Has the Obama Administration found the perfect crime that it thinks will allow it to finally grab the vast Iraqi oil riches while no one realizes what’s going on? If what I feel is building up in recent weeks over Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam, Mosul Dam, is true, Washington is planning to let the dam soon blow, or even covertly blow it, releasing enough water to flood as far south as Baghdad and take out major Iraqi electric power generation, agriculture and oil production. If I am right, it could be the most grotesque way to secure geopolitical goals of Wall Street, Big Oil and of Washington since Vietnam. I hope I’m wrong.
For some weeks there has slowly emerged a theme in the western mainstream media about the danger of Iraq’s largest dam bursting and flooding the countryside under many feet of water from the Mosul region, potentially killing almost one million five hundred Iraqis, mostly Iraqi Kurds, alongside farmers farming along the fertile Tigris Valley. The Mosul Dam structure holds back over 12 billion cubic meters of water crucial for irrigation in the farming areas of Iraq’s western Nineveh province. Since its completion in the 1980s, the Mosul dam (then the Saddam Hussein Dam) has required regular maintenance involving injections of cement on areas of leakage.
The US government has recently invested a pitiful $27 million on “monitoring and repairs,” working together Iraqi teams. How many hundreds of billions has Washington spent with its military occupation of Iraq since March 2003? At least so far $2 Trillion according to a 2013 study. Something big is going on around the Mosul Dam and it doesn’t look at all nice.
Samantha Power’s ‘Chilling Briefing’
On March 9, Obama’s UN Ambassador, Samantha Power issued the following “Tweet” after attending a special briefing at the UN on the danger and implications of a rupture in the Mosul Dam, the largest in Iraq:
Just left chilling briefing on Mosul dam in Iraq; failure could leave Mosul City under 15m of water in only hours. pic.twitter.com/FqJuC4SiVy
— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower) March 9, 2016
“In the event of a breach, there is the potential in some places for a flood wave up to 14 meters high (45 feet) that could sweep up everything in its path, including people, cars, unexploded ordnance, waste and other hazardous materials,”
When Samantha Power, the Butcher of Benghazi, sounds alarm bells about a humanitarian catastrophe, it’s time to look deeper into things. Power, then in a key position in Obama’s National Security Council, along with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were decisive in the 2011 Obama decision—against the recommendation of his Defense Secretary, CIA Director and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff– to bomb Libya on the (false) pretext that Qaddafi was conducting ethnic genocide in Benghazi. They had no evidence. It was later demonstrated of course that he wasn’t.
On February 17, New Eastern Outlook published an article I wrote first mentioning the alarm warnings of Washington about the Mosul Dam fragility. That was the first time I became aware of the enormous geopolitical meaning of the dam for all players in the Middle East game for control of the vast oil reserves there. Oil is what all the wars in the region as well as Washington’s Arab Spring have been about for one century, since the oil-grab that is politely called the First World War.
On January 22 in an interview with CNBC, Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated that the US intends to defeat Islamic State’s greatest strongholds: the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Carter’s statement came a month after Vice President Joe Biden, who always seems to pop up where Washington neo-cons plan their next war, went to Ankara to meet the mentally unstable Turkish dictator, Recep Erdoğan. Biden told Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu that Washington wanted Turkey and Iraq to “coordinate” on an emerging US military plan to take back the Iraqi city of Mosul from DAESH or the so-called Islamic State. Yet there is absolutely no love lost between Iraqi Shi’ite Prime Minister al-Abadi and Sunni Muslim Brotherhood tied Erdoğan. The Biden talks were some weeks after the Iraqi Prime Minister protested vehemently about illegal Turkish military presence in the region near Mosul in Iraq. An Obama Administration official described the impending US Mosul attack as in “hard-core planning” stages, though not imminent.
On January 28, three days after Biden left talks with Erdoğan and his Prime Minister about Mosul, US Army Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland, head of the US-led coalition against Daesh (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria, said that the US military was on site at the Mosul Dam to assess “the potential” for the collapse. Were it to be blown up, it would send a flood of water down the heavily populated Tigris river valley he stated: “The likelihood of the dam collapsing is something we are trying to determine right now… all we know is when it goes, it’s going to go fast and that’s bad.”
