Iraq-Saudi Arabia border reopens after 30 years of closure

The main access point between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, in Arar, was again accessible on Wednesday, November 18, thirty years after its closure, witnessing a new warming between Riyadh, Iran’s great enemy, and Baghdad, close to its big neighbor. Until now, Arar only opened to let Iraqi pilgrims pass on their way to Mecca at the time of the hajj.

In 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iraq and did not really regain language with Baghdad until 2017, nearly fourteen years after the fall of the Iraqi dictator in 2003. .

Political conditions in good shape for Riyadh

Today, Riyadh intends to return with force to the Iraqi market, a country with industry and agriculture at half mast, inundated with Iranian and Turkish products. The proof ? From Wednesday morning, in the middle of officials from both countries, modest lines of trucks were waiting on both sides of the border. The two countries are also trying to reopen the second crossing point connecting them, Al-Jemayma, less important and located in southern Iraq.

The political conditions are in good shape for Riyadh: the prime minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Shiite like all the prime ministers of Iraq since the American invasion in 2003, is a personal friend of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed Ben Salman. He was even due to devote his very first overseas visit – after taking office in May – to Riyadh, but it was canceled at the last minute due to health concerns for King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Since August 2017, the two member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), hit hard by the fall in oil prices, have regularly convened a coordination committee. This Saudi-Iraqi commission met again last week, while Iraqi ministers have already visited Riyadh.

The pro-Iran threatens

The objective in Arar, in the province of Anbar, bordered to the west by Jordan and to the south by Saudi Arabia, is to allow goods and people to pass and thus create another gateway to imports, a large part of which is now arriving in Iraq via the border with Iran, Iraq’s second largest commercial supplier.

Such a decision obviously provoked the ire of pro-Iran armed factions in the country. One of the new small groups, Ashab Al-Kahf, false nose of pro-Iran factions installed for years, violently attacked this rapprochement with Riyadh, the regional Sunni heavyweight. “Information from the Islamic resistance [l’axe pro-Iran au Moyen-Orient] accurately monitor every movement of the Saudi enemy on the Iraqi border, as well as telephone communications between Mohammed Ben Salman and Mustafa Al-Kadhimi ”, threatens Ashab Al-Kahf in a statement.

Pro-Iranians accuse Riyadh of wanting “Colonize” Iraq under the guise of investments. “Let them invest! Welcome to Iraq! “, replied at a press conference Tuesday evening Mr. Kadhimi. “The agreements with Saudi Arabia will create thousands of jobs”, he added, a breath of vital air in a country which every month pays its officials several weeks late as the coffers are empty.

The World with AFP


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