Source: Wikipedia

It's been 27 years since the Arar border crossing between Saudi Arabia and Iraq first closed down. But, it seems that the times they are a-changing. 

On Tuesday, local media reported that the border crossing will open up for trade for the first time since 1990. 

"This is a great start for further future cooperation between Iraq and Saudia Arabia," said Sohaib al-Rawi, governor of Iraq's southwestern Anbar province, according to The National.

The border first closed after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, which saw Baghdad and Riyadh cut diplomatic relations. 

However, Saudi Arabia and Iraq seem to be putting their differences aside for business purposes. 

"The crossing that will open soon will be dedicated to the transportation of goods," said Abdul Aziz al-Shammari, the Saudi charge d'affaires in Baghdad, according to Al Jazeera.

For the past 27 years, Iraqi pilgrims have had access to the crossing only once annually during Hajj season, as explained by Iraqi pilgrims to local media.

The crossing witnesses a huge increase in traffic during the annual pilgrimage, as Iraqis cross into Saudi Arabia via this route to visit Mecca. 

According to the Supreme Commission for Hajj and Umrah, a total of 1,175 Iraqi pilgrims have entered Saudi Arabia through the Arar border crossing, as of Aug. 7, The Baghdad Post reported.

It was also noted that the same number of pilgrims is expected to cross the border daily. 

The total number of Iraqi pilgrims this year is 14,000. 

Saudi Arabia and Iraq plan to establish a joint trade commission, too

Plans to open up the border crossing come after the Saudi cabinet announced a joint trade commission with Iraq on Monday. 

"The cabinet has decided to approve the establishment of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordinating Commission and to delegate the Saudi minister of trade and investments to sign on behalf of the kingdom," as noted in a statement released by the state-run SPA news agency.

That's not all. The two countries - both OPEC's top producers - have been working together to stabilize the oil market. 

Earlier this month, Iraq's Energy Minister Jabbar al-Luaybi and his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih discussed efforts to stabilize the oil markets "to strengthen and develop bilateral relations ... especially in the field of oil and gas, in a way that serves their common interests," according to Reuters

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also visited the kingdom in June, in an effort to boost ties between the two nations. 

In a meeting between Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr in recent weeks, the two agreed that Saudi Arabia will donate $10 million in aid to the Iraqi government. The two also agreed that Saudi Arabia will study possible investments in the Shiite regions of southern Iraq.