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Excerpts: Mosul dam most dangerous in the world.Kerry:Russia taking Aleppo won’t end civil war. White House new rounds critical Iran sanctions relief October 21, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016 14:22
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(Before It's News)

Excerpts: Mosul dam most dangerous in the world.Kerry:Russia taking Aleppo
won’t end civil war. White House new rounds critical Iran sanctions relief
October 21, 2016

+++SOURCE: Al Arabiya News 21Oct.’16:”Mosul battle may cost ‘the most
dangerous dam in the world’ “.byFrancescaAstorri

SUBJECT: Mosul dam most dangerous in the world

FULL TEXT:While the battle to free the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS control
began this week, what is threatening the millions of people living in that
area could be something different from guns and car bombs, as the city hosts
what is now considered the most dangerous dam in the world.

According to US Army engineers, the dam was built on ‘karst’ foundation,
water-soluble rocks that are hastening subsurface dissolution. Since its
commissioning in 1985, maintenance crews have had to continuously pour
liquid cement under its foundation to fill the cracks, an operation called
grouting, in order to keep the structure stable and secure. Without these
constant injections, Iraq’s biggest dam would soon collapse causing a
humanitarian disaster.

According to the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, the
Joint Research Center (JRC) 2016 technical report, “In recent years,
adequate maintenance has not taken place, leading to concerns about the
safety of the dam”.

Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry says there is no imminent danger of
collapse, but this March the US embassy in Baghdad issued a warning that the
risk of the dam failing is now “serious and unprecedented”.

The main scenario analyzed in the JRC study, where the dam is 26 per cent
destroyed, results in a 25-meter-high wave arriving at Mosul city in about
one hour and a half. The capital Baghdad, 340 miles south of Mosul, would be
reached in over three days with a maximum water height of 8 meters.

“The simulations suggest that in the above scenario a total of more than 6
million people (close to one-sixth of the country’s population) will be
affected by floodwaters, with two million of them facing water of more than
2 meters”, the report says, adding that “lives, houses and infrastructure
would risk complete destruction”.

Fourth largest in Mideast

The 113-meter-high and 3.4-km-long infrastructure is the fourth largest dam
in the Middle East. While a 2007 report by the US Army Corps of Engineers
found that the dam itself was well-constructed, the underlying geology is a
cause of concern, as the dam’s location was “chosen for reasons other than
geologic or engineering merit,” the report says.

Military operations and the current instability in the region create more
concerns regarding the extraordinary engineering measures necessary to
maintain the structural integrity and operating capability of the dam.

When ISIS militia occupied the dam, the maintenance works were suspended. As
the Iraqi forces took over control, some machineries were missing, other
technical equipment were damaged.

This September, the Italian engineering firm Trevi started working on
shoring up and securing the dam, which is going to take 18 months.

The Italian Ministry of Defense, in consultation with the Iraqi authorities,
sent 500 Italian soldiers to protect the dam and the over 450 technicians
working there, apart from the 950 Italian soldiers in the country as part of
the international coalition against ISIS.

Intense work needed

The over $200 million dollar construction project has some peculiarities and
needs “an intense activity of drilling and injections of cement mixtures for
the consolidation of the foundations of the dam, as well as repair and
maintenance of bottom outlet tunnels, which are damaged today,” Trevi group
said in an official statement.

Experts believe the Italian solution might be only temporary as the current
project would require constant maintenance works in the future and that a
second dam for a cost of around $2 billion would be necessary to fix the
problem.

A source inside Trevi, who prefers to remain anonymous, explained to Al
Arabiya that a permanent solution would be to rebuild the foundation of the
dam at a much deeper level, but this operation would require longer time and
higher costs

+++SOURCE:Al Arabiya 21 Oct.’16:”Kerry:Russia taking Aleppo won’t end civil
war”,by Agence France Presse

SUBJECT:Kerry: Russia taking Aleppo won’t end civil war

FULL TEXT:A “humanitarian pause” announced by Russia went into effect on
Thursday[20 Oct] in the Syrian army’s devastating Moscow-backed assault on
rebel-held areas of Aleppo to allow civilians and fighters who want to
leave.

