Jordanian security forces stand guard at the Karameh border point with Iraq on June 25, 2014. File photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The main border crossing between Iraq and Jordan, Tureibil, will open on Wednesday for the first time since 2015 now that Iraqi forces have now taken control of the main highway to Baghdad from ISIS.
“Pleased to announce the reopening of it Iraq/Jordan border crossing,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a tweet on Wednesday. “[It] will increase bilateral [ties] significantly.”
The Jordanians are also optimistic for the re-opening.
“The opening of the crossing is of great importance to Jordan and Iraq,” said Jordan’s Interior Minister Ghaleb al-Zubi last week. “It’s a crucial artery. Jordan and Iraq have been discussing reopening it for a while.”
The US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk, believes this is progress towards a more stable Middle East.
“Welcome reopening of the Treybil border crossing between Iraq and Jordan. [A] key milestone for post-ISIS stabilization,” McGurk tweeted on Wednesday.
Faleh Al-Issawi, vice-president of the Anbar provincial council, told Al-Araby in May that the Iraqi government had signed a contract with US mercenaries to secure the 550 km (442 mile) highway between Baghdad and Amman.
"The provincial government and the central government have contracted with [private] security police to secure the international road and control it," said Issawi.
Reuters also reported of an agreement with a US company, citing an unnamed “a senior Western diplomat.”
Jordan hopes to revive exports to Iraq through the reopening of the crossing it calls Karameh.
Prior to the rise of ISIS, Iraq was the Kingdom’s main export market bringing in approximately $1.2 billion per year, according to International Monetary Fund statistics.
Iraqi troops pulled out of the Tureibil post in the summer of 2014 after ISIS swept through a third of the country and militants secured nearly all official border crossings.
The restoration of trade links will revive an oil pipeline project running from Basra in Iraq to Aqaba in Jordan, Dr. Ibrahim Saif, the Jordanian minister of energy and mineral resources said in December 2016
Jordanian exporters have been forced to use more expensive sea routes to Iraq’s Um Qasr port or land rounds crossing Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The International Monetary Fund has said that the prolonged conflicts in Iraq and Syria were weighing on Jordan’s debt ridden economy and that the opening of export routes with Iraq would boost economic growth.