In the light of diplomatic conditions that can develop between Iraq and Kuwait, Baghdad received on Wednesday, the Emir of the state of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, on an official visit headed a high-ranking delegation .The visit is the second to the Amir (the first in March 2012), after a break between the two countries lasted for many years following the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, at a time when Baghdad seeks to expand the circle of common relations. The visit comes as an official invitation received by the prince from the President of Iraq Barham Salih earlier.
There is no doubt that the visit of the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber will be warmly received by the President of the Republic of Iraq Barham Salih, and this hospitality is justified, Iraq’s guest has many great achievements. His name is associated with history of Kuwait in terms such as the wise leader, protector of the constitution , future planner , and globally and in Arabic , his name is associated with terms such as man of peace ,leader of humanity , he may be the first candidate in the near term to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the Arab nation and humanity, including initiatives that included the highest noble meaning of amnesty and reconciliation translated into aid and the combination of the parties. He is a humanitarian before being the leader, spare no effort for the rescue of his brothers , Muslims and Arabs , and alleviate their plight in many countries throughout the Arab and Islamic countries and friendly world. He works in silence, does not boast of his virtues to people, preceded by his smile to those who shake hands, to help the needy, and perhaps without exaggeration, his generous hand extended to every Kuwaiti and Arab citizen.
Crises have passed and nations were shaken by regional and international storms, the leader and his people remained steadfast until the storm passed peacefully and Kuwait was blessed with democracy as it was. Peace was and remains the most noble goal he has successfully pursued within Kuwait, in the Gulf, in the region and in the Arab states. He is considered one of the most committed Arab leaders to carry out the heavy tasks of the ruler. He was the most present at national, Gulf, Arab and global occasions, he is the first man of initiatives, do not miss an opportunity to meet with his Arab leaders to consult on ways to resolve Arab issues. He is the most prominent Arab leaders attending the Gulf and Arab summits, traveling on shuttle flights to reconcile his Arab brothers or supporting an Arab initiative to serve the people.
Therefore, Kuwait enjoyed unprecedented Gulf, Arab and international radiation at the level of embracing the most important Arab and regional summits and conferences. It was crowned successfully by the virtue of the vision of the leader and his commitment to support national and Arab issues in word and deed. The most qualities that the West described him as the “committed man” who fulfills his promise , never gets tired from initiatives to do good and for national, Gulf and Arab integration .
He is great in his positions and decisive in his vision, which aims to establish a new concept of Arab citizenship based on brotherhood between all the spectrum and on the basis that every successful work is based on the unity of all citizens in all categories, whether in Kuwait or in the entire Arab world, who believes that in unity lies , according to his wise vision , the continuation of social peace and prosperity, and the young people , he is always keen to give them a large part of his speeches as they are the force to build the nation and to remain strong and invincible fortress against violence and discrimination, and Freedom and democracy are always the best choice for the citizen to work faithfully and sincerely for the sake of the advancement and security of his country and to defend it against every aggressor.
His actions preceded his words, and his national, Gulf and Arab achievements inspired the dreamers of Kuwait, the Gulf and the Arabs with a better future thanks to a beautiful wisdoms that history will perpetuate along the lines of the national unity, the quickening of aid, the renunciation of violence, to fulfill the promise and achievement, the support and guarantee of democracy, to pardon or forgive while in a state of power., peace and brotherhood and raise the slogan that the best among us is the best in work and the most sincere in achievement.
In recognition of the achievements of the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber, he was honored in 2014 by the United Nations and was awarded the title of “Leader of Humanitarianism”. In April, the World Bank honored Sheikh Sabah for his role in supporting social and economic development at the regional and international levels and reviving peace. A step that is the first of its kind from the World Bank to a country leader.
During his tenure, the State of Kuwait provided various humanitarian assistance to Iraqi displaced persons over the past years. They were various relief, educational and health assistances. It was welcomed and praised by the displaced and the organizations operating in the region. In addition, Kuwait hosted an international conference for the reconstruction of Iraq in 2018 with the participation of a number of donor countries and international organizations, (The European Union, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Nations and the World Bank) and ended with pledges of $ 30 billion. And that Kuwait is supportive of Iraq and stability, and that the President of the Republic of Iraq Barham Saleh looks at the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber as a “wise man” that can contribute to the rationalization of things in the region.
Regarding the visit, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) said, “The visit comes in the context of efforts to rapprochement and resolve the outstanding problems between the two countries,” adding that “this visit also comes in light of the unprecedented tensions and rapid developments witnessed by the region, especially the actions that targeted the safety of oil supplies, by sabotaging and hitting the oil and commercial vessels in the territorial waters of the UAE and the Gulf of Oman.”
A spokesman for Iraqi President Luqman al-Faily said the visit would be “reflected on bilateral relations and dialogue with Iraqi leaders on the nature of tension in the region and the mechanism of cooperation between the two countries and the Gulf, as well as joint cooperation to study the US sanctions against Tehran.” He added, “the openness of Iraq to all will help reduce tension, and there are many conversations will include the visit, including what came out of the visit of President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to Kuwait in the past period.”
Kuwait and Iraq are linked to the border port of Safwan and are implementing projects for neighboring ports that have been in dispute over the past years due to the development of Kuwait’s port of Mubarak al-Kabeer near the narrow port of Iraq on the Arabian Gulf. Steps were taken quickly to remove the differences by signing the agreement of ” comprehensive economic cooperation “amid of a state optimism to move the outstanding issues and remove the causes of political tension which would open a great horizon for the revival of economic activity in both countries, especially through the establishment of a free trade zone in those ports. In last February, the trade ministers of the two countries held talks to lay the foundations for the development of the economic file and signed a memorandum of joint bilateral cooperation in all fields. They also agreed on mechanisms for economic integration and resolving outstanding problems.
