For the first time in 30 years, the border between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iraq is now open, with transport trucks, goods and food stuffs crossing between the two Arab nations at the Arar frontier post. The strategically important crossing had been closed since 1990 when the Kingdom severed ties with Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
The reopening of the border marks a new milestone in the long and historic relationship between these two Arab neighbours and it’s a day that has long been anticipated by members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. By unsealing the gates, removing the physical barriers and letting traffic and trade flow once more, it is a clear statement that Iraq’s standing is now restored and it is indeed open for business once again.
The reopening of the border at Arar is the latest positive development to accrue from the ongoing dialogue between Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi, and both deserve kudos for their efforts in bringing Iraq back into the tent of Arab brothers. Simply put, the reopening of the border is a good day’s work and positive for all.
A clear message
The events of 1990 and subsequently have profoundly affected the region. But time, dialogue and goodwill between Arabs has triumphed; old quarrels have been set aside, and there is more to be gained by opening borders. Arabs together are much stronger.
There is a lesson here too that shows the positive effects of economic trade, commerce and common business interests and objectives are effective in bringing real and meaningful change. For the lorry drivers that carry their goods, the companies that make those products, the stores that sell, the opening of the Saudi-Iraq border will put more money in circulation — always a welcome development.
For Iraq, a nation that has endured so much for so long, a return to normalised trading and neighbourly relations with Saudi Arabia has been a long time coming. For too long, the regime in Tehran has looked to Iraq, meddled and interfered. Make no mistake, the region will not stabilise unless Iraq and other states, in which Iran has unjustified influence, end Tehran’s destabilising interference. Iraq seems to be intent on treading its own path — and that passes through the Arab crossing once more.