Israel, the Emirates and Bahrain launch their first joint naval maneuvers

The maneuvers, which began on Wednesday and will last five days, are taking place in the Red Sea next to the strategic Suez Canal, whose shores are notably shared by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen at war.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are conducting their first joint naval maneuvers with Israel, a year after the two Gulf Arab states normalized ties with the Jewish state, the US Navy said on Thursday. The maneuvers, which began on Wednesday November 10 and will last five days, will take place in the Red Sea next to the strategic Suez Canal, whose shores are notably shared by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen at war. They aim to “Improving interoperability between the armed forces involved“, according to a press release from the United States Navy.

It’s exciting to see US forces training with regional partners to enhance our collective maritime security capabilities.” Said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, the head of the United States Naval Forces Central Command (Navcent), quoted in the press release. “Cooperation at sea helps safeguard freedom of navigation and free trade flows, which are essential to regional stability and security“, he added.

Iran as a common concern

This is the first announced military cooperation between the Emirates and Bahrain, on the one hand, and Israel, on the other hand, since establishing diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in September 2020. Abu Dhabi and Manama were then the first Arab capitals of the United Arab Emirates Gulf to publicly close their ties with Israel normalize without linking this act to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Morocco had followed, as had Sudan.

The Emirates, Bahrain and Israel share a common concern over Iran, which is accused of orchestrating attacks on ships in the Red Sea and in the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Gulf to the Arabian Sea. Iran is also accused of supporting Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who oppose the Yemeni government, which is backed by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and including the Emirates.

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