Jordan and Iraq have signed a military and security cooperation agreement after years of stormy ties which saw Daesh terrorists gain control of their joint border and cut vital trade to a bare minimum.
Jordan’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. General Mahmoud Abdul Halim Freihat and Iraqi Defense Minister Irfan Mahmoud Al Hayali oversaw the signing of the agreement in Amman Sunday, Petra news agency reported.
“The agreement aims to exchange expertise and information on border protection, as well as improving intelligence capabilities and combating terrorism in all its forms,” the report said.
The two sides also agreed to increase joint military exercises, boosting research and technology development and holding joint courses in the security and military fields, it added.
The vast desert province of Anbar on the 180 km border with Jordan became a historic hotbed of the Takfiri militancy sparked by 2003’s US invasion of Iraq.
Before that Iraq was the kingdom’s main export market, accounting for almost a fifth of Jordan’s exports or about $1.2 billion a year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Last August, Jordan opened its main border crossing with Iraq for the first time since 2015 after Iraqi forces gained control of the main highway to Baghdad.
The sole Iraq-Jordan border crossing, a vital route for trade, is finally reopened after two years.The Tureibil post is crossed by the 550 km highway to Baghdad, connecting Iraq’s Basra port in the south to Jordan, where the Red Sea port of Aqaba has long served as a gateway for Iraqi imports coming from Europe. Although the highway has been secured after driving out Daesh, the threat of hit-and run attacks on convoys and the army are ever present and there have been several attacks near al-Rutba town, the last town before the border with Jordan.