Buffalos walk in an empty riverbed in Umm Abbasiyat, some 60 kilometers east of Najaf.
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Dozens of water buffalo in Iraq's southeastern wetlands have perished because of low water levels in the marshes, threatening the livelihoods of a community of marsh dwellers that has made the area its home for millennia. Water levels in the marshes have fallen a third from their peak at 1.30 meters. Just as important, water salinity has nearly doubled, said Raad Habib, head of the Chibayish Organization for Environmental Tourism.Saddam Hussein accused the Marsh Arabs of treachery during the 1980-88 War with Iran and later drained the marshes to flush out rebels.Iraq's Marsh Arabs live amid a flat landscape of water and grasses near the border with Iran.
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