that that's what you need. In Egypt there are plans. They know that they have to do that. Egypt has a plan to also build a nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean, which the Egyptian water minister, whom I met in Stockholm, said, we are going on with the same plan. This plan has existed for a long time. But they know that without nuclear power, you cannot provide water to the coastal areas in the western part of Egypt.
Our whole idea is based on the LaRouche Oasis Plan (Figure 18). We have both the canals from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is about 430 meters below sea level; and the water there is disappearing because of the use of the Jordan River, and the Litani, and other rivers, by Israel and Syria and Jordan. The level of the water in the Dead Sea is sinking a lot, so you can refill the water by saltwater from the Mediterranean.
But the idea then is, from the Red Sea, to build a canal, which goes downwards to the Dead Sea, and you can use the difference in elevation for hydropower. The idea was to desalinate water with that power, which Jordan needs a lot. That project is dead. It doesn't exist anymore because of all these political destabilizations. But the engineers are ready to build it.
This question of peace—the paradox I spoke of earlier, that people say, you cannot build economic development before you have peace, or you have political stability first, and then you can build the economy. That's not true. And that's what really happened with the Oslo peace process.
Mr. LaRouche, in an interview after the signing of the Oslo Accords in the White House, September 1993, said that "the urgent thing here, is that we must move with all speed, and immediately, get these economic development projects—such as the canal from Gaza to the Dead Sea—going. Because if we wait until we discuss this thing out politically, the enemies of progress, and enemies of the human race, such as Kissinger and his friends, will be successful, through people like [former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon's buddies, in intervening to drown the agreement in blood and chaos."
And guess what happened? This is exactly what has happened. The Oslo peace agreement and the peace process are dead now. But it can be revived. We should not give up on that. That's the last thing we'd want to do.
So this is an example of how you can create peace and stability through economic development. It was very possible, but the United States and Europe didn't do that. They encouraged the Palestinians to do tourism projects in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, selling souvenirs to European and American tourists. Actually, they even used the land in the Palestinian areas, with the little water, to export flowers. Blooms to Europe, they said, that's how you get cash. And then you can use the cash for economic development. And they used the water, which they're supposed to use for feeding the Palestinian people, to produce vegetables and flowers to export to Europe.
The same thing happened in Egypt. You export vegetables and fruits, but you have to import wheat and rice from the United States, so you can feed the people.
So the whole policy towards Palestine and Israel, from the United States and Europe, was a total disaster. They didn't contribute anything. They contributed to the downfall of the peace process. This is something which LaRouche has, and our organization has, been screaming about the whole time. That was the reason I joined the organization in '94; because, for the first time somebody came to me—I was living Oslo actually—I met some of the Palestinian and Israeli people. I was working as a translator there, with Palestinian and Israeli children, who were coming for the signing of the agreement, at the cultural festival.
When the Schiller Institute people came to Oslo—it was the first time I met them—they talked about economic development: that without economic development, you will not have peace. I said, "Oh, my God." I had left Iraq two years earlier, after the horrendous wars, and I still had this idea. And somebody comes along and says, well, you prevent wars by economic development. If you don't have economic development and dependency among nations for their survival, you will not have peace and stability. So that was the reason I joined the organization. Of course, there are other reasons, but that was the first thing: Somebody comes here with a new idea. All the other ideas never work; this can work.
The Schiller Institute cannot implement these projects. But we can get politicians and nations to do them.
So this is the second source, we said, for bringing water, is desalination of seawater. There are seas all over the place. Just remove the salt, and you have freshwater. You need enormous amounts of energy. You can use nuclear power, new generations of nuclear power plants—high temperature.
A War on the Desert
The third source of water is the so-called aquifers. There is something called the watershed (Figure 1).
Because the thing is, you have to deal with this as a global, planetary mission, where you have to attack the desert. I like to say it's a war. I want to have a new war in Southwest Asia, but it's a war on the desert. But you cannot deal with the desert with small projects here and there, like the United Nations and the FAO and the European Union are doing. They are not going to help anything. You have to generalize these projects.
