Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: The Iraq–Kuwait Dispute 1830–1994

ISBN: (13) 978-1-85207-585-9  Extent: 7 volumes, 4,000 pages, including 1 map box
Editor: R. Schofield   Published: 1994
Paper: Printed on acid-free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available
E-BOOK DIRECT LINK

RESUMÉ

The Arabian Geopolitics series sets out to examine the key issues in the political evolution of strategic regions of the Arabian Peninsula. It explores the historical background to contemporary developments in political and territorial authority. It highlights the interaction of inter-state relations and claims, traditional trade and tribal activity and the extent to which natural resources dictate national claims.

This publication provides primary source materials relating to the history of the two separate, and seemingly contradictory, territorial claims that successive Iraqi governments have maintained with respect to the state of Kuwait and its territory.

For the first four volumes the Editor´s aim has been to guide the reader through all the relevant, publicly-available documents which have shaped the evolution of the international boundary between Iraq and Kuwait, from Ottoman times to the recent operations of the United Nations. In volumes 5 to 6 of the collection attention is paid to the emerging international status of Kuwait, Britain´s role in this process and Ottoman and Iraqi claims to the sovereignty or suzerainty of Kuwait. Within the lengthy contents lists which preface each volume of text, expert and detailed commentary is passed on the significance of each phase in the documented history of the Iraq-Kuwait dispute. These contents lists also cross-reference the maps included within the map box.

HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

The territorial dispute between Iraq and Kuwait had continued for half a century before the United Nations intervened to settle the issue in the wake of Iraq´s occupation of Kuwait during the late summer of 1990 and the removal of Iraqi forces from the emirate during the following winter. Ever since Britain (on behalf of Kuwait) submitted its first detailed proposal to Iraq for the demarcation of the vaguely-defined 1932 land boundary, successive Baghdad governments have tended to insist that Kuwait must first concede its ownership of the islands of Warba and Bubiyan to varying degrees if it wanted a demarcated land boundary. Concessions were needed over the islands, or so it was argued, so that Iraq might improve its meagre access to Gulf waters and exercise full control over the navigational approaches to the Khor Zubair, on which it has consistently striven to construct an alternative dry-cargo port to Basra. The foundation stone for the modern Iraq port of Umm Qasr was eventually laid in 1961.
Just as consistently during the same period, Kuwait has argued that Iraq would need to agree to and implement demarcation of the land boundary before it would even consider making any concessions over the islands, and even then it was only the possible lease of Warba that was on the agenda. Despite the suggestion of various initiatives over the years, the dispute was never freed from this deadlocked pattern, notwithstanding Iraq´s commitment in an agreement with Kuwait of October 1963 to formally recognise the independence of Kuwait within its boundaries (i.e., the vague ones of 1932) for the first time since Iraqi independence late during 1932.
As a result of Iraq´s disastrous move on Kuwait during 1990, the impasse of the border was broken in the following manner. The United Nations would oblige both Iraq and Kuwait to recognise the existing border. Kuwait´s long-standing desire for the demarcation of the existing boundary with its northern Arab neighbour has finally been satisfied, albeit at a terrible cost, without the old Iraqi precondition of a trade-off on the islands issue having had to be made.
When presenting the final report of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission to the Security Council in May 1993, the UN Secretary-General expressed the belief that settlement and demarcation of this troublesome territorial limit would have ´a beneficial effect on the restoration of international peace and security in the area concerned...´ However, the problem which remains for Iraq is that which has persisted for the last six decades - to reconcile itself to its minuscule shoreline on the Gulf and to rid itself of its persistent negative consciousness concerning this disadvantageous geographical position. For the future security of the northern Gulf it is ultimately much more important that Iraq loses this negative consciousness than merely achieves demarcated boundaries with Kuwait.
Recent events as well as the historical record suggest that the last may not have been heard of Iraq-Kuwait territorial disputes. This appears to be the first time on record that the United Nations has intervened to impose a territorial settlement between member states. Presumably at some point the United Nations peacekeeping force currently deployed along the border will depart and responsibility for the management of the borderlands will return to the two governments on either side of the political divide. Perhaps only at that point will we begin to learn whether Iraq can live with its limited access to the Gulf and whether its historical restlessness over this question has been calmed.

