BAGHDAD – (CT&P) – Islamic State militants have curtailed the amount of water flowing to government-held areas in Iraq’s western Anbar province, an official said Thursday, the latest in the vicious war as Iraqi forces struggle to claw back ground held by the extremists in the Sunni heartland.
It’s not the first time that water has been used as a weapon of war in Mideast conflicts and in Iraq in particular. Earlier this year, the Islamic State group reduced the flow through another lock outside the militant-held town of Fallujah, also in Anbar province. But the extremists soon reopened it after criticism from the media and threats of boycotts on the Islamic State from more progressive terrorists and business leaders in surrounding provinces.
The reduced flow of water through the militant-held dam on the Euphrates River will threaten irrigation systems and water treatment plants in nearby areas controlled by troops and tribes opposed to the extremist group, provincial council member Taha Abdul-Ghani told the Associated Press.
Abdul-Ghani said there would be no immediate effect on Shiite areas in central and southern Iraq, saying water is being diverted to those areas from the Tigris River.
The United Nations had said on Wednesday that it was looking into reports that ISIS had reduced the flow of water through the al-Warar dam.
ISIS CEO Abu Bakr al-Butthollah told reporters from Al Jazeera that the actions were perfectly justified under the Islamic State’s new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act, enacted last December.
“We got the idea from Indiana and other misguided, backwards-ass states located in the Great Satan,” said Butthollah. “We have to protect our employees’ deeply held religious beliefs. Our supreme court already upheld the law with its landmark decision in Unexploded Ordnance Lobby v Omar last month.
“There’s just no way that we’re going to force any of our employees to serve water to infidels with alternative lifestyles, and I think Allah would be proud of the stand we’re taking for bigoted assholes all over the globe.”
United Nations officials have reacted with dismay to the policy, as it has to the ridiculous attempts to make homosexuals second-class citizens within the U.S.
“The use of water as a tool of war is to be condemned in no uncertain terms,” the spokesman for the UN secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters. “It is just a damn shame that these throwbacks from the Middle Ages still exist in state governments around America and in the Middle East as well. These kinds of reports are disturbing, to say the least.”