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Iraq: Fears in Basra of Iran Occupying Border Oilfields | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Basra, Asharq Al-Awsat- Military and civilian circles in the Basra Governorate have expressed their fears that the Iranian side will occupy several border oilfields in reaction to the political repercussions in Iraq.

They told Asharq Al-Awsat that the reason for these fears is the political blocs’ agreement on forming a government that does not please Iran and therefore it will use the occupation of these oilfields as a tool to pressure that government and demand reparations for the 1980’s war about which it hinted at earlier times this year. The sources believe the Iranian side’s occupation of the oilfields near its borders will be made easier by the absence of an Iraqi military presence apart from some border guards units whose duties are limited to monitoring the smuggling actions and can be expelled without combat operations as was the case when an Iranian force occupied Al-Fakkah oilfield in Maysan Governorate in January, the absence of border markers as a result of the Iraqi-Iranian war which have not been demarcated so far, and the failure of the two countries to sign an agreement to exploit the common oilfields.

A military source which asked to remain unidentified asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the operations to arm and equip the border police deployed near the border oilfields could not stop the advance of a regular army if it wanted to occupy them because these are light weapons and equipment that are not fit for a military confrontation.” It added that “while the US forces are removing their military equipment in preparation for the full withdrawal of their combat troops by the end of next month, the existing Iraqi military divisions lack the ground support formations like artillery regiments and missiles units as well as air support such as helicopters and fighter aircraft and this makes them easy target in any military confrontation which is possible to avoid due to the prior knowledge of its results.” (Oil expert) Jabbar Ali al-Luaybi said Iraq “is the only country in the world which has not sought to conclude bilateral agreements with neighboring countries to exploit the common oilfields.”