Iraq Charges Iran with Occupying Maysan Oil Well

Al-Sharq al-Awsat [The Middle East] reports in Arabic that 11 Iranian troops occupied a small oil well on the Iraqi side of the border in Maysan province east of Amara, and raised the Iranian flag over it. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called the Iranian ambassador on the mat about this action, demanding an explanation and pledging to pursue diplomatic rather than military means to resolve the dispute.

Alone of the sources I read in Arabic, al-Sharq al-Awsat notes that the border between Iraq and Iran at that juncture is still unsettled and that a binational commission is attempting to draw a definitive border. Although Iraq has been pumping oil from the disputed al-Fakka well since 1974, it is therefore possible that Iran considers the well on the Iranian side of the unsettled border. The border between the two countries goes back to Ottoman times and so often was not specified with precision. The 8-year-long Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 also involved the border being pushed back and forth by long army lines.

Interestingly, Iran denied the reports.

My guess is that if the incident occurred, it is a form of bargaining over the final shape of Iran-Iraq borders and an attempt to extract from Iraq some war reparations of the sort that the international community awarded Kuwait but not to Iran, which Iraq invaded in a naked act of aggression in September 1980. There are also still tensions between the two countries over the border through the Shatt al-Arab waterway, as well.

Or, it could have been intended to raise oil prices, which it did, and which benefits Iran.

Or it could have been a reminder to Israel and the US and China that the world economic recovery could rather be derailed if Iran started pressing historic claims to territory in the Gulf and so caused oil prices to skyrocket as they did in 2008. I.e., world economic recovery depends on Iranians being happy campers.

Or it could be a way for Tehran to pressure Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki to back off his virulent campaign against Syria, a close Iranian ally.

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5 Responses

  1. I don't claim to have any specialised knowledge on this topic – but from different sources I understand that the well is not producing. Also during the Shar's time he moved the borders and this was part of the reasons for the Iran Iraq war – not that that was the start of border tensions just a more recent episode in a long running 'battle' for strategic control for land and islands in that corner of the world.
    Both sides I am sure could make 'valid' claims. Lets hope they sort it out peaceably.

  2. Of course my comment is based on the assumption that it was Iranian forces. It could even prove to be another false flag job…

  3. link to angryarab.blogspot.com

    December 18, 2009

    Iraq puppet government

    A pro-Saudi puppet Iraqi politician appeared on Al-Arabiyyah TV (station of King Fahd's brother-in-law, increasingly under the influence of Prince `Azzuz, who presumably was cured from his stalking obsession with Yasmeen Bleeth) to protest Iranian occupation of Iraq–kid you not. He said that this comes at a time when US troops are leaving Iraq. But even when they were "there", they were not "occupying" of course. They were merely roaming.

    — As'ad AbuKhalil

  4. There have been border disputes between Iraq and Iran since Sumerian times. It's really a bit disingenuous to blame Iraq for everything just because that is the politically correct line to take. After all, Khomeini was trying to stir up an Islamic revolution in secular Iraq and then there was the border dispute over the Shatt al Arab too.

  5. America can seize Iraqi oil wells, but Iran cannot ??? hmmmmmm

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