According to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad the "unprecedented" catastrophe would be of biblical proportions with the resultant 200-mile long flood potentially killing 500,000 to 1.5 million of the people who live in Mosul, the Tigris Valley towns of Tikrit and Samarra and southwards to Baghdad. The Mosul hydroelectric dam holds 2.2 cubic miles of water behind it in Lake Dahuk. These flood waters could reach depths of 45 or more feet during their rampage to the south. Mosul itself could suddenly find itself under 70 feet of water within an hour of the dam's failure.
Since the dam was build in the 1980s is has required a constant maintenance practice known as 'grouting' to keep it from collapsing completely. The process of grouting essentially shores up the ground underneath the dam with millions of tons of concrete. In 2014 when forces of the Islamic State over ran Mosul and took control of the dam all of the maintenance workers fled for their lives and have never returned. For two years now the critically essential grouting maintenance has not occurred and the dam is now in imminent danger of collapse.
27 February 2016: There are a couple OSINT items that need to be part of an update to this SITREP. The first is from Bloomberg Business News which reported early this morning that all Kurdish leaders have agreed to proceed with a national referendum. In this referendum the issue of Kurdistan's independence from Iraq is an issue that will be decided by the Kurdish people themselves.
An independent Kurdistan will be born with a Kurdish-developed petroleum production infrastructure sitting on 45 billion barrels of crude oil reserves according to British Petroleum (BP Plc) data. The Iraqi government, for its part, says the planned referendum is illegal without coordination and approval from itself. Kurdistan has been exporting its own oil and reaping the financial benefits through a pipeline into Turkey for the past six months. These profits has largely been consumed by a collapsing oil market as well as the increasingly successful prosecution of the war against Islamic State invaders.
A report in The Economist supports what has been posted below, Kurdish independence is a virtual fait accompli among the resident 6 million Iraqi Kurds. What they have yet to determine is when independence will occur and where the national borders will be fixed. All of the factors necessary for a successful independent nation exist in Kurdistan. A hundred years after the Kurdish people were divided up by European colonial powers (principally Britain and France) into four artificially created national borders of the former Ottoman Turkey, Iran, Syria and Mesopotamia (Iraq) self-determination will be begun by the Kurds in Iraq. The rise of the Islamic State has been central to the drive for Kurdish self-determination and, ultimately, independence as a nation-state.
25 February 2016: There are strong indications that a specific but rarely discussed Bible prophecy from the Book of Isaiah may actually be in the process of becoming a reality in the world.
In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.”
But what is perhaps one of the driving forces at present is an American reliance on the Kurds in the war against the Islamic State. Iraqi Kurds are fighting to free themselves and others who live in the region from IS tyranny, such as the Yazidis and native Assyrians. It is highly unlikely the Kurds will relinquish a de facto independence they have purchased with their own blood.
But the Kurd's are taking their quest for statehood a step further than just de facto existence. Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq has announced that the time has come for a popular referendum of Kurdish independence. There is little doubt that the referendum will pass with 98% of the people voting for independence.
To be sure there are other important factors involved. Chief among them from the eschatological point-of-view are the fulfillment of prophecies regarding Syria (Isaiah 17, and Jeremiah 49:23-27), Iran (Jeremiah 49:34-39), as well as Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38/39. What all of these prophecies make clear is that, with the exception of Israel, the majority of current nations which these prophecies directly involve will have ceased to exist in the not too distant future. That leaves a vacuum in the region, one that a new country such as a Kurdistan, or as the Bible prophetically calls it, Assyria, to fill those territories north and east of the Euphrates River.'
This is another of the rapidly changing dynamics in the Middle Est that could have been part of SITREP A8-16, but I believe warrants a SITREP of its own given that the Bible prophecy of Isaiah 19:23-25 clearly foretells the rise of a new nation north of a greater Israel in the near future.