Chronology: Regional Affairs

The Middle East Journal, Winter 2006 | Go to article overview
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Chronology: Regional Affairs

July 16: Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim alJa'fari, who spent years in exile in Iran, traveled to Iran in the first top-level visit between the two countries since the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. [BBC, 7/16]

July 26: Syria handed over 21 alleged Tunisian militants to Tunisian authorities, one day after it returned 12 Saudi militants to Saudi authorities. Syrian officials claimed that the militants were linked to a Tunisian man attempting to set up a militant training camp in Lebanon. [BBC, 7/26]

July 29: Kuwait deployed riot police along its borders with Iraq after Iraqi demonstrators and Kuwaiti border guards clashed over the construction of a metal Kuwaiti security barrier. The security barrier is meant to replace the meter-high sand wall now demarcating the border. [AN, 7/29]

July 31: Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora of the anti-Syrian coalition that came to power in June, met with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad in Damascus to discuss the two nations' shaky relations. The meeting, the first official foreign trip for Siniora, focused on opening Syria's border to truck traffic into Lebanon, which was suspended in early July. [BBC, 7/31]

Aug. 1: Syria eased the border restrictions it had imposed on the border with Lebanon in July. More than 100 trucks that had been stranded for four weeks on the border were able to cross. Syria said the long searches were necessary to stop arms smuggling and saboteurs. [AP, 8/1]

Aug. 7: After a meeting in Kuwait, an Iraqi delegation pledged to respect their shared border. The dispute over Kuwait's construction of a metal security border was aggravated by a confrontation between Iraqi and Kuwaiti border guards on July 29. [GN, 8/7]

Aug. 8: Newly-elected Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad received his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Asad, the first head of state to visit since his inauguration. The two leaders said their countries needed to maintain a united front against the accusatory and invasive West, particularly the US. [Al-Jazeera, 8/8]

Aug. 9: US and Iraqi forces prevented hundreds of Syrian trucks from entering Syrian territories through a crossing northeast of the country, creating a backlog of transit trucks stranded on the border as tension between the countries mounted. [The Daily Star, 8/9]

Aug. 10: Two Syrian nationals suspected of having links to al-Qa'ida were arrested in Diyarbakir and Antalya. Local media reports said Luai Sakra and Hamed Obysi were detained after forged passports were discovered in a flat in Antalya. [BBC, 8/10]

Sept. 2: The foreign ministers of Pakistan and Israel, for the first time, held publicly acknowledged talks. Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri met his Israeli counterpart, Silvan Shalom, in Turkey to open a dialogue between their countries. Kasuri, whose country does not recognize Israel, noted that the basis for the historic meeting was Israel's withdraw from the Gaza Strip in August 2005.

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