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VICE News

Iraq Just Closed Its Border With Jordan to Battle the Islamic State

The Iraqi move to close border with Jordan to commercial trucking, a part economics and part military effort, is directed against Islamic State militants.

by Landon Shroder
Jul 16 2015, 11:00pm

Photo by Pawel Ryszawa

Brigadier General Saad Maan, a spokesman for Iraq's Joint Operations Command, announced on Thursday that Iraq has officially closed the Trebil border crossing with Jordan.

In a statement made through Petra News, Jordanian officials confirmed the closure and recommended that all drivers postpone cross-border travel until further notice.

According to Maan, this move is intended to disrupt revenues collected by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) on commercial trucking between the two countries.

The Trebil border crossing connects Jordan to Iraq's restive Anbar province, which has been in a state of insurgency against the government since January 2014, and is home to the IS-controlled cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. Since then, IS has developed lucrative systems of taxation to generate income from commercial trucking moving goods between the two countries.

Related: The Islamic State's Biggest Threat to Jordan Isn't Violence — It's Economics

Sources inside Iraq, however, have told VICE News that this move is not just about cutting off revenues to IS, but about ongoing military operations throughout Anbar province.

"Part of this closure will be about reducing the commercial traffic in order to create conditions for surveillance and target acquisitions," Paul Stanley, the business director for a private security company in Iraq, told VICE News. "Commercial traffic has been diverted, and the [Iraq] Ministry of Defense has confirmed that the closure is also linked to the ongoing operations in Anbar."

On July 13, Iraq's Joint Operations Command announced the initiation of large-scale military operations to dislodge IS from Anbar province. In the days since, Iraq security forces, supported by the Shia-dominated popular mobilization units, have been making steady progress in clearing IS-controlled areas around Ramadi and Fallujah.

Maan said the border crossing will reopen once the security situation improves, but given the general lack of stability in Anbar province, this could take some time. 

Follow Landon Shroder on Twitter: @LandonShroder

Photo via Wikimedia Commons