Saudi Arabia and Iraq announced the permanent reopening of the Arar border crossing on Tuesday, August 15, in a bid to strengthen ties and increase trade. The Iraqi government has deployed troops on the route leading to Arar to protect against militant attacks. Additionally, the two countries have agreed to form a trade commission to strengthen economic ties.
The border crossing had been closed since 1990 when the two countries broke diplomatic relations following Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. An annual exception was made for pilgrims en route to Mecca for Hajj.
Individuals present in Saudi Arabia are advised to exercise caution at all times and avoid large crowds, especially during the Hajj period. Additionally, given the prevailing terrorist risk in Saudi Arabia, those present in the country are advised to avoid public places deemed particularly likely to be targeted in the event of an attack (e.g., official buildings, military zones) and report all suspicious objects or behavior to authorities.