DOCUMENTARY IMPORTANCE

This publication provides primary source materials relating to the history of the two separate, and seemingly contradictory, territorial claims that successive Iraqi governments have maintained with respect to the state of Kuwait and its territory. The claim maintained with great consistency since the late 1930s is that Kuwait should make territorial concessions to ease Iraq´s access to Gulf waters. Much more dramatic, though only intermittently maintained, is that Kuwait should be incorporated within the Iraqi state to reflect its former position as a qadha of the Ottoman wilayat of Basra. Six volumes of documents comprise items selected from the relevant archives of the various departments of the British Government, the Government of India, the State Department of the United States and the United Nations. The map box contains maps produced by or for the Government of India, the Foreign Office, the Admiralty, the British Military Survey and the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission.
The collection of documents is particularly noteworthy for the following reasons. It represents the first serious effort to examine the evolution of the maritime jurisdiction of Iraq and Kuwait in the northern Gulf in the critical post-war (1945-1963) period (see volumes 2-4). Since maritime boundaries have still to be negotiated between Iraq and Iran and Kuwait and Iran and the boundary announced by the United Nations between Iraq and Kuwait appears to be incomplete, the finalisation of the maritime political geography of this region is a burning issue for the future. It is the first publication to include all the principal United Nations documents (and maps) relating to the UN´s ´final´ settlement and demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait boundary during the 1991-1993 period (see volumes 1 & 4 and maps). All the important memoranda produced by the Cabinet, the Foreign Office, the Government of India and the India Office relating to Kuwait and the Baghdad Railway for the decade or so preceding the Anglo-Ottoman settlement of July 1913 have been brought together for the first time - many of these have not been published before (see volume 5). .

CONTENTS OUTLINE


Volume 1: Evolution of the Iraq-Kuwait boundary on land and sea, Part I: 1830-1936

  • 19th-century consideration of the geography and utility of the future Iraq-Kuwait borderlands, 1830-1866
  • International status of Kuwait, 1899-1901
  • The Anglo-Ottoman dispute over the sovereignty of Bubiyan and Warba islands and possible sites in their vicinity for a railway terminus, 1902-1911
  • Early approximations of boundaries for Kuwait, 1906-1908
  • Anglo-Ottoman negotiations towards a territorially defined Kuwait, 1911-1913
  • Status of Kuwait and its northern territorial limits during the Great War and afterwards, 1914-1922
  • Memoranda by the British Government on Kuwait, 1927-1922
  • Inadequacies of the vaguely defined Iraq-Kuwait land boundary, 1931-1939
  • The indeterminate Iraq-Kuwait water boundary, 1933-1936
Volume 2: Evolution of the Iraq-Kuwait boundary on land and sea, Part II: 1936-1957
  • Iraqi access to the Gulf and the islands of Warba and Bubiyan, 1938-1940
  • Efforts to arrive at a more detailed land boundary delimitation, 1939-1952
  • Umm Qasr, Warba and Bubiyan islands and Iraqi access to the Gulf, 1952-1957
  • Incidents and conditions along the land border, 1954-1955
  • Considerations of provisional seabed limits for Kuwait and Iraq, 1936-1948
Volume 3: Evolution of the Iraq-Kuwait boundary on land and sea, Part III: 1949-1957
  • Further considerations of continental shelf boundaries for the Gulf, 1949-1957
Volume 4: Evolution of the Iraq-Kuwait boundary on land and sea, Part IV: 1958-1994
  • Nuri Al-Said, the rise and fall of Qasim and the Iraq-Kuwait land boundary, 1958-1963
  • Further proposals for seabed boundaries in the northern Gulf, 1958-1963
  • Kuwaiti territorial waters, 1967
  • Armed clashes on the land border and Kuwaiti fatalities, 1973
  • Rumours of Iraq-Kuwait territorial deal denied, 1975
  • The islands question during the 1908-1988 Iran-Iraq war
  • The last concerted bilateral effort to broach the territorial disputes peaceably, 1989
  • Public statements by Kuwaiti officials, 1991
  • The United Nations settlement of the Iraq-Kuwait border, 1991-1993
Volume 5: The international status of Kuwait, Part I: Britain, the Ottoman Empire, the Gulf and the Baghdad Railway, 1888-1913
  •  The international status of Kuwait: Britain, the Ottoman Empire and the Baghdad Railway, 1888-1913
  • The limits of Ottoman jurisdiction along the western Gulf littoral, 1888-1903
  • Shaikh Mubarak, Britain and the Ottoman Empire, 1896-1904
  • The Baghdad Railway and the Persian Gulf, 1903-1913
Volume 6: The international status of Kuwait, Part II: The Emergence of Kuwait as an independent state and the Iraqi claim to the entirety of Kuwait
  • The emergence of Kuwait as an independent state and the Iraqi claim to the entirety of Kuwait, 1914-1994
  • Kuwait and Iraq-Najd relations, 1928-1930
  • Kuwait date gardens in Iraq, 1930-1936
  • Iraqi media calls for unification of Kuwait with Iraq, 1933-1939
  • Britain reviews its existing commitments to the Ruler of Kuwait, 1933-1934
  • Smuggling between Iraq and Kuwait, 1934 and 1948
  • First official airing of Iraq´s historical claim to the entirety of Kuwait, 1938-1939
  • British review of problems in Iraq-Kuwait relations, 1952-1954
  • Deterioration in Iraq-Kuwait relations, 1957
  • Nuri Al-Said, Kuwait and the Hashimite Arab Union, 1958
  • Iraq-Kuwait relations under Qasim, 1958-1951
  • Redefinition of Kuwait´s treaty relations with Britain, 1961
  • Qasim resurrects Iraq´s historical claim to the entirety of Kuwait, 1961, 1962
  • Kuwait becomes member state of UN, Iraq formally recognizes Kuwait boundaries, 1963
  • Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, 1990
  • Persistence of Iraqi historical claim, 1993-1994