Observers see , the visit comes within two frameworks , the first is part of bilateral relations and attempts to push relations to new levels in the political and economic aspects, including activating the decisions of the donor conference held in Kuwait last year, as well as finding the common things to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries, In addition to discussing the file of compensation and the possibility of encouraging Kuwaiti companies and capital to invest in Iraq. They explained that the second framework is the American-Iranian conflict, the main motive for this Kuwaiti move, in light of the increased likelihood of engagement or friction between them and affects the region in full. “And that Iraq and Kuwait share the concern of the war and seek to find ways of moderation to defuse the crisis, pointing out that Iraq began consultations to form a axis of moderation countries contribute to the convergence of views between Washington and Tehran.
And that the visit will be a turning point in relations between the two countries and the end of prior understandings on the files and issues between Iraq and Kuwait, in addition to come out with a unified vision on the current crisis and escalation in the Gulf region. They pointed out that cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding are to be signed, focusing on maritime navigation, demarcation of water and land borders, Khawr Abd Allah file, joint oil fields, trade exchange and security cooperation between the two countries. They stressed that the file of Iraqi debt owed to Kuwait is a judicial file, not a political, among the losses suffered by Kuwait as a result of the invasion of Iraq in 1990 for individuals and citizens of Kuwait. Iraq understands this, and can only be discussed to speed up the closure of it completely to fold this page permanently.
Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah told KUNA that the visit of the Amir to Iraq comes within the framework of the brotherly relations between the two countries. Al-Jarallah added that the Prince’s visit “has important dimensions and vital signs”, stressing “the Emir’s keenness to take care and care for brotherly relations in order to develop and strengthen them in all fields.” The Deputy Foreign Minister pointed out that the Emir of Kuwait is keen to support Iraq, and enable it to overcome the consequences of terrorist damages as well as his efforts aiming for the reconstruction. Al-Jarallah noted , “The visit comes in very delicate and critical conditions in which the region is going through in relation to the continuous escalation , which emphasizes the importance of coordination and consultation with the brothers in Iraq to overcome these conditions, and to enable the region a way from the Tension and confrontation. ”
The observers from Kuwait see, “The current situation in the region and the potential for deterioration undoubtedly lead to consultation between the two countries and the exchange of roles to push for diplomatic solutions,” , indicating to Kuwait’s diplomatic role under the Amir of Kuwait Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber as an intermediary for peace , pointing out that Kuwait and Iraq have positive relations with the two sides of the dispute, but they also pointed out that the effects of confrontation between Tehran and Washington would be reflected on the countries of the region. They added that the confrontation in the region today between an international superpower, the United States of America and a regional superpower, Iran, is pushing for caution and coordination between Iraq and Kuwait in security, fearing that Iranian-linked militias will carry out hostile actions that harm the security of the two countries.
At the regional level, Prince Sabah Al-Ahmad’s visit to the State of Iraq is of great importance as it comes at a time fraught with tension and the vengeance of war due to the escalation between Iran and the United States and a number of its regional and international allies, which is of great concern to Kuwait, already expressed by Emir of the country. The current developments in the region in the targeting of ships in the Gulf of Oman, the Houthi bombing of Saudi economic and civilian facilities, and the escalation in the tone of the rhetoric between Tehran and a number of other capitals, including Washington, on the one hand, and the United States moving part of its military arsenal towards water of the Gulf , have caused an extraordinary concern for Kuwait, which sees itself directly concerned with any armed conflict that may erupt in the region, and that it could be the victim of its sensitive location close to Iranian territory and next to Iraq, where there are dozens of Shiite militias loyal to Iran on its territories , noting . Iran is considered an important strategic country for Kuwait because of its political weight and distinguished location. On the other hand, despite the small geographical area of Kuwait, its geo-strategic location in the triangle between Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as well as its huge oil reserves, made it economically and materially valuable.
The bottom line: Despite the years of rupture caused by Saddam Hussein’s regime by invading Kuwait on August 2, 1990, and the consequent effects and consequences, the waters of Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations are getting back on track with increasing momentum in recent times. On June 12, 2013, Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah paid an official visit to Baghdad, during which six memorandums of understanding were signed. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari visited Kuwait in May 2013. He signed two memorandums of understanding with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid . On July 4, 2013, the Iraqi parliament ratified the agreement to establish a joint committee for cooperation between the two governments to strengthen bilateral relations of friendship and cooperation and the desire of the two sides to resolve the outstanding issues between them in compliance with relevant international conventions and resolutions in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of all related matters, thus helping to create a solid foundation for brotherly relations.
Diplomatic relations witnessed important developments during recent years, represented in bilateral visits of senior officials of the two countries and the periodic meeting of the Iraqi- Kuwaiti High Joint Ministerial Committee. In December 2014, the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, Dr. Haider Al-Abadi, visited Kuwait at the invitation of the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, during which he discussed prospects for bilateral cooperation and intensified efforts to contain and combat terrorism.
In November 2018, the President of the Republic of Iraq, Dr. Barham Salih, paid an official visit to Kuwait on his first foreign visit after taking office. During his official visit to Kuwait, he held official talks with His Highness the Amir on the brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries. The two visits of the former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Sabah in September 2010 and in January 20111 to Baghdad , have a positive impact in ending the tension and the opening of a new page of relations, especially since the visit in 2010 was the first high-ranking Kuwaiti official to visit Iraq since the Iraqi invasion in 1990.
On the economic level, visits between the two countries have not stopped to consolidate economic relations , Chairman of the National Commission for Investment in Iraq, Dr. Sami Araji visited the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait in 2012, during which he reviewed the main economic sectors available in Iraq.
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies