A Cold War Over Resources in Central Asia
Earlier this year, a U.S. intelligence report predicted that as water shortages become more acute, “water in shared basins will increasingly be used as leverage” over the next 10 years and beyond. This prediction is already being borne out in places such as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (map), where long-standing distrust between the two nations has been heightened by new disputes over natural gas and water supplies.
Tajikistan gets nearly 95 percent of its natural gas from Uzbekistan. It also controls upstream access to Uzbekistan’s water supply, a lot of which goes to irrigate the latter’s cotton fields. Citing new contractual commitments of natural gas supplies to China, Uzbekistan interrupted gas deliveries to Tajikistan for half of April 2012,