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The important trade artery is flanked by Iran-backed militias on one side and a large Iranian military base on the other.
 
11/15/2019
 

Iraq-Syria Border Crossing Reopens Under Iranian Control

The important trade artery is flanked by Iran-backed militias on one side and a large Iranian military base on the other.

BY WARREN REINSCH

After eight years of closure, Iraq reopened its Qa’im border crossing with Syria on Monday. The crossing, which is expected to revitalize Syrian-Iraqi trade, is also a critical benchmark in Iran’s ploy to bring the vast swath of land from Iran to the Mediterranean under its control. Jerusalem Post’s Middle East expert Seth Frantzman said that the reopening of the Qa’im border crossing "may enable Iran to move militias and weapons across" much easier and quicker than before.

Since 2011, the border crossing has been open only to government and military traffic; now, the crossing is open for civilians and trade.

A security source told Reuters that the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units will help secure the Iraqi side of the crossing. Large deployments of these Iran-backed Shiite militias have already been seen near the border. The militias, which are an official state institution, receive their payment from the Iraqi government. They are likely there by official order of the Iraqi government. However, many still retain their loyalties to Iran for its funding, leadership and training during the Iraqi Civil War against the Islamic State.

Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya reported that Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist proxy in Lebanon, also maintains a presence at the crossing.

 
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