But the desert has certain vulnerabilities. You can cut the desert into regions, where you have these different sources of water. For example, you have these mountain ranges—the Atlas Mountain ranges, they have a watershed. The North African mountain ranges, they have a watershed. Franklin Roosevelt discusses underground rivers in the book by his son [As He Saw It], because he was discussing why these areas are not developed, this desert. He said, the rain falls on the mountains, and it goes underground, but it disappears under the sand. So if you divert that water, you can make the desert green. Roosevelt, already in the 1940s, had this idea. He had done it in the United States, by greening the Imperial Valley and building the Tennessee Valley Authority, so people in the United States knew about these things.
But in the middle of Africa, where the Transaqua Project is (Figure 1), you can utilize sources here, you can have nuclear power here; you can attack it from the north and west, but then you can cut the desert here by the Transaqua Canal. So you diminish the cumulative effect of the desert, you have to cut it into sectors, and attack it at each sector, with these three water sources, as we said. There's the groundwater, the third source.
Then we have the Africa Pass; our friend Ayman [Rsheed] is going to discuss that—I'm not going to go through this. You have the desalination plans, you have the Turkish projects here, the greenbelt projects here; you have the Iran Route project here; you have the Aral Sea project here; here you have the Chinese.
And I'm not going to go through the Chinese, because it would take a whole day to discuss what the Chinese are doing. It's just incredible stuff. They're diverting water: the biggest water diversion in the history of mankind.
The idea is that you have to cut the desert into sectors, different battlefronts, and attack it in each battlefront, with these water resources we have, and we can develop.
Now, there's enormous scare-mongering in international organizations, in the UN, especially the United Nations Development Program, environmentalist organizations, and also, even governments buy that now.
The scare story is that you cannot pump water from the ground. The first thing is because the water eventually will be depleted. The soil will become salty, and it will be poisonous. So you should not pump water. And then they say, at the same time, that you should not build nuclear power. But there is an enormous campaign to prevent nations from using groundwater, by scaring them into accepting to die, thirsty, rather than using a resource which we have.
The Mega-Watershed Model
Now, using space technology—there are two scientists who are mostly known for what is called the mega-watershed model. These are Robert Bisson and Farouk El Baz, an Egyptian-American scientist, who worked at NASA, mapping the Moon before the Moon landing. He is a very renowned scientist. He is an old man now, but he is still active. He goes to Egypt every now and then, and presents his projects. He has a project, which is called the "Development Corridor," to build a Nile Valley next to the Nile.
This contradicts the traditional view of how underground water develops. The traditional story says, you have rain in the highlands, in the mountains Figure 19). Then the rain goes over the surface, through creeks and streams and rivers, and ends up in the sea. That's most of the water. A lot of it evaporates. And then, part of the water goes underground, in the sedimentary areas, and is locked between the sedimentary areas and the rock levels below them, and gets trapped in that area. So you have a horizontal, local aquifer, with a certain amount of water.
The problem is that in Southwest Asia, where it doesn't rain the whole time, that trapped water will be overused. That's true. You can overuse that water. And, as in the case of Gaza, it can become a problem. But, this conventional theory, which is accepted in meteorology in the United Nations and other organizations, excludes another idea, which these two scientists, El Baz and Bisson, came up with; it's called the mega-watershed model (Figure 20).
It's based on mapping, based on space-technology, by remote sensing. The idea says that—this is a short account of it, it's a long study, it's available on the Internet—but the short of it is that rain and snow in the lower areas—that's what is measured usually by meteorological stations—that's most of the water which is accounted for. Most of the rainfall, the precipitation, happens in the upper regions of the mountain areas, which are difficult to measure. So that's 80% of the amount of water—rainwater—which is not accounted for.
