Jordan, Iraq reopen main border crossing for first time in 3 years

by WorldTribune Staff, September 3, 2017

Iraq’s main border crossing with Jordan reopened on Aug. 30 after Iraqi forces cleared a 500-kilometer route from Baghdad to Amman of Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists.

The crossing at Tureibil had been officially closed for three years.

Jordanian Army Commander Mahmoud Freihat, right, delivers a memorial gift to the Iraqi Defense Minister Arfan al-Hayali during the official ceremony for the reopening of the Jordanian order crossing on Aug. 30. / Reuters

After a heated debate, Iraqi parliament agreed to allow privately-owned U.S. security firms to oversee safety on the highway, a key trade route from Baghdad to Amman.

Iraqi ground and air forces will also be responsible for safety along the route in Anbar province, Iraqi officials said.

Iraqi Interior Minister Qassem al-Araji inspected the highway and the border crossing several days ago, noting that the security situation appeared to be good.

Iraqi troops pulled out of the Tureibil post in summer 2014 after ISIS jihadists secured nearly all the official crossings of the western frontier as they swept through a third of the country.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a tweet on Aug. 30 that he was “pleased by the reopening of the Iraq-Jordan border crossing,” adding that it will “increase bilateral relations considerably.”

Falah al-Aissawi, deputy head of the Anbar provincial council, told al-Hurra TV recently that the province is using part of its budget to reopen the highway and the crossing with Jordan, a lifeline for both Anbar and Iraq that will boost the economy.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, told Voice of America (VOA) that the reopening of the Iraqi border with Jordan was yet another step in the ongoing collapse of ISIS.

“It’s clear that ISIS is being defeated and it is in full retreat on all fronts. This move points in the direction of increasing security in both Iraq and Jordan,” said Khashan.

Khashan said Jordan most likely agreed to reopen its border crossing with Iraq “in conjunction with both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia,” and that the move “marks a significant improvement of ties between Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and [possibly] Iran.”

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