Friday, December 18, 2009

Disputed Oil Field Leads To Flare Up Between Iraq And Iran


Today, December 18, 2009, around ten Iranian border guards stormed oil well number four at the Fauqi oil field in Maysan, after some Iraqi workers started work there last week. Well number four is on the Iraqi side of the border, but the field straddles both countries. There is an unofficial agreement between the two that neither will work on the disputed parts of the Fauqi. According to a U.S. officer in southern Iraq however, the two countries often provoke each other. He said every couple of months one side will go to a well, work there for a few days, put up their flag, and then as soon as they leave, the other country will do the same. He said the last time this happened was in September 2009. Today’s event was definitely an example of this as well number four is dormant.

While Iraq officially called on the Iranians to withdraw from well number four, they are trying to keep the event low key. Interior Minister Jawad Bolani for example, said it was not a major incident. The National Security Council and the Maysan provincial council both had emergency sessions over the incursion. There is a joint Iran-Iraq committee to settle the disputed border, but it has done little since the U.S. invasion in 2003.

SOURCES

Allam, Hannah, “Iraq accuses Iran of sending troops to seize disputed oil well,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/18/09

Associated Press, “Iraq Accuses Iranian Troops Of Seizing Oil Well,” 12/18/09

Al Jazeera, “Iraq-Iran in oilfield dispute,” 12/18/09

Lando, Ben, “The Iranian invasion,” Iraq Oil Report, 12/18/09

Rao, Prashant, “Iraq protests against Iranian takeover of oil well,” Agence France Presse, 12/18/09

Williams, Timothy and Schmitt, Eric,  “Iraq Says Iran Occupied a Border Oil Field,” New York Times, 12/18/09

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