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Hizbullah brigades threaten Kuwait--differences over Kuwaiti port project.

--Hizbullah Brigades Threaten Kuwait

--Differences Over Kuwaiti Port Project

The Hizbullah Brigades, an Iraqi Shiite militia suspected of receiving support from Iran, has issued a threat to companies working on the construction of a major new Kuwaiti port on the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border, the pan-Arab daily AL HAYAT reported on Monday. The Shiite militant organization, which was founded in 2003 and denies American claims that it receives support from Iran's Quds Force, released a statement, according to the daily, warning that "The Iraqi people will not forget what the Kuwaiti government is doing now by building a port in order to choke Iraq economically."

The Kuwaiti project to build a new port, called the Mubarak port, was begun in May this year, and is expected to be completed in 2016. The new port could reduce Iraqi port traffic by as much as 60 percent, analysts estimate, according to the Abu Dhabi-based THE NATIONAL. The Kuwaiti port is being built on Boubyan Island, which is just across the border from the Fao peninsula. Iraq is currently spending some $1.6 billion upgrading its port facilities on the Fao peninsula, south of Basra; the first phase of the Iraqi project is expected to be finished by 2013, according to DREDGING TODAY, an industry news provider.

As well as threatening companies working on the Kuwaiti project, the Hizbullah Brigades also called in its statement on the Iraqi government to put pressure on Kuwait to halt the project, AL HAYAT reported. Already the Kuwaiti announcement has caused strong reactions in Baghdad, with Iraqi politicians accusing Kuwait of seeking to "choke" the narrow Iraqi coastline and to cause the failure of the Fao port project, according to the daily. The Iraqi transport ministry has called on the Kuwaiti government to find an alternative site for the port project, claiming that the Kuwaiti project will negatively affect relations between the two countries, AL HAYAT added.

The Hizbullah Brigades are considered by American military leaders to be the most violent of Iraq's armed organizations, according to AL HAYAT. The group is known for posting videos of their successful attacks on U.S. troops on the internet. In early June they killed six U.S. soldiers in a rocket attack.
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Title Annotation:IRAQ-KUWAIT
Publication:The Daily Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Jul 18, 2011
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