عنوان مقاله [English]
From the ancient times, border disputes and territorial expansionism have always existed between countries and states and they have been the main factors for creation of conflicts and wars among them. The first step towards fixing boundaries was taken in Europe by Westphalia treaty. Fixing boundaries and resolving border disputes in Europe were not completed even after the Second World War and continued untilthe collapse of theSoviet Union. But, in most regions of the world such as the Persian Gulf, we can observe countless conflicts in the field of territorial and border issues. These regions from the advent of its southern margin countries, have always been the scene of many conflicts and disputes, and approximately all Arab countries of this region have border disputes with each other and most of these disputes have remained stable so far.
In this article, we try to answer this question that: what is the main reasonfor Arab countries' disappointment in the Persian Gulf region to settle the border disputes among themselves?
2. Research methodology
The Research methodology is analytical- descriptive and library method was used in collecting the required information and data.
3. Results & Discussion
3-1.the procedure of creating region's borders
The collapse of Turkish Empire and decades after that is a very important era for Middle East. What happened in these decisive decades is the apparent sovereignty of European on the region that changed and redraw the international borders and led to the advent of new countries.
In the central Middle East, the intervention of European powers had the most influence on political map of the region. In the Persian Gulf, by undertaking contracts that Britain imposed on the sheikhdoms in the South coast of the Persian Gulf from the early nineteenth century, the region was completely under British rule. So, this colonial power determined the region's borders in order to gain its goals.
3-2. border- territorial disputes among Arab countries of the region
The borders of this region consist of sea and land borders. In this writing, we stress specially on the land borders and then deliberate the discrepancies between them.
The disputes between Saudi Arabia – Oman and Abu Dhabi about Buraimi Oasis:
Buraimi Oasis includes nine villages that have a mixture of tribal descents. By using the tribal nationalities, Abu Dhabi – Oman and Saudi Arabia could claim all or a part of Buraimi Oasis. In 1955, on behalf of Abu Dhabi, Britainset up a border without Saudi approval. In 1974 United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia compromised on the 1955 ridge. The border between Oman and Abu Dhabi was drawn; so that the six villages of Buraimi remained in Abu Dhabi and three villages remained in Oman. But in 2005, the border disputes between Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the Buraimi Oasis restarted again.
Territorial disputes between Iraq and Kuwait:
With the independence of Kuwait from Britain, Iraq has consistently claimed the sovereignty over the Sheikhdom on the basis that Kuwait was part of Basra in the Turkish era. Iraq also has some claims about Warbah and Bubiyan islands. Indeed, the most important reason for Iraq to attack Kuwait was her lack of free access of to the Persian Gulf. Another factor that had influenced Iraq policy towards Kuwait wasits access to the oil fields.
The territorial disputes between Saudi Arabia and Qatar:
In 1992, Saudi Arabia and Qatar had long border disagreements. Riyadh and Doha concealed their disputestemporarily by signing an agreement. In July 2008, Saudi Arabia and Qatar agreed to resolve the Khawr al Udayddisputes between the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. But, the State of the UAE besides protesting to Qatar, associated any determination of the borders in the Khawr al Udayd region to the agreement with this country. The procedure of foresaid disputes has been continued practically. Saudi Arabia tries to access the Persian Gulf's coastlines in Qatar peninsula and then access the largestin operation gas fields in the world.
The territorial disputes between Saudi Arabia and Yemen:
The first border agreement between Saudi Arabia and Yemen which is known as 'Taif', was signed in 1934. In 2000, Yemen signed the Jeddah agreement with Saudi Arabia and recognized Taif agreement state in order to reduce tensions and Saudi Arabia's interventions. But, the tensions between the two countries did not end by this agreement. Indeed, the disputes between the two countries include vast areas. Yemen has territorial claims on three oil rich provinces such as:Asir- Najran and Jizan currently handled by Saudi Arabia; on the other side, the territorial claims of Saudi Arabia on Yemen are broader and include the oil rich province of Hadhramautin Yemen which has strategic importance due to its location near the Indian ocean.
The territorial disputes between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait:
The disputes between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia dates back to the early twentieth century and the claims of Ibn Saud on Kuwait. The last border agreement between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait took place in 2000. Iran and Iraq are opposed to this agreement. Iran protests to this agreement because this agreement virtually violated the agreement of Iran and England (Arab's foreign policy officer) in 1965. Also, by regarding the agreement of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on commonly use of stratum and substratum resources on the two sides of the border, Saudi Arabia practically enters to the shared oil and gas resources between Kuwait and Iran.
The disputes between Saudi Arabia and Iraq:
In January 1991, Western allied forces led by the US, attacked Iraq from the Northeast of Saudi Arabia. Iraq canceled all its international agreements with Saudi Arabia signed since 1968. This action included the border agreements of 1975 and 1981. In the summer of 1991,Saudi Arabia submitted all its border treatydocuments with Iraq to the United Nations. While Saudi is not willing to settle its border disputes with its neighbors because of its land claims on the Persian Gulf's sheikhdoms due to its territorial expansionism, the fear of Saddam Hossein made Saudis to recognize the past treaties.
The disputes between Qatar and Bahrain:
Mutual claims of Bahrain and Qatar over the possession of Hawarislands is the greatest dispute that put the two States on the threshold of a perfect war in 1986. Finally the issue was referred to the International Court of Justice. The court eventually gave its verdict on the territorial disputes between the two States in 2001. But, border disputes was heated upagain in 2010. In this dispute although territorial expansionism trends between the two neighbors towards some parts of each other's soil were clear, the strategic situation of tourist islands of Hawar that have oil resources, have had the most influence in creation of disputes between the two States.
The border and territorial disputes in the Persian Gulf are being seenin a high level. The presence of European colonialists especially the British that handled the region from the early nineteenth century and appointed all the borders of the region in line with their imperialist benefits, has a great influence on the creation of these disputes. After 1971 when Britain left the Persian Gulf, border and territorial disputes among the region's states started and led to numerous conflicts. Most of these disputes have remained up to now. There are some factors that impede consensus among the countries of the region to form an eventual and stable solution for settling the border disputes. But, the reason for this article is stressing on the two important and effective factors in this context one of which is expansionism trend among the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf's zone and the other is the strategic situation of the conflict areas in terms of oil discovery and military situations. Saudi Arabia and Iraq and partly less, other sheikhdoms are the objective examples in this field. So, aggression of Saudi Arabia against Yemen and occupation of Asir area, military aggression against Abu Dhabi and Oman and occupation of Buraimi area, transgression against Qatar and occupation of the southern part of this State and its territorial greed towards Kuwait are arisen from this policy. Although Saudi Arabia prefers to actualize its policy by regional convergence, but in several cases, using vigor and military force shows its powerful expansionism leanings. Iraq's aggression against its neighbors in the Saddam era can also be evaluated in the form of Baghdad's expansionism policies because of queering in geopolitical – strategic straits and economic profits such as seizing the oil income of Kuwait and Iran's Khuzestan. These two factors with low and high intensity can be generalized to the otherPersian Gulf's sheikhdoms.