Posted in jesus, Mosul, prophecy, woe

Mosul Dam at risk of catastrophic failure

Introduction & Background


A news headline caught my eye last week. It is from the UK Telegraph, and consists of a dire warning from US officials regarding the Mosul Dam.

US warns of ‘tsunami wave’ across Iraq if the Mosul Dam collapses

Iraq’s Mosul Dam faces “unprecedented” risk of a “catastrophic failure” that would unleash a wave of water which could flatten cities and kill hundreds of thousands within hours, the US has said. The American government issued an unusually stark warning of the horrors that face Iraq if the dam gives way, describing a “tsunami-like wave” that would crush nearly a third of the country.

Iraq’s power grid could be entirely knocked out and parts of major cities would be underwater for weeks like areas of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the US said. The Iraqi government would be unable to direct an evacuation because Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) still controls much of the territory near the dam and so people need to prepare to evacuate on their own, the US said.

The 2014 article from the BBC recounts the reasons why the dam is so unstable-

Instrument of war
However, since its completion in the 1980s, the dam has required regular maintenance involving injections of cement on areas of leakage. The US government has invested more than $30m (£17.9m) on monitoring and repairs, working together with Iraqi teams. The black flags of jihadist group Islamic State flew over the Mosul dam for 10 days before it was recaptured by Kurdish and Iraqi ground forces. In 2007, the then commanding general of US forces in Iraq, David Petraeus, and the then US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, warned Iraq’s PM Nouri Maliki that the structure was highly dangerous because it was built on unstable soil foundation. 

“A catastrophic failure of Mosul dam would result in flooding along the Tigris river all the way to Baghdad,” [200 miles away] they said in a letter. “Assuming a worst-case scenario, an instantaneous failure of Mosul dam filled to its maximum operating level could result in a flood wave 20 metres (65.5ft) deep at the city of Mosul,” it said.

So the dam itself is faulty and now that the terror group ISIS has captured so much land in the surrounding area fears are they will use the dam as an instrument of war. The situation has not improved much since ISIS took over surrounding area and even had taken over the dam briefly in 2014, because, as this CNS News article from yesterday states,

The situation worsened when ISIS terrorists overran the dam and held it for several weeks in 2014. Since then, efforts to reinforce the dam’s foundations have not been adequate, partly because ISIS still controls the factory that produces concrete for the dam. (source)

Catastrophic Effects of Dam Busting

This situation brings to mind two items, First is Dam Busters and the Geneva Convention, and second is the Great Tribulation.

Familiar to many people are the battles of WWII. We all know the names of battles such as The battle of the Bulge, Bombing of Berlin, The London Blitz, and D-Day. Less familiar is Operation Chastise.

According to Wikipedia,

Prior to World War II, the British Air Ministry had identified Germany’s heavily industrialised Ruhr Valley, and especially its dams, as important strategic targets: in addition to providing hydro-electric power and pure water for steel-making, they also supplied drinking water and water for the canal transport system. The methods used to attack the dams had been carefully worked out. Calculations indicated that repeated air strikes with large bombs could be effective, but required a degree of accuracy which Bomber Command had been unable to attain in the face of enemy defences.

The Möhne dam the day following the attacks.
16–17 May 1943. Wikipedia

The movie “The Dam Busters” is the story of one scientist who developed a special bomb that could skip over water, avoid the torpedo nets, and then sink against the bottom of the dam in order to explode it at a sensitive point. The concept is of an earthquake bomb. Once the bomb was developed, the Operation was a success but there was heavy loss of Allied life due to the pilots having to fly so low to drop the bombs. The Operation was successful for the British both in its short-term and its long-term effects. But at what cost?

