On Friday 18 Decembver 2009, Iranian troops crossed the border into Iraq and occupied the Fakka oil field in the province of Maysan. The border in this province is largely disputed. Iran denies such an incursion, but Iraq maintains that it occurred and demanded that the Iranian soldiers withdraw immediately. Yet, according to reports, the Iranian flag still flies over the oil field. This step, militarily speaking, is reminiscent of Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938. While the Fakka oil field is not a highly fortified position, as the Sudetenland had been, there has been much talk within intelligence communities that Iran may attempt to seize Iraqi oil fields, particularly if the U.S. should withdraw, allowing it control even more oil; dangerous given that Iran is already the world’s 4th largest oil producer. This may be a “test and see” incursion (i.e. to seize the oil field and wait for world response). Given that world powers, with the exception of the United States, have, as of yet, not responded to the Iranian action, this event may prove to embolden Iran, which has already voiced its intentions to continue with its nuclear program and refused to cooperate with the IAEA. Iran’s growth in strength will only serve to further threaten Israel (along with all other nations), given its ability to reach Israel, along with most of Europe with its ballistic missiles; its attempts to develop nuclear weapons, and voiced intentions of using them; and its current policy of funding Shi’ite (and other) militant groups (such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthis, and the Palestinian Hamas).

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  • “This step, militarily speaking, is reminiscent of Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938.”

    Only in the sense that that also represented the annexation of a disputed territory (though in this case, “an area of disputed territory” makes sense because no one would call an oil field “a territory.” Beyond that, the comparison only serves to confuse.

    The Sudetenland = 27,000 square kilometers. Not sure about the size of the Fakka oil field, but if accounts are correct re: there being just 11 Iranian soldiers occupying it, it seems doubtful that this move is at all reminiscent of the annexation of the Sudetenland.

  • Ben, with all due respect, the issue, as I see it, is not an issue of annexation, nor of size. Rather, as I see it, when Germany annexed the Sudetenland, they were not annexing it simply because they felt a kinship to the ethnic Germans who resided there; it was a test – what would the world due?