Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Shi’ite Leaderships Obstruct Mosul Dam Maintenance | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Peshmerga trooper gurds the Mosul Dam- Rueturs

Baghdad- Iraqi sources said that Shi’ite leaderships refused to accept conditions an Italian-based company concerned with dam maintenance on the project of restoring the Mosul Dam had required. They have also rejected the Italian protection 450-soldier platoon. A source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Shi’ite leaderships allegedly snubbed help offered from Italy saying that it will lead to other foreign companies asking to host soldiers from their countries in Iraq.

Among the conditions set by the World Bank during the negotiations on granting Iraq a 1 billion 300 million U.S. dollar loan, was for 300 million dollars being dedicated for preventing the collapse of the Mosul Dam. It is no longer possible for temporary pontoon bridges to facilitate forces’ crossover with all the increased water release due to the flooding season beginning.

Sources said that Mosul’s battle would be delayed for a while now, until all military and logistic preparations necessary were completed, especially that the Tigris water level has increased 3 meters over average rate and is expected to level up to almost 6 meter until upcoming April. Once the season is done water level is expected to decrease from a 316 meter height to a 299 meter, which is the lowest rate possible for the situation to remain under control and permit the Italian company to complete the process of shielding and cementing the dam.

As for how the increased release of water is linked to the battle in Mosul, sources said that military forces won’t be able to move equipment across pontoon bridges over the Tigiris, and the artillery being crossed over plays a critical role to the battlefield in the Nineveh Governorate. The plan is not to only free Mosul, but to also eradicate ISIS presence from the entire governorate.

The contracting Italian company to which the project on the Mosul Dam maintenance was finally assigned proves that international concern regarding the Mosul Dam no longer is exclusive to Iraqi fears. The U.S. played a major role in the case receiving the attention it required and in the World Bank actually granting the mass loan to Iraq.

However, the conditions on the loan specified that the 300 million dollars should be devoted for the Mosul Dam protection mission which had its private contract given to the Italian Trevi Group.

Informed sources clarified that the metal being played around how important the dam’s project is, has quieted down after the Iraqi government handed out the mission to the Italian group. Trevi still has not proceeded with its works after a political dispute rising on its accompanying military protection forces.

Shi’ite officials are afraid that foreign companies being allowed to bring soldiers would risk Iraq’s sovereignty. The solution for Iraq’s refusal to let Italian troop in is for a security company to account for the mission, noting that it soldiers are Italian, however, have not entered Iraq as such.