And what happens is that—because of the shifts in the Earth's crust, tectonic shifts, when the mountains were created in previous geological ages, and the continuous tectonic, seismic activity—you have cracks, very deep cracks, which are vertical, most of them, and through these cracks, the water tries to find its way to new areas. So this is a huge amount of water, which is not accounted for. What usually people talk about, is the water which is trapped here. These are the horizontal aquifers.
This is an enormous amount of water, but it has another special thing: It can travel for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of kilometers. So you can find water where you never imagined it underground. And these two scientists have discovered some enormous water reservoirs. For example, Farouk El Baz, in 2006, in the middle of the Darfur crisis, visited Sudan, and he presented his study. And he told the Sudanese government about it, because the fight in Darfur was not a political fight in the beginning; it was made a political fight by the British and their supporters in the United States.
The fight in Darfur was between different tribes over water—nomadic tribes against settled tribes. And some people had the bright idea to turn it into a political crisis. But El Baz went to Sudan and said, we have under Darfur—we have a mega-lake. I think, he said, that it is as big as Lake Erie in the United States. And you can immediately dig 1,000 large wells, which can pump water for more than 100 years. He said, I guarantee you this. That's the way you can create peace in Darfur, by bringing water.
So their studies—they use remote sensing to discover so-called underground rivers, or ancient rivers that are being used now—like in the mountain ranges in Africa. When it rains, that water goes down in underground rivers, or so-called ancient rivers (Figure 21). This is the area in Darfur. And you can see there, El Baz says, under the sand, there is a formation of a mega-lake, a huge lake, which existed in ancient times, before the Ice Age. The water which has been accumulating underneath that, he said, by studying the formation of the surface of the lake, which is under the sand—you can't see it, you have to use space technology to be able to figure it out. So he said that there is a lake there, which existed for at least 5,000 years, and it was providing water for the deep aquifers, which is now the Darfur aquifer.
The discovery of water in Egypt, in Al-Awaynat, in southern Egypt—there is enormous agricultural activity there, in the desert areas (Figure 22). The Libyan Great Man-Made River (Figure 23)—they have been pumping water. The problem is that they have been pumping water to take to the coast, to the capital, to Sirt, and to other areas which are on the coast. So the desert is not affected positively by the water that they bring out. The water is taken somewhere else.
This [the Arabian Ancient River] is a river which is underneath Saudi Arabia (Figure 24). It takes a loop, or a turn, around this high area. And there is a higher range of mountains, and also, you have the Hejaz Mountains, which lead the water down. This was a surface river before. But now, there are oases along this old river. And these are the roads which the pilgrims take. In Haroun al-Rashid's time, this was called the Zubaida Road. The wife of Haroun al-Rashid, when she used to travel to Mecca to do pilgrimage, she would stay at the different oases on the way to Mecca from Iraq. So this was called the Zubaida Road, for the caravans.
So this is the idea: that you can actually find water in very, very large amounts. It's underground, like the oil; there is enormous activity in space and underground to find more oil, but very little is being done to find more water. Of course, there is disagreement on this theory, but El Baz has proven it several times.
But this water there is not only stored for several millions of years—that's what they say—it's for the future generations. You cannot take it from the future generations. Well, if it's for the future generations, some generation should start it. We are the future generation, for the people who went before us.
But they say, no, no, don't touch that, this is for the future generations. So, they have this crazy idea.
Of course, you have the future generations. But what we are going to give the future generations is, no desert! We'll give them green areas. But we have to start doing it now.
So this is the watershed theory; it's a model, it's a practice. There's a company called Earth Water Technology with stuff on YouTube, and they have dug wells on Trinidad-Tobago. There was a real water crisis there. So this is proven.
In the Empty Quarter Desert in Saudi Arabia, they started digging wells, very deep wells, more than a kilometer deep, thousands of kilometers actually, and they are finding water. So that that water is going from the Empty Quarter to the Jeezan City in southwest Saudi Arabia. But this is a very limited thing. This is not oil; this is water.