Flying Officer Frank “Jerry” Fray wrote of the experience of seeing the Valley after the dam breach-

When I was about 150 miles from the Möhne Dam, I could see the industrial haze over the Ruhr area and what appeared to be a cloud to the east. On flying closer, I saw that what had seemed to be cloud was the sun shining on the floodwaters. I looked down into the deep valley which had seemed so peaceful three days before [on an earlier reconnaissance mission] but now it was a wide torrent. The whole valley of the river was inundated with only patches of high ground and the tops of trees and church steeples showing above the flood. I was overcome by the immensity of it.

This is the same level of damage the opening articles were mentioning if the Mosul Dam in Iraq collapsed.

The destruction was so cataclysmic that it prompted a new resolution to the Geneva Convention. In 1977, Article 56 of the Protocol I amendment to the Geneva Conventions, outlawed attacks on dams “if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.”

ISIS, Infrastructure, and the Great Tribulation

Recently, people have been making date predictions about the start of the Great Tribulation. Some have said it will begin in March 2016, which is now. FYI, it is not going on now. The Tribulation has not begun. We know this because the church has not been removed from the earth yet, which will happen prior to the beginning of the Tribulation wrath being poured out.

Setting a specific date for the start of this worst event to ever happen on the face of the earth (Matthew 24:21) is forbidden by scripture, (Matthew 24:36, Acts 1:7), but people do it anyway. Sigh. One reason we are not to date set is that continual date setting with failure to fulfill destroys the confidence in weak Christians. That is sad. It also tarnishes the study of prophecy in general, and prophecy is extremely important.

What I find troublesome is the people who make fun of this date setting. Christian mockers mocking the event’s non-event. The Great Tribulation is no laughing matter. Jesus warned that it will be the WORST time on earth, ever. This means worse than the Flood of Genesis when every person on earth save 8 drowned. Every animal died (except on the ark). The Great Tribulation will be worse. It will be blood and anger and horror and demons abounding. It will be destruction and war and hate and brutality. It is not something to be taken lightly and certainly not to be made fun of.

One reason I mention prophecy quite often is because I want people to understand that the way things are will end. We are living on borrowed time, nationally speaking. What we see in our countries will exist no more. Infrastructure will crumble. Bridges, dams, walls, towers, will come down. Governments will l dissolve and reform to form a global tyranny. People will kill for no reason, or just because. The world’s most vulnerable – widows, children, poor, pets/animals – will be at most risk. People will simply not care one bit for their neighbor. People will be killed for a sip of water, or because they wore blue that day or they didn’t walk fast enough. The Great Tribulation literally will be hell on earth.

The dams in WWII that were busted caused so much havoc and death that the World decided not to use them as targets ever again. When the dams were busted in WWII 1,600 civilians were killed.

Here, the breach in the Mohne Dam’s massive wall gives way to a scene
of utter devastation as millions of gallons of water flooded into the valley
Image: Schalber, cc-sa-3.0 DE)

Prophecy authenticates the speaker, so this means ultimately God’s word is authenticated as He speaks and His prophecies come true. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). Prophecy is supposed to quicken us and enliven us as we are ever-aware that this is not our world. We are not citizens of earth. We are citizens of heaven.

During the time of the Tribulation, do we think for one moment that some terror group won’t hesitate to destroy any dam? Any bridge? ISIS already destroys for the sake of destroying. What do we think will happen when the Restrainer has left the earth and allows man his full range of sinful impulses?

The devastation upon earth during the Tribulation will be uncountable. If the Mosul Dam is teetering on the brink of failure now, just imagine the horror of that and other catastrophic failures during the time of greatest woes ever occurring on the earth. Don’t take the Tribulation lightly and certainly, please, don’t mock even those who set dates about it. It is the second heaviest subject in the Bible, permanent wrath in hell being the worst. The Tribulation will be hell on earth and hell will have to enlarge its mouth for it to accept the many thousands at a time to enter it as will happen during the Tribulation.

Pray for souls to be saved now, during the age of grace. Be a living witness of the cause of Christ, warning of the wrath to come, in all due gravity and urgent pleading. If the Mosul Dam fails it will be like a mosquito bite compared to the devastation daily occurring during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.