MAPS


01.   Annex 5 to Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 29 July 1913: "Map to show limits of Kuwait and adjacent country": shows the red (inner) and green (outer) lines of diminishing Kuwaiti authority introduced by the articles of the convention relating to Kuwait: reprinted by the Foreign Office, May 1954

02.   Map annexed to "Final report on the demarcation of the international boundary between the Republic of Iraq and the State of Kuwait by the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission [UNIKBDC]", May 1993: map entitled "Demarcation of the international boundary between the Republic of Iraq and the State of Kuwait": shows the coordinates nominated by UNIKBDC to constitute the final delimitation of the Iraq-Kuwait boundary: printed by UNIKBDC, May 1993

03.  Map showing the divergence of views between the Foreign Office and the Government of India evident during 1941-1942 on where the land boundary should terminate on the Khor Zubair: "Iraq-Kuweit frontier (Umm Qasr)": printed by the Foreign Office, January 1948

04.   Map prepared by S W Boggs, Office of the Geographer at the State Department of the United States of America, showing tentative proposals for a division of the seabed of the Persian Gulf based upon a median-line division, June 1948: "Persian Gulf: tentative water boundary proposals": printed by the State Department, June 1948

05.  Map illustrating British Government's suggestion for the division of the seabed of the Persian Gulf, March 1949: "Asia: Persian Gulf": shows median lines, land frontiers, lateral lines and the 10 and 20 fathom lines: printed lines superimposed on existing Admiralty chart, March 1949

06.   Map showing proposals of the Admiralty for a possible delimitation of the Kuwaiti seabed area, January 1953: differing implications for Iraq-Kuwait maritime boundary depending upon whether division of the seabed was calculated utilising the following principles: i) Boggs-Kennedy report; ii) Boggs-Kennedy report principles; iii) median line between territorial water limits: pencil lines sketched upon existing Admiralty chart, January 1953

07.  Map showing further proposals of the Admiralty for a possible delimitation of the Kuwaiti seabed/offshore concession area, October 1953: Admiralty proposes "safe operating areas" in which the oil companies working the Kuwaiti continental shelf in the future might operate - "safe area" is well inside the Kuwaiti "minimum claim" area: pencil lines sketched upon existing Admiralty chart, October 1953

08.   Map showing further proposals of the Admiralty for a possible delimitation of the Kuwaiti seabed/offshore concession area, December 1953: shows maximum area of seabed which could reasonably be claimed by the Ruler of Kuwait: pencil lines sketched upon existing Admiralty chart, December 1953

09-18   Selections covering the Iraq-Kuwait border region from the series of British Military Survey topographic maps of Kuwait (K-7611), 1990: submitted by the British Government to the United Nations as "appropriate materials" upon which the Secretary-General might draw when making arrangements for the final settlement of the Iraq-Kuwait boundary in March 1991: printed by the British Military Survey in 1990:

09.   Ash-Shiqaya - K7611 5348-III
10.   Al-Abraq - K7611 5348-I
11.   Wadi al-Baten - K7611 5349-II
12.   Houmah - K7611 5449-III
13.   Al-Huwaimliyah - K7611 5449-IV
14.   Umm al-Madafai - K7611 5449-I
15.   Ar-Raudhatain - K7611 5549-IV
16.   Umm Niqa - K7611 5549-I
17.   Jazirat Warbah - K7611 5649-IV
18.   Bubyan - K7611 5649-I