But diplomatic ties were restored in 2015, following several high-level meetings that lead first to the reopening of Riyadh's embassy in Baghdad. Later, in 2017, a bilateral coordination council was established to improve ties.
Arar's reopening represents a key step toward firming relations and deepening Iraq-Saudi economic cooperation. Previously, the crossing would open just once a year for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Iraqi officials hope the re-opening of Arar, located just south of the Iraqi town of An-Nukhaib in western Anbar province, will bolster trade activity and provide a much needed boost to Iraq's economy, suffering from a dire liquidity crisis. To the predominately Sunni population of Anbar, increased trade activity with the kingdom also brings the potential for jobs.
“We have many memoranda of understanding signed with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to serve our country,” al-Kadhimi recently said.