Daily Archives: March 4, 2016

Tripoli Endorses Possible Italy-Led Anti-Terrorist Operation in Libya – FM

Tripoli endorses the fact that Italy might take a leading role in the international fight against Daesh terrorist organization in Libya, Foreign Minister of the Tripoli-based General National Congress, Ali Ramadan Abuzaakouk, said Thursday.

ROME (Sputnik) — There are currently two rival governments in Libya: the internationally-recognized Council of Deputies (House of Representatives) based in Tobruk and the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC).

“We endorse the fact that Italy might assume the role of international intervention leader in the war against the growing IS forces in Libya,” Abuzaakouk told the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The foreign minister underscored that it was necessary for Italy to carefully coordinate with the Tripoli government and military forces, to avoid any potential operation changing from a legitimate fight against terrorism into an open violation of Tripoli sovereignty.

In 2011, as civil war broke out in Libya, a multi-state coalition, consisting mostly of NATO members, began a military intervention in the country with the declared aim of establishing an immediate ceasefire.The operation ended with a decisive NATO victory, which led to the escalation of the conflict in the country and the subsequent killing of the country’s long-standing leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Earlier, in December 2015, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that the issue of an international military operation in Libya was not on the agenda.

According to the newspaper, on February 10, the Italian Council of Ministers allegedly decided to send 50 soldiers to Libya.


Pyongyang Orders Nuclear Weapons to be Placed on Alert

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly ordered all of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons to be placed on full alert, citing the need to be ready “at any time.

The announcement came as Kim Jong-un attended a test-firing of a new multiple rocket launcher, urging the military to “promptly” deploy the weapons system that can hit major military targets in South Korea.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea will also revise its military posture to address threats on a “pre-emptive basis.”

The move comes just one day after the United Nations placed harsh new sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear tests earlier this year. The harshest in 20 years, the penalties also address Pyongyang’s recent satellite launch, which the UN deemed a veiled attempt to demonstrate the DPRK’s long-range ballistic missile capabilities.

In response to those sanctions, North Korea launched a series of short-range missiles into the East Sea on Wednesday.

The announcement comes ahead of joint military drills to be conducted by the United States and South Korea which are meant to simulate an invasion of the DPRK.


Terrorists Damage Power Stations in Syria’s Hama Province

Terrorists have damaged a power station in Syria’s Hama province, a source in the Syrian Ministry of Electricity told Sputnik on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, media reported that electricity had been cut off throughout all of the Syrian provinces.

“Militants have launched rockets at the Al-Zara power plant of in Hama province, which resulted in several generators being knocked out,” the source said.

According to earlier reports, all of Syria’s provinces have been affected by severe power supply shortages.

The source confirmed that the blackout was caused by a technical glitch, which had been fixed.

The full resumption of electricity supplies around the country is expected by the end of the day, he added.

Ticking Time Bomb: Imminent Mosul Dam Collapse Could Kill a Million People

Spanning the Tigris, the Mosul Dam was briefly captured by Daesh, also known as IS/Islamic State, over one year ago. Since its liberation, officials have failed to upgrade the infrastructure. Were the dam to collapse, it could kill as many 1 million people, according to the engineers who built it.

Built in the early 1980s, the Mosul Dam is the largest in Iraq. In 2014, it was seized by Daesh, causing fears that the terrorist group would use the installation to cut off electricity or water supplies to cities downstream. Of even greater concern was that the militants would intentionally destroy the dam, creating flash floods along the Tigris.

While the dam was ultimately retaken by Iraqi security forces, the threat of its collapse remains.

The same engineers who built the structure 30 years ago have warned that the Iraqi government has failed to replace vital machinery.

In particular, the sluice gates used to relieve pressure are jammed shut. That pressure is building every day, as winter snowmelt sends additional water down the Tigris, edging the reservoir closer to maximum capacity.

In addition, the government has failed to properly staff the facility since its recapture. The lack of maintenance means that cracks in the dam’s foundations are not being repaired.

The engineers warn that a sudden structural collapse could cause a catastrophic death toll, with nearly 1 million people being killed in a 65-foot wall of water that would strike the city of Mosul. These waters would continue through the Tigris valley, ultimately arriving at the capital of Baghdad.

In January, US Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland also warned that the dam was in danger of collapsing.

“When it goes, it’s going to go fast, and that’s bad,” MacFarland said at the time, according to Haaretz. “If this dam was in the United States, we would have drained the lake behind it.”He claimed that the US was developing a contingency plan to evacuate civilians in the flood path, but Riyadh Izeddin, director general of the dam, said he was never informed of such a plan. At the time, Izeddin denied there was any danger.

“The Americans didn’t tell us anything,” he said. “There is nothing seriously wrong with the dam.”

The Iraqi government appears now to be taking the threat seriously. On Wednesday, Baghdad signed a contract with an Italian company worth roughly $300 million to reinforce dam infrastructure, but it remains unclear how long the overhaul will take.

There is also the matter of restaffing the site. Ideally, the dam requires 300 workers operating 24 hours a day in three shifts. Since recapture from Daesh, only 30 of those workers returned, and finding individuals willing to work in such dangerous territory has proven difficult.