Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Return to the Marshes

By Ali Abu Iraq
  • Thousands of Marsh Arabs have returned to the wetlands of southern Iraq to revive an ancient way of life disrupted by the draining of their habitat.
    Thousands of Marsh Arabs have returned to the wetlands of southern Iraq to revive an ancient way of life disrupted by the draining of their habitat.
  • Irrigation dykes and ditches built by Saddam Hussein have been destroyed, sending water flooding back into the marshes.
    Irrigation dykes and ditches built by Saddam Hussein have been destroyed, sending water flooding back into the marshes.
  • However, much of the water is too salty and too polluted to be of any use. The Marsh Arabs accuse the authorities of neglecting their basic needs.
    However, much of the water is too salty and too polluted to be of any use. The Marsh Arabs accuse the authorities of neglecting their basic needs.
  • The Marsh Arabs have lived for millennia by fishing and grazing cattle in the fertile delta of southern Iraq.
    The Marsh Arabs have lived for millennia by fishing and grazing cattle in the fertile delta of southern Iraq.
  • Some historians believe the Marsh Arabs to be the descendants of the ancient Sumerian civilization that once dominated this part of Iraq.
    Some historians believe the Marsh Arabs to be the descendants of the ancient Sumerian civilization that once dominated this part of Iraq.
  • The carcass of an abandoned Saddam-era tank slumps in the water recently re-introduced to the marches.
    The carcass of an abandoned Saddam-era tank slumps in the water recently re-introduced to the marches.