Friday, August 05, 2005
Iraq and Kuwait are at it again
Iraqi legislators accused Kuwait of stealing their oil as well as chipping away at their national territory on the border — allegations similar to those used by Saddam Hussein to justify his invasion of Kuwait that began 15 years ago Tuesday.
An Iraqi delegation was scheduled to head to Kuwait on Wednesday discuss the incidents along the Kuwaiti border
"There have been violations such as digging horizontal oil wells to pump Iraq oil," legislator Jawad al-Maliki, chairman of the parliament's Security and Defense Committee, told the National Assembly on Tuesday.
In such horizontal wells, instead of drilling straight down, Kuwaitis would drill at an angle either going into subterranean Iraqi territory or sucking oil out of pools from Iraqi territory. He also said Kuwaitis have taken territories up to half a mile inside Iraq.
Relations between Iraq and Kuwait resumed after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam and border points were reopened.
"There has been a border problem with Kuwait since the Iraqi state was established," legislator Mansour al-Basri said. "We hope that these border problems will be solved according to historical and geographical basis."
He accused Kuwaitis of even taking the deep water side of the Umm Qasr port where giant ships dock.
Hundreds of Iraqis demonstrated at the frontier last week to stop Kuwait from building a metal barrier between the two countries. Shots were fired across the border into Kuwait, but no one was injured and Kuwaiti border guards did not return fire.
Now let's hear it from the Kuwaiti side—
On Saturday, a Kuwaiti official said a number of Iraqi homes and farms have slightly "encroached" into Kuwait at the border area of Umm Qasr in southern Iraq. The officials said they want to resolve the border issue in negotiations.
Some farms that belonged to Iraqis were razed when the United Nations redrew the border in 1993, two years after a U.S.-led international coalition fought the Gulf War that ended a seven-month Iraqi occupation of this country that began with Saddam's Aug. 2, 1990 invasion. The Iraqi owners were compensated.
Kuwait insists the pipeline barrier, meant to stop vehicles from illegally crossing through the desert, is on its side of the frontier. The U.N. demarcation also gave Kuwait 11 oil wells and an old naval base that used to be in Iraq.
All this had been contained, if not resolved, until the U.S. invasion—
When Saddam was still in power, Kuwait built a defensive trench along the 130-mile border to stop border infiltration from both sides. U.N. peacekeepers patrolled the frontier until just before the invasion of Iraq.Think of it as just one more benefit of the war.