Iraq has long suffered the consequences of the sanctions, which were enforced militarily any time Iraq posed a threat to international peace. The country was economically cut off from the world, and its sea, air, land and communications links were severed. Its diplomatic relations with other states were cut, and it lost control of its financial resources and oil exports, which were placed under UN supervision under the oil for food program. A significant proportion of its revenues were used to pay states harmed by its Kuwait invasion.
“Iraq paid reparations to the states that were environmentally and economically harmed by the war, including Israel and Jordan," but its reparations stalled in 2014 because of the fall in oil prices, according to legal expert Tareq Harb. “The government’s deal with Kuwait to pay the remainder of reparations in the form of gas exported via Basra prompted Kuwait to report to the UN that Iraq was fulfilling its obligations, resulting in a resolution in Iraq’s favor.”
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouq said Dec. 10 that the 10-year deal with Iraq provides for imports of 50 million cubic feet of natural gas a day in the first stage, later rising to 200 million. The deal appears to have been the key factor that persuaded Kuwait to call for the UN to lift the sanctions.
Iraqi parliament member Jassem Mohammad Jaafar, who is close to Abadi, gave Al-Monitor more details on the deal. “Before the sanctions were lifted, Iraq was not even able to open foreign bank accounts in the name of the government, and its economic and financial contracts and commercial activities were conducted through intermediaries in order to avoid lawsuits. That cost the Iraqi treasury enormously,” he said.