Kuwait MPs urge military alertness as waterway dispute with Iraq fumes

Kuwait’s National Assembly (parliament)

Baghdad ( Kuwaiti parliamentarians on Monday urged the country’s defense authorities to be alert as a controversy escalates in Kuwait and Iraq regarding sovereignty at a common waterway, Kuwaiti independent newspaper al-Jarida reported.

Among other MPs, Askar al-Anzi, chairman of the parliament’s defense committee, urged the government to “take seriously” Iraqi protests against the deal between both governments over maritime activity in Khawr Abdallah bay, the paper reported.

The MP demanded to “raise the degree of alert at all regions and take all security measures for any emergency so as to avoid repeating the brutal, Saddam Hussein-esque invasion (of Kuwait) in 1990,” it added.

“Khour Abdallah is Kuwaiti based on resolutions and international treaties accredited by the United Nations and the UN Security Council. Kuwait is not ceding its borders and sovereignty,” Anzi was quoted as saying in press statements.

He urged the assembly’s defense and foreign affairs panels to convene and discuss “dangers” to Kuwait from that crisis, adding that “Iraqi threats” require a foreign ministry campaign to assert the kingdom’s claim to the estuary.

Kuwaiti and Iraqi water borders had been demarcated in a UN-sponsored agreement in 1993, and provisions of the agreement were reasserted under former Iraqi premier Nouri al-Maliki in 2013.

Earlier this month, the Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi ordered to reinforce the 2013 agreement which organizes maritime activity in the waterway. He had later shrugged off politicians accusations of treason and of ceding Iraqi water borders. Abadi argued that the latest decree was only related to organizing navigation in the bay rather than demarcating the borders.

On Sunday, Iraqi parliamentarians said they had collected more than 80 signatures on a petition demanding to revoke or amend the 2013 agreement, a number of signatures that is understandably enough to require a session on the issue.

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