Recapture Of Critical Dam In Iraq Is A Success, Obama Says
Published: August 19, 2014
Recapture Of Critical Dam In Iraq Is A Success, Obama Says, Aided by U.S. airstrikes over the weekend, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have successfully recaptured Mosul Dam, which was seized by terrorist group ISIS earlier this month, President Obama told reporters Monday.
Helping wrest control of the dam from ISIS is “directly tied to our objective of protecting Americans in Iraq,” Obama said during a news conference.
“If that dam was breached it could have proven catastrophic,” the president said.
Obama went on to praise the Iraqi and Kurdish forces for working together on “taking the fight” to ISIS and vowed the support of the U.S. The president said the United States will work with its partners to provide humanitarian assistance to people in the region and will continue developing a “long term strategy to turn the tide against” ISIS.
Situated just 80 miles northwest of Erbil, the two-mile-wide dam could easily be turned into a weapon of mass destruction: A breach would unleash a torrent of water that would flood nearby Mosul and swamp the capital city of Baghdad, leading to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths.
Dam employees continue to perform daily maintenance, even as Kurdish and Iraqi forces attempt to wrest control back from ISIS.
President Obama has long promised that U.S. ground troops, removed from Iraq in December 2011, will not return to combat there. But in a letter to congressional leaders, Obama said he believed the Mosul Dam airstrikes were “in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”
Earlier this month, the president also authorized a series of airstrikes that successfully eradicated munitions stockpiles of ISIS fighters plotting to overtake Erbil, where the U.S. has a consulate.
On Monday, the president once again called for a “new, broad-based, inclusive Iraqi government,” and lauded the peaceful transition of power from former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to Prime Minister designate, Haider al-Ibadi.
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