Israel, Bahrain sign new defense memo in signal toward Iran

Feb 2, 2022, 2:42 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2022, 7:32 am
FILE - Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, speaks during a meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd A...

FILE - Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, speaks during a meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Washington. Gantz on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, visited the headquarters of the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain, in a show of cooperation aimed at sending a message toward archenemy Iran. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel and Bahrain signed a defense agreement Thursday as part of a show of cooperation aimed at sending a message toward archenemy Iran.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed the memorandum of understanding with his Bahraini counterpart in the capital of Manama, a key step after the two nations normalized ties in 2020.

He called the agreement “a new high point” in the countries’ relationship that will help protect other countries in the region. Earlier, Gantz and his Bahraini counterpart visited the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is based in the strategically located Persian Gulf country.

Gantz’s office said the agreement is designed to “help advance intelligence cooperation, a framework for exercises” and strengthen ties between the countries’ defense industries. The memorandum is Israel’s second with an Arab nation after Gantz signed one with Morocco last year.

The visit comes at a time of growing tensions in the region fueled by the unraveling of the international nuclear deal with Iran and the ongoing civil war in Yemen. The U.S. and Israel have accused Iran of carrying out a number of attacks on ships in the Gulf, including on Israeli-linked cargo carriers, and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels recently launched a series of missile strikes at the United Arab Emirates. Israel has acknowledged stepping up naval operations in the Red Sea, an important waterway in the region.

Gantz was joined by the commander of Israel’s navy as well as Bahrain’s defense minister on the tour of the 5th Fleet. The delegation visited a U.S. guided-missile destroyer, the USS Cole, and discussed ways to cooperate in the volatile region. With Israel improving ties with Arab countries, the U.S. last year moved Israel away from its European Command and into its Central Command, which oversees the Middle East.

Over the past year, Israel’s cooperation with the 5th Fleet has expanded, Gantz said.

“This strategic cooperation is critical in facing developing challenges in the region,” he added. “Deepening cooperation will enable us to maintain regional stability and to defend the common interests of Israel, the United States and Bahrain.”

Gantz’s visit also comes as the U.S. leads a naval exercise with the participation of some 60 nations, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“This visit highlights the importance of the U.S. 5th Fleet’s decades-long strategic relationship with Bahrain and expanding partnership with Israel following the recent alignment of Israel to U.S. Central Command,” said U.S. Vice Adm. Brad Cooper in a statement issued by Israel’s Defense Ministry. “We are always at our best when we work together with our international partners.”

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates were among four Arab countries that joined the “Abraham Accords,” a series of diplomatic pacts with Israel brokered by the Trump administration.

For years, Israel and Bahrain maintained clandestine security ties, rooted in their concerns about Iran. Since the agreement, the countries have opened embassies, signed a series of agreements and established direct flights and business ties.

Bahrain’s population is majority Shiite, and the country has been ruled since 1783 by the Sunni Al Khalifa family. Since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, Bahrain’s rulers have accused Tehran of arming militants and fomenting dissent on the island, something Iran denies.

Normalization with Israel remains a contentious issue for Bahrain’s Shiite majority, which long has accused the country’s Sunni Muslim rulers of treating them like second-class citizens.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele participates in the closing ceremony of a congress for ...
Associated Press

In El Salvador, army surrounds town to root out gang

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — More than 2,000 soldiers and police surrounded and closed off a town in El Salvador Sunday in order to search for street gang members accused in a killing. The large-scale encirclement of the town of Comasagua is the latest example of heavy-handed tactics by the government to root out […]
15 hours ago
FILE - A boy diagnosed with cholera receives treatment at a cholera center in Anse D'Hainault, Hait...
Associated Press

Haiti reports cholera deaths for first time in 3 years

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s government on Sunday announced that at least eight people have died from cholera, raising concerns about another potentially catastrophic epidemic like the one that broke out a decade ago and killed nearly 10,000 people. The cases – the first cholera deaths reported in three years – came in a community […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Madame Wu, restaurateur to Hollywood’s elite, dies at 106

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sylvia Wu, whose famed Southern California restaurant drew Hollywood’s biggest stars for four decades, has died at age 106, according to a news report. Madame Wu’s Garden on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica became a dining destination shortly after it opened in 1959, popular for its cuisine and pagoda-style decor featuring […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

3 die when plane hits Minnesota home, but 2 in house unhurt

HERMANTOWN, Minn. (AP) — Three people aboard a small airplane died when it crashed into a house near a northern Minnesota airport, but the two people sleeping inside the home — and their cat — were unhurt. Hermantown Police said the Cessna 172 plane crashed into the second floor of the home just south of […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Fire damages Mark Wahlberg’s childhood home in Boston

BOSTON (AP) — A home where entertainers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg’s family once lived was damaged by fire Sunday in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, the fire department said. The blaze in a nearby home at around 10 a.m., but spread to another three buildings because of strong winds, Fire Commissioner Paul Burke said. Two firefighters suffered […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Voting ends in Bosnia election set to bring little change

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Polls have closed Sunday in Bosnia’s general election in which voters chose their new leaders from among the long-established cast of sectarian candidates and their challengers who pledged to eradicate, if elected, corruption and clientelism in government. Moments after vote count begun, Bosnia’s international overseer, Christian Schmidt, announced in a YouTube […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Israel, Bahrain sign new defense memo in signal toward Iran