Impending MAJOR Catastrophe in Dam Failure

[June 3, 2024]  In a recent posting by Simon Whistler on MegaProjects, he gives us a good discussion on a topic that many might think is mundane or just painfully boring.  But when there is an impending major catastrophe about to happen in Iraq when the Mosul Dam fails.  Estimates of early deaths range from over half a million to a million plus, in addition to a massive power grid failure, spreading disease, and massive migration of many more millions.

“The worst ticking timebomb in all of Iraq has little to do with ideology, with geopolitics, and little to do with history, at least all indirectly; that timebomb is the Mosul Dam, a monolith in Iraq’s Northern Desert with the potential to bring death and destruction to the millions living down river.” – MegaProjects

Simon tells us that it is a “miracle” that the dam has survived this long.  He talks about why it was built in the first place, why it’s brought Iraq so close to the brink and how it was fixed; well, it wasn’t fixed.  He gave background on the dam, which was new to me.  I learn much about things that go wrong by understanding the past.  You can view his discussion here.

What would happen if the dam failed?

“The result would be nothing short of biblical.  In the event of a catastrophic failure at the Mosul Dam, the resulting tsunami would be staggering to behold.  A wall of water 150 feet high would be let loose on the surrounding landscape.” – MegaProjects

The city of Mosul, with a population of about 1.7 million, is directly in the water’s path.  In the towns of Hamam Al-Alil (25,000), Tikrit (160,000), Samara (350,000) and many other villages and settlements, the flood would flow along the path of the Tigris River and reach Baghdad (6 million) in approximately 60 to 70 hours.  In Baghdad, the flood waters are predicted to be at a depth of at least 24 feet.  In the best-case scenario, Iraq’s two major cities will be eviscerated.  This would become one of the biggest humanitarian disasters in the history of humankind.

In my 2021 book, Our Longest Year in Iraq, I wrote about my experience in June 2004 when I first heard of the Mosul Dam’s potential failure this way:

“The waters from a catastrophic dam failure would reach Baghdad in a little over three days and flood the city with as much as 20 plus feet of water!  Such an event, as unlikely as it appeared, would be far beyond anything experienced in modern history.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield, Our Longest Year in Iraq

What would one do as an occupying coalition force if the Mosul Dam failed?

“The solution for American forces would be to abandon the city, leave everything and get the heck out, using the most southern route toward Kuwait.  Still, that solution had major strategic consequences; we would be abandoning our Iraqi allies and their citizens, all bad choices.

That is as far as we went.  We would not spend any time planning this out because newspapers would have it front-page news the next day.  We knew the solution.  Do nothing.” – Our Longest Year in Iraq (2021)

And today, nothing is being done to contain such a dam failure.

Just like Jesse Lee Peterson says, it’s AMAZING.  This is no trivial, maybe happen maybe not, event.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

18 thoughts on “Impending MAJOR Catastrophe in Dam Failure

  1. Gilley the Brother

    Do we really care ✨. Iraq has slipped backwards into their 6th century stupidity. Are they even worth saving? That is a serious moral question.

  2. Winston

    …. and yet the Iraq’s stand by and do little. Human life in Iraq and muslim countries means little.

    1. mainer

      Winston, now that is something that Americans and those from the English speaking West cannot relate to, and IMHO they never will. We simply cannot understand that the belief in the Koran, Mohammed, and Allah supersedes everything else. This belief is also what keeps those countries afloat, when you can suck oil out of the ground and sell it. The problem is when you are Muslim and live in a country that is resource poor. Then things go off the rail damn quickly. And when American makes important policies around our values, with the assumption others have similar values, then our foreign policy is often counterproductive. That policy making is made worse when we have a president who is totally senile and lets his baby sitting handlers make the real decisions.

  3. Raw Hide

    Gen. Satterfield never fails to deliver. The world is full of surprises and the surprise in this case is that the government of Iraq that built and maintains this dam is doing nothing of any consequence to prevent the dams impending failure. Classic Middle East culture.

  4. Greg NH

    INCREDIBLE …. “The result would be nothing short of biblical. In the event of a catastrophic failure at the Mosul Dam, the resulting tsunami would be staggering to behold. A wall of water 150 feet high would be let loose on the surrounding landscape.” – MegaProjects

  5. Emma Archambeau

    More than a million might die right away and then thousands later despite any help the international community might offer. I say that rates as a major catastrophe.

    1. HAL

      Yes, and please – if you will – get yourself a copy of Gen. Satterfield’s book “Our Longest Year in Iraq” with a link to Amazon above and read it. The book is well written and tells “stories that need telling.” The book is inexpensive and worth the few dollars you spend on it. Someone else said it, but I’ll repeat it, the book has a story on every page that is enlightening and entertaining and helpful to understand what we did in Iraq and gives us a better understanding of what made Gen. Satterfield a successful army general. Telling stories, that is what leaders do.

      1. Shawn C. Stolarz

        Got my copy of his book at a book signing two years ago and now have my own autographed copy. 😎

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Yes, a great and wonderful book that tells many stories. Every page is another story that makes you appreciate what our military can do.

  6. Boy Sue

    Of course, the problem with the Mosul Dam will be ignored until it collapses, most likely a collaspe over the period of a few days and a few thousand will die. Then the Iraqis will blame America, as all socialist do, blame everyone else for their own failures.

    1. Lou Schmerconish

      Yep, nailed it Boy Sue. I never was there but if you look at the history of Iraq or anywhere in the Middle East, you will find a culture where laziness is rewarded as along as you believe in Allah. Nothing else matters. And their culture keeps them down and keeps them from rising above where they are today. This will never change and in a competitive world, that gives the rest of us a head start. 👍 Good job, Gen. Satterfield for alerting us to this impending disaster.

      1. OJ to Hell

        Lou, right! And yet they have lots of money from oil sales.

      2. Colleen Ramirez

        Sounds a lot like Joe Biden’s philosophy of the world. Just pay people off to like you.


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