Oil, Power and Ports: Iraq and Kuwait Bicker Over Border Areas

According to lawmakers, the border area between Kuwait and Iraq should no longer be disputed territory. However Iraqi locals see it differently and accuse Kuwait of blocking their waterways, stealing their oil and teaching their children untruths about the area, according to this report from Niqash.

As dusk falls along the southern borders that Iraq shares with Kuwait, the lights of the Kuwaitis mining gas and oil in the region begin to glow. But the pretty scenery hides a spot with a particularly troubled history and, it seems, a troubled future.

The area, about 40 kilometres west of Basra, was the subject of United Nations Security Council Resolution 833, adopted in 1993, which precisely marked the previous borders between Iraq and Kuwait following a ceasefire agreement after Iraq’s invasion of its neighbour. In 2004 the Kuwaiti authorities built a multi-million dollar metal barrier along the border that stretches over 200 kilometres.

The resolution saw a significant amount of land, hosting both oil wells and agriculture such as tomato farms, passed from Iraq to Kuwait, as well as the establishment of a wide zone of neutrality between the two countries. Various issues are still disputed and Basra’s citizenry has also complained that the Kuwaitis took advantage of Iraq’s internal turmoil, following the 2003 US-led invasion of their country, to exploit resources on the shared border.

A high ranking official in the Safwan area, where the border is, told NIQASH that locals are not happy with either the Kuwaitis or the Iraqi federal government. They describe “the unjust demarcation of borders as well as their government’s reluctance to put an end to this injustice,” said the official, who had had some of his own land confiscated when the new border was marked out.

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