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War in Iraq Threatens Environmental Situation in Central Asia - 26 March, 2003

The large-scale war operations in Iraq jeopardise the environmental situation in the countries of Central Asia. The Obshchestvennoye Mneniye Internet newspaper reported that such an opinion was expressed by German expert on Central Asia Yuri Semmel. He claims there are enough grounds to fear for environmental security in the region.

Semmel recalled, in particular, that "as the past war in Iraq showed, the fires at many oil wells had very serious effect on the environment." Soot from these giant torches was found thousands of kilometres away from them - on the glaciers of the Pamir and the Himalayas, while the products of combustion of oil "poisoned thousands of people, having done considerable damage to their health".

For his part, German biologist Thomas Henningsen stressed that "for a whole year after the war poisonous rains poured not only over Kuwait and Iraq but also over Saudi Arabia and Iran." Black snow fell even in Kashmir which lies at a distance of 2,000 kilometres from Kuwait.

In the Western experts' opinion, there is direct connection between the intensive bombing of the territories lying in seismically active zones and the strong earthquakes which occur immediately after the bombings.

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