Iraq and Arabia reopen border closed for 30 years

Iraq and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reopened their border, closed for 30 years, the main access point to Arar being again accessible and testifying to a new warming between Riyadh, Iran’s great enemy, and Baghdad, close to its big neighbor.

In 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iraq and only really resumed language with Baghdad in 2017, nearly 15 years after the fall of the Iraqi dictator.

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? As of Wednesday morning, in the midst of officials from both countries, modest lines of trucks were waiting on both sides.

The two countries are also trying to reopen the second crossing point connecting them, Al-Jemayma, less important and located in southern Iraq.

Political conditions are in good shape for Riyadh: the Prime Minister, Moustafa al-Kazimi, Shiite like all the Prime Ministers of Iraq since the American invasion in 2003, is a personal friend of the crown prince of the Sunni regional heavyweight Mohammed Ben Salman.

He was even due to devote his very first visit abroad – after taking office in May – to Riyadh, but it was canceled at the last minute due to health problems for King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

And 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 Commission.

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 Arabia, is to allow goods and people to pass and thus create another gateway for imports, including a large part is now arriving in Iraq through 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 the pro-Iran factions installed for years, has violently attacked this rapprochement with Riyadh, the regional Sunni heavyweight.

“The intelligence of the Islamic resistance (the pro-Iran axis in the Middle East, Editor’s note) follows with precision every movement of the Saudi enemy on the Iraqi border, as do the telephone communications between Mohammed Ben Salman and Mustafa al- Kazimi, ”threatens Ashab al-Kahf in a statement.

The pro-Iran accuses Riyadh of wanting to “colonize” Iraq under cover of investment.

“Let them invest! Welcome to Iraq! », Answered during a press conference Tuesday evening Mr. Kazimi. “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 civil servants several weeks late as the coffers are empty.

– Electrical connection –

Until now Arar only opened to let Iraqi pilgrims pass on their way to Mecca at the time of the hajj.

The two countries are also trying to reopen the second crossing point connecting them, Al-Jemayma, less important and located in southern Iraq.

Iraq is bordered by the warring Jordan and Syria to the west, Turkey to the north, Iran to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south as well as Kuwait.

In June 2017, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with Saudi leaders in Arabia, four months after a visit to Baghdad by Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir, the first at this level. since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Then, a first commercial flight had joined Ryad and Baghdad, once again testifying to the rapprochement.

A year ago, Iraq signed an agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to import up to 500 MW of electricity by 2020, in order to alleviate a shortage that is depriving Iraqis of electricity. sometimes up to 20 hours a day.

This project has still not materialized, probably due to the global Covid-19 pandemic but also to the bureaucracy and mismanagement of the Iraqi state.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.