It’s been decades since Kuwaitis had so easily made the short drive north to Basra’s corniche on the riverside of Iraq’s Shatt al-Arab waterway. Their return comes as a reminder of better times in the 1970s when the city was a tourism mecca for visitors from the Gulf. This time, they come to attend football matches as part of the 25th Gulf Cup that kicked-off in Basra on 6 January.

The last time Iraq hosted the Gulf Cup was more than four decades ago in 1979. It didn’t participate in the tournament after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, only re-joining in 2004 following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. (CONTINUED - 1164 WORDS)