Xpat Weekly Update: The 5 Most Important Global Stories This Week

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1. Never Mind ISIS: Iraq Engineers Warn Mosul Dam Could Fail Any Time, Killing Millions

Iraqi engineers warned the risk of the imminent collapse of the Mosul Dam, and the consequent death toll, could be even worse than previously reported. Pressure on the dam’s already-compromised structure is building rapidly as winter snows melt and more water flows into the reservoir, bringing it up to its maximum capacity. At the same time, the sluice gates used to relieve that pressure are jammed shut.

The dam is a victim of neglect under Saddam, a victim of inattention during the massive failed U.S. reconstruction of Iraq, and a victim of corruption siphoning off needed funds in post-war Iraq. The Iraqi government has finally signed a contract with an Italian firm to work on the dam, though the question of whether this is too little, too late, looms.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has warned American citizens to be prepared to evacuate on short notice.

The Guardian

2. ISIS “Spreading Like Cancer” Among Waves of Refugees says NATO Commander

Fanning the flames of an already frightened and divided Europe, U.S. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, accused Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of “weaponizing” the refugee crisis as a means of attacking the West.

Breedlove stated ISIS is “spreading like a cancer” within the wave of refugees fleeing conflict for the safety of Europe. Breedlove offered no concrete information on how he came to his conclusions; however, Human Rights Watch said that the remarks reflect the refugee crisis “through a military prism” and that the number of refugees sympathetic to extremist groups is equivalent to “needles in haystacks.”


3. G-20 Meeting Leaves Investors Unimpressed

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 nations promised at their meeting this week in Shanghai to use “all tools” at their disposal to bolster weak global growth, now at its lowest level in two years. They also vowed not to devalue their currencies to boost exports, while acknowledging the general need to do something to boost growth. Markets searched for positive news after the meeting ended without any specific pledges for joint action.

New York Times I

4. Super Tuesday in America: What it Means Going Forward

The lengthy American presidential primary process moved forward this week with Super Tuesday, a mix of eleven Republican and eleven Democratic primaries and caucuses.

The contests produced results that for the first time suggest, with little argument, that it will be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominees. Though there is much voting to go before this summer’s official nominating conventions, both leading candidates emerged stronger than their rivals. In particular, the path forward for Democrat Bernie Sanders seems dark; Clinton has massive wins likely ahead of her in states like California and New York that will leave her untouchable.

On the Republican side, some feel Ted Cruz might still have a chance to close the gap with Trump. Marco Rubio, however, lost every state bar one Tuesday, and appears to have slipped out of contention. The next significant set of primaries is March 15, in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio. If Rubio loses Florida, and Kasich Ohio, their home states, both men will feel pressure to drop out of the race.

Salon on Trump

5. Turkey Threatens Syrian Peace Accord

Despite much talk about the “progress” foreseen in the Syrian Peace Accord, it will be challenged by a number of factors. Chief among these are the absence of ISIS from any of the negotiations; one must negotiate peace with those one is fighting after all.

In addition, the many regional sub-struggles surrounding the war in Syria and Iraq loom large. Specifically, Turkish military attacks on U.S.-supported Syrian Kurdish groups and the possibility of Turkish and Saudi ground troops entering Syria could end the fragile peace accord in spectacular fashion. The introduction of Turkish and Saudi ground forces would also likely drag Iranian forces into the growing pool of misery of the Syrian people. Read more at..


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