Iran Invades Iraq in al-Fakkah
It was Thursday, Dec 17, 2009. Workers in the al-Fakkah oil fields (the area contains 1.55 million barrels of oil) in the Maysan province some 200 miles SE of Baghdad watched as a column of 25 cars and trucks appeared that night. Armed soliders from Iran's special ops forces quickly dispersed, pointing their weapons, shouting at the Iraqi oilfield workers around Oil Well No. 4 (which is 300 yards from the border).
Oil Well No.4 is Iraq's largest and attracted many international oil companies for foreign investment, which they desperately need in order to develop the vast oil wealth. It is within Iraq's territorial border, although, Iran disputes that it is. Yet, up until now, Iran seemed to have little interest in it. Iran has a long history of trying to prevent Iraq from developing its own oil resources thay lie near the two countries borders.
The al-Fakkah oil fields are vast and present an anomoly for both countries since both pump oil from the fields. But, Oil Well No. 4, has always been Iraqi until Dec 17. Upon the Iranian seizure, the iranians simply hoisted their Iranian flag atop of the oil rig. There were no injuries and the iraqi workers present were told to leave the area.
On Friday, Dec. 18, the Iranians left. Well, some left. Some continue to remain despite the fact that the Iraqi military has now been deployed about a half mile from the oil well, as a Dec. 19., waiting to see what happens. The whole thing is ripe for spinning out of control. Think, Iran forces Iraq's hand by sending a real Iranian military force to the same area. Now you would have two military forces facing one another over a disouted oil well. What happens should the oil well be destroyed? a skirmish?
This brief incursion had its purpose. Iran was being belligerent, showing its ability to do what they want and there is little Iraq can do about it. Since this well never pumped oil to the Iranian side, all of its infrastructure led to Iraq, the whole incursion was to put Iraq on notice. On a more global scale, the seizure alerted the various international oil companies seeking to invest in the oil fields near Iran to stop, as if it was a "red flag". Iran wants to prevent the internationalism of these oil fields as they do not want Iraq succeeding in the fields development. Iran wants to see how Iraq will respond with its US trained army. On the other hand, the episode may now show the iraqis that they do need to have some sort of police force defending their oil wells and that the Iranians cannot be trusted, even if they are both Shiite governments.
Duh. But stay tuned.