The fragmentation and poor conditions of Arab countries are more evident in the troubled relationship between a majority of countries that share common borders and the situation of the Iraq-Kuwait border serves as a perfect example.
Despite all the historical facts, all the bitter experiences and failed attempts and bad situation in which Iraq finds itself over the past half century because of its leaders the relations between Iraq and Kuwait have remained tense.
Because of the turbulent situation in the region, perhaps time has come for Iraq to recognize that it is much better for it not only to coexist with Kuwait, but also cooperate with it on all fronts, because Kuwaiti is a best neighbor and a partner, and it seems that the recent political developments and visits between the two countries finally witness a positive development in this direction.
In Kuwait we have been affected by our neighbor Iraq and Iraq has been affected more than us by the bad relationship with us, in light of the continued development of the situation in Kuwait for the betterment and stability which was declining in Iraq. It was necessary to put an end to this deterioration, and this was the vision of the wise leadership about the Iraqi situation.
The deteriorated and poor Iraq harms Kuwait and vice-versa. Therefore Kuwait has hosted more than one conference to support and reconstruct Iraq and urged its people for assistance. We share one Arab destiny at the geographical and popular level and this truth cannot be changed in any way.
The tension or weakness of the relationship between the two countries is found in more than one picture. There is almost no land and air trips and same applied in navigation between the two countries despite the length of the border between them.
Every country also places obstacles during exchange of visits by its citizens. Had the Iraqi side paid a visit to Safwan border port on its side to see how miserable the situation is, they would see how much it has deteriorated the border port of Kuwait.
These two ports can play an important role in developing trade between the two sides and activating dozens of agreements and understandings old and the new ones signed between the parties. Basra and the various cities in southern Iraq mean a lot to many Kuwaiti families, the gate of southern Iraq is so close to us as a door to door not more than two hours and this has a role in the development and strengthening the relationships, and contribute to fill Iraq’s need for services, and meet the needs in the fastest way and lowest costs.
Kuwait is also an important Gulf hub for religious tourism in Iraq and the establishment of a free trade zone between the two countries will revive the economies of the two parties in a big way. Iraq can benefit greatly from the spirit of the Kuwaiti trader and his love to invest in areas outside his homeland.
The ports of Kuwait can also be exploited for the passage of products to and from Iraq, particularly to its southern cities, which lack almost everything. The visit of the Minister of Commerce and Trade Khalid Al-Roudhan to Iraq has revived the hope of resolving the situation and restoring the relations between the two countries and put them on the right track which has not been so in the recent past — normal and serving the interests of both countries above any consideration.
The visit of the Speaker of the National Assembly, followed by the visit of the Minister of Commerce is not less important, especially from the political point of view to strengthen the relationship between the two systems and to push Iraq to be ‘independent’ in its decision-making away from regional polarizations.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf