The increased security around the Mubarak Al-Kabir port on Boubyan Island follows remarks by an Iraqi MP in the Kuwaiti press, which cited him as saying Iraqi militant groups could "easily invade Kuwait". The MP told AFP, however, that his comments were misinterpreted.
Orders have been issued to the Coast Guards and Border Security in addition to Kuwait Naval Forces to step up their presence around Boubyan and Warba islands," Al-Anba’a newspaper cited an unnamed security official as saying.
An Iraqi delegation of technical experts arrived in Kuwait Sunday for talks on the issues raised by Baghdad over the port. Kuwait has offered to provide illustrations that will prove the new port will not harm Iraqi interests.
Kuwait's Forces were instructed to increase sea and land patrols on borders with Iraq, operate a hi-tech monitoring system and to "deal firmly with any target that may attempt to infiltrate Kuwait's borders.
Baghdad claims the mammoth port, once completed, will strangle its shipping lanes in the narrow Khor Abdullah waterway that serves as its entrance to the Gulf, through which the vast majority of its oil exports flow. Kuwait denies the charge.
The new measures came following remarks attributed to Iraqi MP Kadhim Al-Shammari in the Kuwaiti press. Kuwaiti news reports cited Shammari as saying Iraqi militant groups could "easily invade Kuwait" and carry out operations if the port was built. Speaking to AFP, however, Shammari said his quotes had been misinterpreted.
My words were not a threat," he said. "I was just telling them they must speak to Iraq, and choose good brotherly relations by stopping the building of the port and moving it to another location.
Shammari said Iraq could not control the actions of militant groups such as Ketaeb Hezbollah that have threatened to target firms working on the port project. "This group has threatened to carry out military action if Kuwait continues to build the Mubarak Al-Kabir Port... If they decide to attack Kuwait, who will they ask for permission? The government?
Kuwait's Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled Al-Jarallah described Shammari's remarks as "irresponsible" and said they "constitute a major harm to ties between the two countries". Jarallah also said that the presence of Kuwaiti troops on Boubyan Island was "normal" and did not represent a new development.
Last week Jarallah said threats by Iraqi militants would not deter Kuwait from completing the construction of the port. The Gulf is the main export outlet for Iraqi oil, which accounts for the lion's share of the country's revenues, and Baghdad has started major work to modernize its outdated ports and plans to build a new port of its own.
Source: kuwait Times; Al-Anba’a; AFP