The Azrkan oil field between Iran and Iraq
Since reconciliation with the West, Tehran has rushed to sign several contracts...
Tehran’s rush to sign oil contracts with Western companies is unsurprising. Oil is behind reconciliation with the West and fighting with the Arabs.
What is troubling, however, is that Iran is focusing on disputed or shared areas, such as a common field with Iraq, which will increase suspicions that the deals will include secret clauses.
The Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s was due to a border dispute mostly over oil regions. Iran still wants to control them in order to control Baghdad.
Since reconciliation with the West, Tehran has rushed to sign several contracts with companies, the most important regarding the border with Iraq, such as the southern Azrkan field.
Questions have been raised about Baghdad’s ability to represent and protect Iraqi interests such as borders, water and oil, in light of its weakness. Tehran’s support for opposition political forces and militias in Iraq is one of the reasons behind the failure of Iraq’s government.
The Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s was due to a border dispute mostly over oil regions. Iran still wants to control them in order to control BaghdadAbdulrahman al-Rashed
With Baghdad’s weakness, the absence of the role of parliament, and Iranian control of militias that compete with Iraq’s army, Tehran seems unconcerned by Iraqi and international public opinion.
The absence of transparency that accompanied the declaration of oil deals between Tehran and Western companies is raising questions, especially with Iranian encroachment into Iraq, and the diversion of river waters that is angering Iraqis dependent on agriculture.
Iran’s persistence in dominating and weakening Iraq resembles what Damascus did in Lebanon for 30 years. This will revive conflict and hostility. Iran thinks it won its regional conflict because the West lifted sanctions in exchange for its retreat from its nuclear program, and this explains its involvement in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. However, Iraq is a big country, and will not be easy for Tehran to dominate.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on April 01, 2016.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.