A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Iraqi Airways to be Liquidated

This story's from yesterday but I'm just getting to it. Iraqi Airways is being declared bankrupt and will be wound down, though it may take up to three years to do so. It is going belly up because of Kuwaiti efforts to seize aircraft at European airports in compensation for Kuwaiti claims for equipment stolen by Iraq during the occupation of Kuwait in 1990-91. The BBC version is here and Al Jazeera English is here.

I'm no lawyer but it does seem a little unfair that an elected, Shi‘ite dominated government is paying the price for Saddam Hussein's depredations nearly 20 years ago. But yes, I know, the Federal Republic of Germany paid reparations for Nazi actions, and there are plenty of other precedents. And I'm sure Iraqi Airways has other problems besides the Kuwaiti claims: it only just started flying to London again for the first time in 20 years, and tourism is presumably not exactly booming.

I only few Iraqi Airways once (well, twice, two legs of the same trip) so I've got no huge nostalgtia factor at work here. But it's a reminder that for all its other problems, Iraq still has the legacy of Kuwaiti reparations to deal with.

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