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia on Wednesday[19 Oct] that
seizing the city of Aleppo will not help end the Syrian civil war and may
further radicalize opposition forces. Speaking as officials from the US,
Russia and Syria’s neighbors met in Geneva to seek ways to restore a
ceasefire in the civil war, Kerry said Russia’s bombardment of rebel-held
areas was a mistake.

Moscow argues that it is supporting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad against
al-Qaeda-linked “terrorists” and blames Washington for failing to separate
moderate rebels from the hardliners. But, speaking in Washington after talks
with his South Korean counterpart, Kerry said: “Every bomb that’s dropped by
Russia and the Assad regime is radicalizing more and more people.”

“If you don’t have a political settlement you can’t have peace and so Russia
needs to understand this is not making things better, it’s making things
worse. And we have put on the table an opportunity for Russia to make a
different choice, a simple choice,” he said.

‘Humanitarian pause’

A “humanitarian pause” announced by Russia went into effect on Thursday[20
Oct] in the Syrian army’s devastating Moscow-backed assault on rebel-held
areas of Aleppo to allow civilians and fighters who want to leave. Russia
has said the pause will continue until at least 1600 GMT and could be
extended. The Syrian army has said it will last three days. Syrian and
Russian warplanes already halted strikes on rebel districts from 0700 GMT on
Tuesday.

The Syrian army has said it is opening eight corridors to provide safe
passage for th[18 Oct]e more than 250,000 civilians trapped in rebel areas
to leave the city. It has said two of them can also be used by rebel
fighters but called on them to leave behind their weapons. UN envoy Staffan
de Mistura said the truce would be long enough to safely evacuate just 200
wounded from the devastated east of the city.

‘Strongly condemn’ Russia

EU leaders plan to “strongly condemn” Russia at their summit on Thursday[20
Oct] for its alleged attacks on civilians in Syria’s Aleppo, urge an end to
fighting and call for a revived political process. A draft of their planned
statement omits the threat of sanctions, despite such calls from the United
States and Britain, but it sharpens the tone against Russia.

“The European Council strongly condemns the attacks by the Syrian regime and
its allies, notably Russia, on civilians in Aleppo,” according to the draft.
It asks them to urgently allow “unhindered humanitarian access to Aleppo”
and to other parts of Syria while calling “for an immediate cessation of
hostilities and for resumption of a credible political process under UN
auspices.”

The draft warns that “those responsible for breaches of international
humanitarian law and human rights law must be held accountable.” In it the
28 leaders also ask EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the
European Commission, the EU executive, to continue pursuing medical
evacuations in cooperation with the United Nations.

+++SOURCE: Al Arabya 21Oct.’16:”Opinion:US releases critical Iran sanctions”,by
Dr.Majid.Rafizadeh(Bio.at close)

SUBJECT”White House new rounds critical Iran sanctions relief

QUOTE: “‘The White House decided to continue with new rounds of critical
sanctions relief in order to appease Iran’s Supreme Leader’”. (Shutterstock)

FULL TEXT: The harsh rhetoric of Iran’s hardliners toward the United States
and other “rivals” of Tehran has not moderated. Nevertheless, the Obama
administration continues to soften its stance toward the Islamic Republic.

The White House decided to continue with new rounds of critical sanctions
relief in order to appease Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,
who has been lashing out at the US in his speeches.

The recent relief has come about quietly, through measures issued by the
Treasury Department, so as to avoid national and international media
spotlight. The updated measures will have significant impact on the
activities of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian banks.

Figures on sanction list are free

According to the Treasury’s website, one of the new guidelines in easing
sanctions is that “it is not necessarily sanctionable for a non-US person to
engage in transactions with an entity that is not on the SDN List but that
is minority owned, or that is controlled in whole or in part, by an Iranian
or Iran-related person on the SDN List”.

