Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Iraqi Dam Seen in Danger of Deadly Collapse

Hat tip: Jack and Jill Politics

Iraqi Dam Seen In Danger of Deadly Collapse
By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

AT THE MOSUL DAM, Iraq -- The largest dam in Iraq is in serious danger of an imminent collapse that could unleash a trillion-gallon wave of water, possibly killing thousands of people and flooding two of the largest cities in the country, according to new assessments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other U.S. officials.

Even in a country gripped by daily bloodshed, the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam has alarmed American officials, who have concluded that it could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths by drowning Mosul under 65 feet of water and parts of Baghdad under 15 feet, said Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub, the dam manager. "The Mosul dam is judged to have an unacceptable annual failure probability," in the dry wording of an Army Corps of Engineers draft report.

Water rushes down a spillway at Mosul Dam. As engineers monitor the structure to determine leakage, machines constantly pump grout deep into its base. (U.s. Army Corps Of Engineers)

At the same time, a U.S. reconstruction project to help shore up the dam in northern Iraq has been marred by incompetence and mismanagement, according to Iraqi officials and a report by a U.S. oversight agency to be released Tuesday. The reconstruction project, worth at least $27 million, was not intended to be a permanent solution to the dam's deficiencies.

"In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world," the Army Corps concluded in September 2006, according to the report to be released Tuesday. "If a small problem [at] Mosul Dam occurs, failure is likely."

The effort to prevent a failure of the dam has been complicated by behind-the-scenes wrangling between Iraqi and U.S. officials over the severity of the problem and how much money should be allocated to fix it. The Army Corps has recommended building a second dam downstream as a fail-safe measure, but Iraqi officials have rejected the proposal, arguing that it is unnecessary and too expensive.

Rest of article here.

I'm going to be honest with you. I'm going to put on my tinfoil hat. I think this article is just cover. I won't be surprised if the dam is ' blown', and the blame happens to come down on Al Qeda. And trusting the Army Corps of Engineers just doesn't seem to be a smart thing. On top of it, why am I NOT surprised to read that the project has been hurt by corruption and incompetence. Just another project for the War Profiteers to make more money, all the while delivering garbage. That malfunctions in THIS project could mean hundreds of thousands of lives matters not to this bunch. They don't listen to the Iraqis when it comes to oil, but suddenly they're listening to Iraqi officials when it comes to this? How convenient.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Indeed....another job for Halliburton to overcharge us for.

One of the contractors (from Kuwait) that is working on the U.S. Embassy is getting all sorts of new contracts, even though they have had several problems
with the Embassy and other projects.

But it's terrible that 500,000 are at risk. Considering the U.S. track record of maintaining its own infrastructure in recent years, I don't know if Iraqi's are too confident that it will be taken care of. If it is repaired or replaced... it will likely be our tax money that funds it... yet our own bridges and dams are literally falling apart.

With all the oil that Iraq has.... you would think that they could handle this for themselves. But the contractors will find a way to lobby American policy-makers to get more contracts.