Pope Francis will make the first-ever papal visit to Iraq in March amid hopes that the trip will help heal the country and turn the page on years of brutal conflict that displaced Iraq's Christians.
The Abraham Accords reflect a changing dynamic in the region and underscore the need for co-operation to counter Iranian influence.
The implementation of the Riyadh Agreement is expected to usher in a new era in the provisional capital of Aden, residents and officials say.
Pilgrims were brought into Mecca's Grand Mosque in small batches, walking along marked paths, in sharp contrast to previous years.
The pilgrims will be tested for coronavirus and will be required to quarantine at home after the ritual, the country's top health official announced.
The kingdom is close to making an announcement about hajj this year, as the global coronavirus pandemic continues to claim lives.
Observers say the Iran-backed militia does not have the authority to collect zakat, and accuse it of using the funds to finance its war effort.
This year, the fast-spreading COVID-19 threatens to dampen Ramadan like never before, with millions locked down across the Middle East.
The US has urged the Iran-backed militia to drop the allegations, release those arbitrarily detained, and respect religious freedom for all.
The militia has been forcibly collecting fees from businesses to fund extravagant celebrations marking the Prophet Mohammed's birthday, residents told Al-Mashareq.