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The migration crisis, the rise of nationalism and the Covid-19 pandemic have put borders back at the heart of the news. If these had not disappeared, the globalization of economies, the development of transport and new forms of mobility had largely contributed to making them forgotten, at least in many regions. France 24 is devoting a documentary series to borders whose evolution recounts our times. This is the case of that which separates Iraq and Saudi Arabia, two countries which had severed their diplomatic relations after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Lucile Wassermann went to the border post of Arar, which comes to life in the middle of the desert.

After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia closed its border and cut off all relations with Iraq. It wasn’t until 30 years later, on November 18, 2020, that Arar’s post opened up again. It is currently the only crossing point on the 800 km border between the two countries. Around 60 trucks go there every day.

But impossible for them to cross. Trucks from both countries are parked in a fenced yard. The goods are exchanged there and then the drivers leave, each on his own. To this day, men still do not have the right to pass; only cargo crosses the border.

reporters © France 24

Although still imperfect, and sometimes frustrating, the opening of the Arar border crossing marks the beginning of a new era in relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. For cross-border populations, it is synonymous with new hope: Baghdad and Riyadh are talking today about opening two additional crossing points.

The next “Reporters” of the “Borders” series

Between Guyana and Brazil, an uncontrollable border

Between Kenya and Uganda, an indecisive border

Between Laos and China, a prosperous border

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