The Middle East has 10 percent of the planet's land and 5 percent of its population, but it contains less than 1 percent of the world's freshwater resources. Thirteen of the twenty-two members of the Arab League rank among the world's most water-scarce nations. The effects of climate change, water shortages, and resulting migrations of people could result in an acute problem of food scarcity across the region. As outbreaks of the Arab Spring showed, a shortfall of food and a rise in the prices of staple items can have a devastating impact on the stability of the entire region. The history of humankind is replete with instances of savage conflict; however, there are also numerous instances when people have cooperated with each other to achieve tasks of expansive scope. The essay describes both the dire state of water resources in the region and avenues for using water for regional cooperation.

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