Iraq Closes Anbar Border Crossing

By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

An official from the Anbar province, which is located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of the Iraqi capital, said that the central government in Baghdad is trying to punish the province over the protests that have been taking place for months against government policies by depriving it of the proceeds from one of the most important border crossings in the country.

The head of Anbar’s Provincial Council, Jassim al-Halbusi, told Al-Monitor that the central government, which oversees the management of Iraq’s border crossings, asked the administration of the Traibil [Turaybeel, Tirbil, Tarbiel, Trebil] border post (pictured) — linking Iraq and Jordan — at the beginning of this month “to tighten procedures for inspecting cars and trucks that use this crossing. This led to a decline in traffic at this crossing, as well as a decline in its revenues, of which the province receives five percent.”

“Things have escalated since the morning of Tuesday, June 11, to the point that the crossing was totally closed to all traffic,” Halbusi added. He said he believes that "this measure is aimed at punishing Anbar residents who have rejected the government’s persistent failure to manage the country’s affairs.”

The Jordanian Ministry of Interior said in a statement on Sunday, June 9, that Iraq reported that it would close the Trebil border crossing that connects the two countries as of next Tuesday for a period of 48 hours, for reasons related to “internal Iraqi affairs.”

The statement, reported by the Jordan News Agency, said that the closure would affect all passenger and cargo movement “and will not include air traffic, which will operate normally during the closure period. There will be no changes to any scheduled flights.”

Anbar, the most prominent Sunni Arab stronghold in Iraq, has seen protests and sit-ins that have entered their sixth month against the policies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Iraq had closed the crossing at the end of April, amid reports that the Iraqi army intended to storm a square where protesters were marching against Maliki near the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.

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