Now we discussed the water sources. What needs to be developed then is the agricultural policy. There is a very crucial issue here. People talk about amounts of water. The problem is, what they don't discuss is a concept which Lyndon LaRouche calls energy-flux density. It's not enough to have energy; the idea is, how are you going to use that energy, in what concentrated form, to create greater effect from that energy.
The same thing applies to water. We can call it water-flux density. So you don't use water in just any way; you have one cubic meter of water, but it's not one cubic meter of water in a general sense. It depends on how you are using it. It depends on the technological advancement of that economy, how that cubic meter of water is used. So we have to have new irrigation and agricultural technologies, including biogenetics, to develop, as I said, new forms of plants, seeds, trees, that will resist, and save more water.
This is one technique which is quite efficient: It is a greenhouse technique; it's called hydroponics and aeroponics (Figures 25 and 26). You don't need soil. You plant mostly vegetables—and this is quite popular now in the United Arab Emirates, but also in Australia and other countries. You plant the seeds in plastic containers, or fiber containers, in water, and that water is enriched with minerals, which the plant needs, and it's very, very efficient, and it works quickly, and is very productive.
The other system you have is called aeroponics (Figure 27). You don't sink the roots in the water. You keep them hanging, like the Hanging Gardens, and you flush water with minerals on the roots directly. So that way, you are saving enormous amounts of water. But also, you don't have the risk of evaporation, because you are building it in a greenhouse environment, and the water which evaporates, is recycled.
So this is very, very efficient. There are statistics on how efficient this is, compared to open-field.
In the Middle East, it's common that you flood the field with water, and then the plants take what they take, and the rest goes to God. Or to evaporation. That will not be allowed anymore in our plan! We will use modern technology, and more efficient use of the same amount of water, but by this so-called drip technique (Figure 28). This is used in Australia, in Israel. The Israelis have been very effective in developing these technologies at the University of the Negev. They have enormous studies on that.
You bring the water directly to the plant, so you don't waste water around the plant, you take it directly to the plant. The more sophisticated system is called the sub-surface technique (Figure 29). This is a modern drip system. Before you plant, you plant the water pipes, so they can reach the root directly. They don't need to go from the plant to the root; they can water the root directly, (Figure 30) you can save about 90% of water this way. This is the use of modern science and modern technology to create what we can call water-flux density, by concentrating the water to the utmost amount of use you can get from it.
So these technologies exist. I have two cautionary things to say. One, about Turkey: The impressive Turkish project we talked about, there is a big problem there, because the Turkish government, with the aid of the United States Agriculture Department, is turning that region into one of the world's largest cotton production areas.
Cotton is the most thirsty kind of crop. It takes four or five times the amount of water than growing wheat, for example, takes. And the Aral Sea was dried up because the Soviets were growing cotton on the sides of the Aral Sea. It takes enormous amounts of water, and also chemicals to grow cotton. So this is a real problem.
Then, they think it's a cheap export, because they have the water. But it's not cheap; that water is not cheap. That water, if used in the right way, is more valuable than oil. So, there is one problem with that: It is a wrong agricultural policy.
We had the case of Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and 1990s; they had an impressive program to produce wheat. And Saudi Arabia went from a net importer of wheat, to the sixth-largest world exporter of wheat.
Most of the plants are in the high area, where there is an old river, and they were pumping water.
So they were planting wheat, with center-pivot rotating sprinkler systems (Figure 31), and it's quite efficient, but in a different climate. But you look around you, and there are no trees! Where are the palm trees which would create the shade? Where are olive trees? Where are the vineyards?
So I think the Saudis should read the Koran a bit more carefully!
Then what they do, is that they deplete the soil there, and they move to another area. In Saudi Arabia, they stopped that project now, because it was a total failure. Because they don't have an agricultural sector. They bring in foreign companies, they use the water, and they export the wheat. So nothing happens in Saudi Arabia. You don't have skilled farmers. You don't have infrastructure built in this area. You don't have forests, which can change the climate, and save the water and the soil. This is a totally crazy kind of policy.