Previously, Western companies were prohibited from doing business with
Iranian politicians or generals who were on sanctions list for breaking
international law or UN resolutions.

Nevertheless, this change allows Western firms to conduct business with any
Iranian company even if it is owned by individuals who are on the sanctions
list. This is definitely great news for the IRGC leaders as it will empower
them financially and ease their global business dealings.

The sanction relief against Iranian banks remove a robust mechanism that was
in place to monitor the country’s compliance with UN resolutions in areas
such as ballistic missiles and nuclear materials

Iran can also use US currency

Moderates and hardliners have been criticizing the US for its unilateral
sanctions, regarding the use of US currency (dollar) in dealings with Iran.
Finally, the Obama administration is allowing Iran to use the American
dollar in its foreign business dealings.

According to the recently updated website of the Treasury Department
“Foreign financial institutions, including foreign-incorporated subsidiaries
of US financial institutions, may process transactions denominated in US
dollars or maintain US dollar-denominated accounts that involve Iran or
persons ordinarily resident in Iran, or in which there is an interest of a
person whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant
to Executive Order 13599 and section 560.211 of the ITSR, including NIOC,
the CBI, and other individuals and entities that meet the definition of the
government of Iran or an Iranian financial institution, provided that such
transactions or account activities do not involve, directly or indirectly,
the United States financial system or any United States person, and do not
involve any person on the SDN List”.

This is also great news for Iranian officials across the political spectrum.
Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chairman of the Expediency Council,
pointed out that the US Treasury’s action would further facilitate Iran’s
banking transactions. More specifically, the new sanctions relief will
assist Iranian leaders who have accumulated wealth through corruption, to
secure their wealth by sending their money to offshore banks.

Banks off the hook

Furthermore, Obama administration is said to have secretly agreed to remove
United Nations sanctions on several Iranian banks including Bank Sepah and
Sepah International. These banks have long been sanctioned by the United
Nations due to their illegal activities in missile financing and skirting UN
security resolutions regarding the arms embargo.

The sanction relief against Iranian banks remove a robust mechanism that was
in place to monitor the country’s compliance with UN resolutions in areas
such as ballistic missiles and nuclear materials. Last month, the Treasury
Department also granted licenses to the aviation corporations, Airbus and
Boeing. This would allow the IRGC to update its military and aircraft
capabilities.

Although four rounds of UN Security Council’s sanctions against Iran were
lifted and Iran gained additional revenues, Khamenei continued to play
hardball to get the US unilateral sanctions lifted. Khamenei’s agenda,
implemented by Rowhani and Zarif, has paid off very well. Even though both
Democrats and Republicans have been critical of the Obama administration for
the ongoing appeasement policies, their criticism is not likely to alter the
trend.

The new sanctions relief implemented by the Obama administration will not do
anything to benefit the Iranian people, but rather will further empower the
IRGC stranglehold as well as facilitate alleged illicit activities conducted
by Iranian banks and politicians.

_________________________
AUTHOR:Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and
Harvard University scholar, is president of the International American
Council. Rafizadeh serves on the board of Harvard International Review at
Harvard University. He is also a member of the Gulf project at Columbia
University. Rafizadeh served as a senior fellow at Nonviolence International
Organization based in Washington DC. He has been a recipient of several
scholarships and fellowship including from Oxford University, Annenberg
University, University of California Santa Barbara, and Fulbright Teaching
program. He served as ambassador for the National Iranian-American Council
based in Washington DC, conducted research at Woodrow Wilson International
Center for Scholars, and taught at University of California Santa Barbara
through Fulbright Teaching Scholarship. He can be reached at
Dr.rafizadeh@fas.harvard.edu, @Dr_Rafizadeh.
==============
Sue Lerner – Associate, IMRA

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