Iraq Accuses Kuwait of Stealing Oil : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Worldwide News

Iraq Accuses Kuwait of Stealing Oil

Associated Press

BAGHDAD -- Iraq accused Kuwait on Thursday of digging wells that allow it to steal Iraqi oil and warned that it will take proper measures to stop its neighbor's actions.

'The rulers of Kuwait have been, in the past few years, digging oil wells aimed at bleeding reserves in the border area,' the official Iraqi News Agency quoted Oil Minister Amer Mohammed Rashid as saying.

The statement came one day after Rashid announced that Iraq, which sits on the world's second largest oil reserves after those of Saudi Arabia, would not be able to reach its goal of pumping 3.4 million barrels a day by the end of the year due to non-availability of spare parts and materials.

'Iraq is following this matter closely and will take the proper measures to secure its rights over its oil wealth and to invest such wealth to serve its people ... not the American plots,' Rashid told the agency.

Rashid did not give further details but his deputy, Faiz Abdellah Shahin, told al-Zawra weekly that Kuwait 'has been stealing Iraqi oil from the Rumaila and Zubair oil fields.' He said his ministry is working on preventive measures to reduce or stop the 'migration of Iraqi oil to the Kuwaiti side' but did not elaborate.

Under a U.N. demarcation plan following the 1991 Gulf War, Kuwait gained parts of the Rumaila oil fields.

Iraq has historically accused Kuwait of stealing its oil, one of the justifications it made for invading its neighbor in 1990. But Kuwaiti officials have repeatedly denied the claims and accused Iraq of still entertaining hostile ambitions against its territories.

The allegations come amid turmoil in the oil market following a steady increase in crude prices. The price surge sent angry protesters in many European countries into the streets demanding lower fuel prices

-- Martin Thompson (, September 14, 2000


Oh, oh! This is l990 and the pre Gulf War period all over again.

-- Wellesley (, September 14, 2000.

As I mentioned on another thread, George Bush
is involved with the company that sold Kuwait
the drilling equipment that allowed them to
drill on an angle, under the border, to steal
Iraq's oil in the rich Rumallah fields.

-- spider (, September 14, 2000.

Thursday September 14, 10:27 PM 7 U.S. says it is ready to use force against Iraq By Jonathan Wright

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States warned Iraq on Thursday it stood ready to use military force if Baghdad threatens its neighbours, after Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing its oil and an Iraqi jet violated Saudi air space.

"We do have a credible force in the region and are prepared to use it in an appropriate way at a time of our choosing," Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told a news conference.

She said the U.S. military option came into play "if there are attacks or provocations against the Kurds in the north, if there are threats against the neighbours and against our forces or a reconstitution of the weapons of mass destruction."

Albright, speaking on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, was sceptical of the Iraqi allegation against Kuwait and said the United States disapproved of Russian plans to start civilian flights into Baghdad.

"After almost 10 years of dealing with this issue, I genuinely have trouble believing one word out of the mouth of any Iraqi," she said. A senior aide said she was referring to Iraqi officials, not to Iraqis in general.

A State Department official said earlier on Thursday that an Iraqi military plane flew briefly over Saudi Arabia last week in an incursion Washington saw as a possible attempt to create a crisis during the U.N. Millennium Summit in New York.

"One question that people have is whether these overflights have not been carefully orchestrated in order to create a confrontational atmosphere during the Millennium Summit and during the General Assembly," Albright said.

The New York Times on Thursday said the September 4 incursion over Saudi Arabia was the first in nearly a decade.

A Pentagon spokesman would say only that Iraqi planes entered the southern "no-fly" zone that day, and that British and American planes which patrol that area did not respond because they were not flying at the time.


But on Thursday, the allied planes bombed a radar site in southern Iraq because of "a series of provocations" over the past several days including Iraq firing surface-to-air missiles, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley said.

Iraq sparked concern in the international community on Thursday when it resurrected an old complaint against Kuwait, saying it would take unspecified measures to stop what it called sabotage and theft of Baghdad's oil.

"Iraq will take suitable measures which will guarantee its and the Arab nations' rights to control its oil wealth and employ it for the interest of the whole Arab nation rather than achieve vicious American policy," Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed said, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheik Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah denied the allegation. "We haven't stolen anything. If you take from your own land it can't be stealing," he told Reuters.

The United States is watching Iraq closely but at the moment there did not appear to be any troop movements that appeared out of the ordinary, Quigley said.

"This is a time of year that we pay particular attention to what is going on inside Iraq," he said.

It is typically at the end of Iraq's military training cycle when Baghdad tends to become more aggressive, U.S. defence officials said, noting the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The United States was watching for Iraqi military activity that appeared "larger, longer lasting ... that might prove to be an indicator of potential hostile action against either a neighbouring nation or against his (Saddam's) own people in the north or the south," he said.


"So far we have not seen an indication that is out of character of the sort of activity that you would see this time of year in conjunction with their normal training cycle, we'll continue to watch very carefully," he added.

Asked about Russian plans to start an air service to Baghdad, Albright said: "We disagree with those who wish to fly into Iraq and I will make that clear when I see (Russian Foreign Minister Igor) Ivanov in a little while and I don't think it's a good idea."

Commercial flights would erode the U.N. sanctions, which the United States wants to maintain as long as Iraq does not let U.N. inspectors monitor its weapons programs.

On military action, Quigley said: "I think that we have a variety of means at our disposal to take action, if we so choose to do so, against any aggressive acts that Saddam would impose, either on a neighbour or on his people.

Iraq does not recognise the no-fly zones which were established by Western nations after the 1991 Gulf War to protect a Kurdish enclave in the north and Shi'ite Muslims in the south from potential attacks by Iraqi troops.

U.S. and British jets regularly patrol those areas from bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey.

Iraq has made more than 150 violations of the no-fly zones, mostly in the south, since December 1998 when the United States and Britain bombed Iraq, saying Saddam was obstructing the work of the U.N. weapons inspection agency.

-- Martin Thompson (, September 14, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