Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The largest dam in Iraq is at risk of an imminent collapse that could unleash a 20m (65ft) wave of water on Mosul, a city of 1.7m people, the US occupation forces in Iraq have warned.
In May, the US told Iraqi authorities to make Mosul Dam a national priority, as a catastrophic failure would result in a "significant loss of life". However, a $27m (£13m) US-funded reconstruction project to help shore up the dam has made little or no progress. Iraq says it is reducing the risk and insists there is no cause for alarm, However, a US watchdog said reconstruction of the dam had been plagued by mismanagement and potential fraud.
In a report published on Tuesday, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said US-funded "short-term solutions" had yet to significantly solve the dam's problems. SIGIR found multiple failures in several of the 21 contracts awarded to repair the dam.
Among the faults were faulty construction and delivery of improper parts, as well as projects which were not completed despite full payments having been made. The dam has been a problem for Iraqi engineers since it was constructed in 1984. It was built on water-soluble gypsum, which caused seepage within months of its completion and led investigators to describe the site as "fundamentally flawed". In September 2006, the US Army Corps of Engineers determined that the dam, 45 miles upstream of Mosul on the River Tigris, presented an unacceptable risk. "In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world," the corps warned, according to the SIGIR report. "If a small problem [at] Mosul Dam occurs, failure is likely."
A catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam would result in flooding along the Tigris River all the way to Baghdad . The corps later told US commanders to move their equipment away from the Tigris flood plain near Mosul because of the dam's instability. The top US military commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, and US ambassador Ryan Crocker then wrote to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki urging him to make fixing the dam a "national priority".
"A catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam would result in flooding along the Tigris River all the way to Baghdad" the letter on 3 May warned.
"Assuming a worst-case scenario, an instantaneous failure of Mosul Dam filled to its maximum operating level could result in a flood wave 20m deep at the city of Mosul, which would result in a significant loss of life and property." If that were to happen some have predicted that as many as 500,000 people could be killed. Iraqi authorities, however, say they are taking steps to reduce the risk and they do not believe there is cause for alarm.
However, despite these reassuring noises, the SIGIR review found that a Turkish company, which was paid $635,000 for a contract awarded 19 months ago to build storage silos for cement, had done so little and such poor-quality work that its project may have to be restarted. One company contracted to design grout-mixing plants instead submitted plans for unusable concrete-mixing plants. High-tech equipment meant to help grouting is gathering dust because it won’t work, according to investigators.
Embassy and Army Corps officials noted that it has been difficult to conduct oversight of the project because it is in a dangerous area. They said that contracts with the worst businesses have been terminated and that steps have been taken to ensure better management of the project in the future.“Our focus is on whether the project that the Corps undertook got carried out and the answer to that question is no,” said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general. “The expenditures of the money have yielded no benefit yet.”
The more one hears about the United States occupation of Iraq, one is increasingly drawn towards the conclusion that the US occupation has been marked by an extraordinary amount of wasted resources and incompetence. True this dam has been fundamentally flawed since its construction, but the complete inability of the US occupation forces and the largely irrelevant Iraqi 'government' to cope with these huge problems is demonstrating that whatever this occupation was about, it seems to have utterly failed to bring about efficient and transparent governance. Instead it appears that the billions of dollars being spent by the US administration in this foolhardy adventure, seems destined to be siphoned off by every huckster, mountebank, and con man with the temerity to tender for reconstruction related projects in Iraq, of course this trend was set in the earliest of the days after the invasion of Iraq, when corporations with particularly close ties to Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush dynasty seemed to be particularly succesful in getting their noses into the trough.
The revelations about the real state of the Mosul dam contrasts sharply with the anodyne optimism of this relatively recent report about the self same project published by the US Department of Defence 'DefendAmerica'website
If the discrepancies between this report and reality about the Mosul dam project is reflected in every aspect of the USA's reporting of its occupation of Iraq, then its little wonder that the US adminstration are simply desperate to find a way of getting out of Iraq without it looking like a retreat. Oh and lets not forget that this is the country that is intent on poking its nose into Iran next, have'nt they done enough damage?


Anon-Paranoid said...

Fraud and waste and corruption are the hallmarks of Der Fuhrer Adolph Bush and his Nazi Regime.

It should come as no surprise that a pending disaster looms in the near future and it will cost the lives of many innocent Iraqi's and American Soldiers on the ground.

They saw Kartrina coming and we all know how they handled that. NOLA is still waiting for money to start restoring NOLA from the damage done by and after Katrina hit land.

I think that the Iraqi people better start moving out of the path a collapsed dams water would be following. At least it will give them a chance to save many lives that otherwise would be lost.

God Bless.

a very public sociologist said...

Unbelievable madness.

If the US government don't do anything about this, the blame will land squarely on their shoulders, no doubt about it. Resistance will rise ... need I say more?

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