Found this WaPo story, from 2007, buried in a long comment thread:

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.

Haven't seen any mention of it anywhere else. If the described scenario is correct (both in ease of destroying the dam and the size of the resulting catastrophe,) it would seem like an easy way for ISIS to keep at bay any attempt to get them out of Mosul. Just wire up the dam and say "If you come for us, and we need to retreat, we will blow it up." 

- jim 6-26-2014 6:09 pm

Okay, guess I hadn't looked too hard:


- jim 6-26-2014 6:12 pm

Although, after actually reading it, the NYTimes piece is talking about the Haditha Dam on the Euphrates. The Mosul Dam is on the Tigris. I can't see any reports indicating whether ISIS is in control of it (or, more hopefully, denying they are in control of it.) Seems like something people would want to find out.

- jim 6-26-2014 6:16 pm

yeah but isnt most of mosul sunni? not exactly a good way to win hearts and minds.

- dave 6-26-2014 9:21 pm

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