New Scientist reports that local Marsh Arabs have begun breaking dams and re-flooding drained marshes destroyed by the Ba'athists in the 90s. This has some NGOs worried that it will backfire in areas where salinization and heavy-metals poisoning of the soil will result in toxic wetlands. If you read the whole article, however, you'll find that the NGOs have evacuated, and that they're carping at a distance. There has been no unrest or violence in the areas we're talking about - the lower Tigris and Euphrates above Basra and along the Iranian border - which means that the NGOs chicken-littled along with the rest of the flock up in Baghdad, and have totally blown their good-neo-colonial-imperialist credentials, if you ask me. The locals know their land, and even the NGO carpers admit that the breaches were in more-or-less the areas they would have prescribed. In the end, I come down on the side of the locals in this one.
Via Norm Geras and Crumb Trail.