Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Saudi Arabia, Iraq Kick off Early Stages of Military Cooperation

Saudi Arabia, Iraq Kick off Early Stages of Military Cooperation

Tuesday, 1 December, 2020 - 06:45
Iraqi security forces stand guard at the Iraqi side of the Arar border crossing in Anbar, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (AP)

The Saudi military attaché in Iraq, Colonel Nasser Al-Saadoun, announced his country’s readiness to support the Iraqi military institution.

In a statement on Monday, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said that the Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, received Al-Saadoun, adding that the meeting discussed “prospects for cooperation and coordination between the two friendly countries in the military field.”

Iraq and the Kingdom have maintained security cooperation throughout the past years. In 2012, the exchange of delegations in the field of border security and intelligence cooperation resumed. A number of senior security officials visited Riyadh, including Qassem Al-Araji, former interior minister, and Faleh Al-Fayyad, former national security advisor.

However, joint military cooperation would be the first of its kind in the history of relations between the two neighbors. While the details and extent of such cooperation are not clear yet, the new announcement reflects a transformation in the bilateral ties, especially with the opening of the Arar border crossing and the declared willingness of Saudi companies to invest in Iraq.

“Iraqi-Saudi relations are witnessing development in the political, economic, security and military fields,” National Security Professor at Al-Nahrain University in Baghdad, Dr. Hussein Allawi, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He noted that the exchange of visits between Iraqi-Saudi military delegations reflected an evolving cooperation in various fields.”

Allawi also said that the two countries were deploying joint efforts to fight terrorism and working through the international coalition to combat ISIS.

He stressed that his country was seeking to promote economic investment with Saudi Arabia in the fields of energy, petrochemicals and agriculture.

“The Iraqi people are ready to work with Saudi companies to develop their economy and improve the country’s infrastructure,” Allawi remarked.

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