They used, in 10 years, I guess, 300 billion cubic meters of water; it's six times the annual flow of the Nile—and there has been no effect at all on the desert, over these 10 years. That water was used. It's important for nations to produce their own food, but you don't do it that way. You do it in the way we said: You combine it with other crops, where you can create a different climate, and you have variations. So you can preserve the soil, you can preserve the water, you change the climate. And this is what needs to be done.
So this is the wrong kind of policy. It looks impressive, but it's not. It didn't do any good. And they have now shut down most of these operations. There is very little of that left.
The same thing goes for the petrochemical industry. They have cheap exports. But we're going to have a study, which will be published in EIR. There is massive investment in the Gulf in the petrochemical industry—but it's all export-oriented. It does not change the land. It does not change society. It's foreign companies that come, and use the cheap gas, and they produce aluminum; they use other petrochemicals, iron, but it's exported. It's not used in Saudi Arabia. The population and the economy, the physical economy, are not affected.
We have transportation; I'm not going to go through it: the integration of this region with the Eurasian Land-Bridge.
Even the Saudis and others are building railroads in this region, but they are not going anywhere. They are going to mines—phosphates and bauxite mines in northern Saudi Arabia.
But, if we do what Helga was proposing, and what we have been discussing now, here, we can connect this region very quickly to the rest of the Eurasian Land-Bridge, because right now, it's an isolated corner (Figure 32). You have enormous ports in the Gulf, and airports, like in Dubai, which has one of the world's biggest ports and airports. But what you need is land-based transport systems which will connect Asia—Iran and Iraq are the biggest importers of the goods which come to Dubai. So they should integrate their economy into Iran, rather than going for these wars.
What I want to finish with, is the question of social development, which plays a key role now in the war situation, and the rise of fundamentalism and religious wars.
In Southwest Asia, there is a very paradoxical situation when it comes to the correlation of living standards, culture, education, and economic and financial resources. Traditionally, or since the oil crisis of 1973, these countries have been divided into two categories: the so-called rich ones, and their poor cousins. The rich ones are the oil-exporting countries in the Gulf, and the Gulf Cooperation Council, with small populations and large mineral wealth. They are also members of the British imperial club. And are coddled by the United States and Europe.
The other ones have fewer such resources and large populations, but have been cursed by the British and the United States. These are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian people, and Egypt. Jordan has been moving back and forth between the two camps.
The paradox is that the population in the seemingly poor countries has much higher levels of education and labor skills, and a deeper sense of historical identity. The former ones, the rich ones, are living in a strange dichotomy between material wealth, and primitive traditions and religious fundamentalism, mostly dominated by the Salafi Wahhabi doctrine.
These so-called rich societies are framed on the model of the Venetian oligarchic system. Technological progress is welcome, but only as a pragmatic tool of power, not for the improvement of the cultural and physical conditions of the citizens of the states, or their future missions. An educated middle class is obviously a political threat to the ruling families. The discrepancy between the small native labor force and the foreign workers, is about 80 to 90% in the private sector in Saudi Arabia—guest workers—while the Saudi youth are unemployed. They go to religious schools instead. This will pose serious questions and problems in the near future, as mass unemployment among the domestic population, and the lack of basic labor rights among the guest workers, become more tangible, as their wages do not match the real increase in prices globally. Obviously, it is difficult to sustain society with house slaves.
In the other group of nations, a great number of the best brains and educated persons have to flee these countries, due to the many wars, civil wars, political oppression, and invasion of foreign armies, as in the case of Iraq, or foreign-backed terrorist groups, as in the case of Syria today.
The economic sanctions against Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and IMF/World Bank policies imposed on Egypt, have led to the deterioration of living standards, infrastructure, and education systems.
