Iraq may claim Jordan, Kuwait

The president of Iraq's interim Governing Council has said Baghdad would consider territorial claims over neighbouring Jordan and Kuwait in the future.

    Governing Council chief says territorial issues will be discussed

     "We need our Arab brothers around us. Now, we cannot discuss this matter with them at all, but in the future, we'll see," said Muhsin Abd al-Hamid, in response to a question from a Baghdad consultative council member. 

    Shaza Hadi al-Ubaidi had asked Abd al-Hamid about the status of territory once linked to Iraq such as Jordan and Kuwait, at an extraordinary meeting of the 37-member consultative council.

    Jordan reaction

    A Jordanian government spokeswoman said Amman would demand an explanation of Abd al-Hamid's comments.

    "If the comments attributed to the current president of the interim Governing Council are confirmed, Jordan will demand clarifications from Iraq," Asma Khudr said in Amman.

    "We are convinced that these remarks do not reflect the opinion" of the Governing Council, she said.

    "If the comments attributed to the current president of the interim Governing Council are confirmed, Jordan will demand clarifications from Iraq"

    Asma Khudr,
    Jordanian government spokeswoman

    The special session of the consultative council was also attended by three representatives of the US-led coalition and journalists. 

    Members of the council, which reflects Baghdad's majority Shia population, were elected by district committees across the capital on 1 July. 

    Iraq invaded Kuwait under Saddam Hussein in 1990 and annexed the oil-rich Gulf country, before his troops beat a hasty retreat seven months later in the US-led 1991 Gulf war.

    During British rule after the first world war, two branches of the Hashemite royal family governed Iraq and Jordan. 

    In 1958 King Husayn of Jordan and his first cousin King Faisal
    of Iraq declared an Arab Hashemite Federation between their
    countries. But the monarchy was overthrown in Iraq later the same year.

    Baghdad has for decades laid claim to Kuwait as an integral part of Iraq, arguing the emirate was artificially separated by the British colonisers. 

    More Japanese troops

    Meanwhile, a second contingent of Japanese troops, a group of 140 soldiers, arrived in Kuwait on Sunday prior to deployment in Iraq.

    Japanese soldiers gather amid
    construction in the Samawa base

    The troops, who will beef up Japan's first military deployment since the second world war in a country where fighting is still underway, arrived at the Abd Allah Al-Mubarak military base 20km from the capital, Kuwait City, aboard a Boeing 747 chartered by the Japanese government. 

    After training in Kuwait, the latest army contingent will move to Samawa, in southern Iraq, to join earlier Japanese deployments there, on a mission to join non-military "humanitarian and reconstruction" work.

    Nearly 100 Japanese ground troops are already on the ground in Samawa, 270km south of Baghdad.

    A total of 600 Japanese ground troops will be in Iraq by the end of March, with logistical support from about 400 air force and naval personnel in the region. 

    Japanese military amphibious ship Oosumi and escort destroyer Murasame left Japan on Friday for Kuwait to transport equipment for ground troops being deployed to Iraq.

    About 150 sailors were aboard the 8900-ton Oosumi, while the 4550-ton destroyer Murasame was carrying about 180 people.



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