- Crisis in Iraq August 7
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized control of Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam today, The New York Times reports. If that sounds familiar, that's because on Sunday there were also reports that ISIS had seized this incredibly strategic asset from forces loyal to Kurdistan, the semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq. We'll see if the Kurds can take it back this time, too.
[S]cientists say the destruction or failure of the Mosul Dam could unleash up to 50 million gallons of water per second on Mosul, covering more than half of Iraq's second-largest city under 25 meters of water within hours and deluging Baghdad under four meters of water inside of three days. So there's that. It's also a staggeringly easy piece of infrastructure to compromise, thanks to an unstable, water-soluble foundation that needs constant reinforcement to preserve its structural integrity. That shoddy craftsmanship earned it the title of "most dangerous dam in the world," in a 2006 assessment by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. [Foreign Policy]
If it's true that ISIS has taken the dam this time, then the Corps of Engineers' assessment will have double resonance indeed.- -
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How to be the star of a cocktail party where you don't know anyone
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The girl who wouldn't die
Subscribe to the Week