On February 29, the US Embassy in Baghdad issued a warning that the risk of the Mosul Dam collapsing was “serious and unprecedented,” urging people to be ready to evacuate. They added that if the dam burst, floodwaters could kill 1.47 million Iraqis living along the River Tigris.
Since then the theme of the likely collapse of the Mosul Dam has become a growing mainstream media mantra. Now, Samantha Power adds her voice. As I said back in February, something really stinks about everything Washington is saying and doing around the Mosul Dam. Since my February, 2016 article I have been mining much background on the Mosul Dam, speaking with experienced engineers and digging far back to learn how serious the Mosul Dam catastrophe scenario might be. It’s very serious. But not in the sly way US propaganda is portraying. The US Army was fully aware how grave the danger to the dam was since shortly after US troops bombed and permanently occupied Iraq.
US knew since 2007
In September, 2007, that is almost eight and a half years ago, the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory, issued a detailed report on the Mosul Dam’s geological vulnerabilities. They concluded, “Mosul Dam, Iraq, was built in the 1980s on a foundation of soluble geologic materials. Because of the solubility of its foundation and abutments, maintenance grouting began immediately after construction and continues to the present. The
US Army is concerned about the stability of the dam, and about the potential military and political impacts that would accompany dam failure.
The Mosul Dam between Tall ‘Afar and Dahuk in northern Iraq would flood the entire Tigris River Valley south to Baghdad, devastating oil infrastructure and killing an estimated 1.5 million Iraqis.
For more than eight years Washington has known that the dam, with faulty construction by Saddam Hussein’s engineers during the 1980’s, was an accident waiting to happen. Why, we may ask, is there suddenly so much attention to the dam today, after eight years of Washington doing virtually nothing to alter the situation? Were the dam to blow–or be blown, which I am told by experienced engineers would be very easy to do in a concealed demolition no one could trace—it would potentially change the entire dynamic of the long US war to control Middle East oil of Iraq and Syria. It would come at a time when the city Mosul, some 45 miles south of the dam is held by DAESH/ISIS, at the time the Iraqi Kurds are retaking major territory in the region, and when Washington encourages “Turkey and Iraq” to “deal” with DAESH in Mosul.
Only now, in March 2016 does the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announce that it has hired a dam construction specialist company to deal with the structural deterioration of the Mosul Dam. Before the recent world oil price collapse, Iraq was earning enough on oil exports to have prioritized the dam repair several years ago.
On March 2, Trevi Finanziaria Industriale S.p.A. signed a contract with Iraqi officials to work on the Mosul Dam according to the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry, in a deal reportedly worth, according to various reports, anywhere from $273million dollars to $2 billion. Even if Trevi is competent for such a mission, which they are, according to a statement from someone party to negotiations between Trevi and the al-Abadi government, work is nowhere close to starting, and when it does, is estimated to need 18 months to complete. Curiously, back in December, 2016, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told the lower house of parliament in Rome that Trevi would repair the dam and Italian soldiers, if authorized by parliament, would guarantee security.
Today an estimated 1,000 Italian (NATO) soldiers are in the Mosul region to supposedly protect the dam against DAESH attacks. Turkish military are also there as are US Special Forces. Russia is not, as Washington pressured Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi to withdraw his earlier request for Russian air support. Making Samantha Power’s “hand-wringing” concern about the potential dangers of a break in the Mosul Dam more alarming evidence something big is planned around Mosul, in August, 2014 US
President Obama authorized US airstrikes in the very region of the Mosul Dam, allegedly to push out (US and Turkey-trained) ISIS, and to support the retaking of control of the dam by Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga militias. Since August 8, 2014 the US Central Command has carried out 68 airstrikes in Iraq, including 35 “near” the Mosul Dam. Were those strikes perhaps to “soften up” the Mosul Dam for a later human catastrophe to which Turkey, the US Central Command and Italian NATO forces are complicit? For the sake of humanity I hope that is not the case but suspicions are getting strong that it soon will be.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.