Syria’s Life Line: Historic Reopening Of Arar Border Crossing Between Iraq And Saudi Arabia


Syria's Life Line: Historic Reopening Of Arar Border Crossing Between Iraq And Saudi Arabia

A picture taken on March 12, 2017 shows a road sign reading in Arabic “Road to Jadidah” (TOP) and “Road to Iraq” (BOTTOM), in the area around Arar city along the Saudi-Iraq border. (File/AFP)

The Iraqi Border Ports Authority announced on November 18 that the Arar border crossing with Saudi Arabia had been reopened.

The Arar crossing has been closed since 1990, when the forces of the then-president Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait provoking the first Gulf War.

In an official statement, the Iraqi Border Ports Authority said the crossing is now open for “trade exchange between the two brotherly countries.”

“Interior Minister Othman Al-Ghanmi deputized for Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, and the inauguration took place in the presence of the Deputy Commander of Joint Operations Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Al-Shammari and Major General Omar Adnan Al-Waeli, Chairman of the Border Ports Authority, the Governors of Anbar and Karbala, and my leaders Anbar and Border Police,” the statement reads, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

The ceremony was also attended by Saudi Ambassador in Baghdad Abdulaziz Alshamri and a number of other officials from the Kingdom.

Iraq and Saudi Arabia have been preparing to reopen the Arar border crossing since May. The reopening of the crossing is a symbol of the improving ties between the two countries, whose relations were tense for the last 30 years.

Syria's Life Line: Historic Reopening Of Arar Border Crossing Between Iraq And Saudi Arabia

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The reopening of the crossing will reportedly have a good impact on Syria’s struggling economy.This will facilitate Syrian legal and illegal traffic, including weapons, drugs and humans.

According to several media sources, Saudi Arabia, which lifted a ban on shipping from Syria earlier this year, had asked Iraq to facilitate the passage of Syrian goods through Arar.

Syrian exports to the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, are now being shipped through Jordan, which impose high taxes on Syrian-made goods. The new route through Iraq should lower the cost and time of shipping from Syria to the Kingdom.

“The transit of goods and trucks from Syria to Gulf states and vice versa through the Arar border crossing is considered better and faster than moving through Jordan’s territory,” Hassan Ajam, co-chairman of the Union of International Cargo Shipping Companies in Syria, told Sputnik.

The reopening of a direct shipping route between Syria and Saudi Arabia through Iraq’s territory may be a sign of a near rapprochement between Riyadh and Damascus.