What happened: On Wednesday, the Iraqi border ports commission said that Iraq and Saudi Arabia had opened the Arar border crossing for trade for the first time in three decades.
Background: Arar had been closed since 1990, when the Kingdom severed ties with Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Rapprochement began in 2015, when Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad. In July, the countries signed investment agreements on energy and sports.
The first commercial flights resumed between the two countries and officials began discussing Arar, with high-profile US diplomat Brett McGurk even visiting the crossing in 2017 to support its reopening.
But those plans were repeatedly delayed, with Arar only open on rare occasions to allow Iraqi religious pilgrims on their way to Mecca for Hajj.