All this has led to sending these nations many decades backwards. Our program for the development of the region would shift this imbalance drastically, as the financial wealth, mineral wealth, human resources, and skills would be directed towards one unified mission for all the countries. Youth among the native populations would be trained to join the labor force to build their nations, and green the desert, in a similar fashion to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, and associated Civilian Conservation Corps and other programs, which pulled unemployed people in the Depression era out of the streets, into the national reconstruction projects, and turned the United States into the most powerful economic power on Earth, during and after World War II.
The brain drain would be stopped, and hundreds of thousands of scientists and well-educated people working in exile, or as expatriates in Europe or in the Americas, would feel safe to come home and serve their nations.
The financial and mineral wealth, and whatever national credit can be generated in the rich countries, can be balanced against the skills of the labor of the others in the short term, and in the short-term launch of the construction process immediately. Through constituting a common authority as an executive organ among the relevant states in the region, taking responsibility for implementing these proposed projects jointly, and providing credit among these nations, rather than sending militants and arms across the borders of each other, these projects can be started immediately.
Each nation would be working simultaneously on its national projects, and on the regional projects, by unifying the objectives of the infrastructure development, and the relevant technical standards of construction and operation of the different systems. A common credit system, established through a development bank, or a Marshall Plan fund, can fill the credit gap among the oil-poor, and the water-poor countries. Nations like Yemen and Jordan will not be left to the mercies of the IMF or Obama's drones. Or just because they cannot pull together their credit potentials to launch an economic development process. A nation like Jordan will be aided to build its first nuclear power plant, to utilize human and natural resources, such as phosphate and uranium, and upgrade them, and become a rich nation within one generation, rather than waiting desperately for handouts from the U.S., Europe, the IMF, or World Bank.
Sharing of the know-how, for example, in dealing with the desert conditions, and other such agricultural questions can be dealt with most effectively through establishing a unified scientific research center, functioning under the common executive authority. Now, due to the Anglo-Saudi and U.S. policies of sowing religious strife and wars in the whole region, all the way to the Caucasus and China—the whole region is threatened by Thirty Years Religious/Sectarian War, from which this region might never recover.
It took hundreds of years to heal the wounds of the Crusades and the Mongol invasions of the eastern Islamic state, and its center in Baghdad. Even after many hundreds of years, the region had hardly any resemblance to what was during the early Abbasid Caliphate and the Renaissance that Baghdad had ushered in, in the 8th and 9th centuries. The Crusades and the Mongol invasion in 1258, were preceded by almost a hundred years of similar sectarian and religious strife; disputes and political manipulations through the region, through religion, exactly as is happening today.
This vicious cycle can and has to be broken. There are global preconditions, of course, such as shifting the murderous geopolitical system of divide-and-conquer of the British Empire, and also restructuring the financial and banking system. These are required to give these nations a signal, to shift focus from destruction to construction.
And I would like to end with a quote from a person who is also German, Helga mentioned him, Wilhelm von Kardorff ["Gegen den Strom"], who also has a clear idea what the true American System is. He says:
"According to [Henry] Carey, national wealth depends on the outstanding, perfected domination of a people over the gratuitous powers of nature.
"The more a nation is capable of increasing 1) the richness and abundance of her soil and the diversity of her natural products; 2) by perfection of tools, by which the powers of nature are made to serve man (capital); 3) through the intellectual education of her people (human labor)—to acquire that domination, the more her advance in wealth ahead of other nations will be."
So that's the requirement for shifting the society. I welcome all of you soon to read the report we are putting together. As Helga said, you can choose between these two world pictures. You can choose to be on the side of the war for the Empire, and destroying civilization; or you can help rebuild civilization.
 The research for this presentation was done by a team from Executive Intelligence Review, here in Europe and in the United States. Dean Andromidas, Ali Sharaf, Marcia Merry Baker, and Dennis Small, who made a study on the American deserts—have contributed to this study. And of course, we have to thank Chance McGee and Mathias Kraume, who provided the animation of these projects.—Hussein Askary
 Helga Zepp-LaRouche's keynote speech to the conference, "Only a Complete Change in Paradigm Can Avoid catatrophe," was published in EIR, Nov. 30, 2012.