Cooperating Rivals

The Riparian Politics of the Jordan River Basin

By Jeffrey K. Sosland

Subjects: Environmental Politics
Series: SUNY series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9780791472026, 310 pages, June 2008
Hardcover : 9780791472019, 310 pages, August 2007

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Table of contents

List of Maps,Tables and Figures
1. Introduction
2. State-Building and Water Development, 1920–1956
3. Water Development and Conflict, 1957–1967
4. The Yarmouk, 1967–1994
5. The West Bank and Gaza, 1948–1992
6. The 1990s Madrid Peace Process and After, 1991–2006
7. Conclusion
Selected Bibliography

Examines cooperation and conflict over water in the Middle East.


This book examines the politics of water scarcity in the Middle East's Jordan River Basin (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority) between 1920 and 2006. Jeffrey K. Sosland demonstrates that while water scarcity might generate political tension, it does not by itself precipitate war, nor is it likely to do so. At the same time, efforts to promote water cooperation, such as those initiated by the United States, have an identifiable political benefit by creating rules, building confidence, and reducing tensions among adversaries. Sosland concludes that while this alone might not resolve the overall conflict, it does create positive long-term value in achieving peace.

Jeffrey K. Sosland is Assistant Professor of International Business and Trade at American University.


"…strong at describing the cooperation of governments." — Middle East Quarterly

"…a very detailed exposé of the linkages between water issues and the wider political developments and conflicts." — Middle East Journal

"…detailed, well-documented account." — CHOICE

"Cooperating Rivals is by far the most detailed and profound analysis of the complex geopolitical, political, and hydrological interrelationships between countries and their leaders on the Jordan River Basin." — Hillel Shuval, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"I especially like Sosland's ability to pull together and weave into one coherent narrative all of the relevant information on this complicated subject. This includes not only technical hydrological data, but also the political and economic concerns of the various state parties and political groups such as the PLO, and the relationship of water issues to improving or harming the chances for a peaceful solution of the various Arab-Israel disputes." — George E. Gruen, Columbia University