Iraq’s Border Woes Continue As Iran Resumes Shelling And Kuwait Detains Fishermen

Although violence was fairly light today, an escalating border situation involving Iran and Kuwait could spell increasing woes for Iraq. Frustrated Iranian forces resumed cross-border shelling of Iraqi Kurdistan, resulting in the death of one civilian. And, Kuwait detained 11 fisherman who may have strayed into Kuwaiti waters. Overall, eight Iraqis were killed in new violence. Another 20 were injured in what may have been chlorine gas attack.

The mayor of Haj Omram reported that an Iranian sniper killed a young shepherd during resumed attacks by Iran against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq. Shelling also destroyed scores of goats and sheep. An anonymous Kurdish official said that Iranian forces resumed attacks on rebel targets after they were unable to re-take control of a Iranian mountain from the rebels. According to Iranian state television, two Revolutionary Guards troops were killed in the failed operation. A commander from the Revolutionary Guards also reported that their forces had killed 30 Party Of A Free Life Of Kurdistan (P.J.A.K.) rebels during strikes. Those deaths were not confirmed independently.

Human Rights Watch has criticized the failure to avoid civilian casualties in both Iranian and Turkish operations against the rebels. They further wondered if Iran is deliberately targeting Kurds. The Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.), of which the P.J.A.K. is an offshoot, also accused Iran of targeting all Kurds and announced that they will join the P.J.A.K. in fighting Iran. The P.K.K. usually focuses their attention on Turkey.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Nouri al-Maliki said the premier is set to visit several countries, Iran among them, and suggested Maliki would discuss the various border issues vexing the two neighbors. Attempts to draw the United States into the discussion ended when the U.S. gave Turkey tacit approval to continue operations.

At the southern border, with Kuwait, another dispute is brewing. Yesterday, 11 Iraqi fishermen were detained by Kuwait’s Coast Guard. Iraq claims the men were fishing in Iraq’s territorial waters. Earlier this year, one Kuwaiti was killed when a shootout occurred during a similar incident. M.P. Alia Nisaif later issued a statement demanding Kuwait apologize for holding the fishermen and warned that such "atrocities" will continue until Iraq rejects U.N. Resolution 833, which deals with the Iraq-Kuwait border situation.

In Baghdad, gunmen killed a politician in Binouk, while a soldier was shot to death last night in Hurriya.

A dumped body bearing knife wounds was found in Kirkuk.

Gunmen killed a jeweler in Khalidiya.

A Sahwa member was killed in Latifiya.

Two men were killed in Gatoun when the explosives vest they were handling exploded.

Police recovered the body of a prison escapee from the waters of the Tigris River. The man had escaped a Mosul jail earlier this week and may have been shot while fleeing police.

Twenty people were poisoned when chlorine gas containers exploded at a water treatment plant near Baquba. The cause of the explosion is under investigation, but the staff has denied any negligence on their part. Chlorine bombs were favored for a short period in 2006 and 2007, so terrorism must be taken into consideration until otherwise ruled out.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for since 2006.