2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 25 Mar 2003 22:27:56 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Experts Fear Effects of War on Persian Gulf Region Could Be 'Irreve
Environmental Damages a Concern
Experts Fear Effects of War on Persian Gulf Region Could Be
By Eric Pianin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 20, 2003; Page A21

Environmental experts warned this week that war in Iraq will cause
"massive and possibly irreversible" damage to the Persian Gulf region
and significantly add to global warming. The environmental leaders said
the ensuing damage to Iraq's ecosystem and food and water supplies may
eclipse the destruction during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

"I think it will be comprehensive damage, and I don't think it will be
localized to the area of Iraq, regardless of how precise and surgical
our bombing campaign will be," said Ross Mirkarimi, a San
Francisco-based environmental analyst who made two trips to Iraq shortly
after U.S.-led forces drove the Iraqis from Kuwait. "The pollution will
travel in areas that will compound the damage that still remains from
the 1991 military campaign."

During the Gulf War, retreating Iraqi forces set fire to more than 600
Kuwaiti oil wells, creating toxic smoke that choked the atmosphere and
blocked the sun. The Iraqis dumped 4 million barrels of crude oil into
the Persian Gulf, tarring beaches, killing more than 25,000 birds and
driving millions more away, according to data compiled by the World
Resources Institute and other organizations that monitor the
environment. Spills of 60 million barrels of oil in the desert formed
huge oil lakes and percolated into aquifers.

More than 80 percent of Kuwait's livestock perished during the war, and
fisheries were heavily polluted, according to the monitoring groups. The
burning oil fields released nearly a half-billion tons of carbon
dioxide, an amount of greenhouse gas that many scientists say is the
leading cause of the earth's rising temperature.

To date, a dozen nations affected by the Gulf War have submitted
environmental damage claims to the United Nations totaling $79 billion.
The U.N. has ruled so far on $1.9 billion of the claims, awarding about
$1 billion, most of it to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

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