Bahrain Welcomes Israeli Defence Minister’s Visit

Bahrain Welcomes Israeli Defence Minister’s Visit

Since the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, which formalised the normalisation of relations between Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), diplomatic relations between the three countries have been progressing while official cooperation projects have flourished in a variety of fields. Embassies were opened in 2021 and ambassadors took office during the same year. At the end of 2021, Bahrain also participated in its first military exercise alongside Israel, the United States (US), and the UAE in the Red Sea.

It is in this context of strengthened diplomatic relations that Benny Gantz, the Israeli Defence Minister, paid a surprise visit to Manama, capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain, at the beginning of February 2022. The unannounced visit took place against the backdrop of increased tensions in the Gulf region following repeated drone attacks carried out by Yemen's Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

After Gantz's arrival in Manama, the Israeli Defence Ministry announced that the visit aimed at finalising the signing of a security cooperation agreement with Bahrain, which is also home to the US Navy’s largest military base in the Gulf region. During his visit, Gantz did not disclose any details about the content of this security agreement, neither did he mention the Houthi rebels nor the recent attacks against Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

According to Israel, strengthening its military cooperation with allies in the region could help to counter Iran's attempts at regional domination. On Twitter, Gantz said he was "honoured" to be in Bahrain “and looking forward to meeting the Kingdom’s leaders”.

Upon landing, Gantz was welcomed at the airport by his Bahraini counterpart, H.E. LTG. Abdullah Bin Hassan Al Nuaim.


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