Abraham Accords Secure Strategic Middle East Alliances for Israel

Israel’s relations with the Gulf countries have not only normalized but have transformed into active alliances

By Jason Silverman | | Topics: Iran, Bahrain, Abraham Accords
Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz touches down in Bahrain. It was the first time an Israeli military aircraft had landed in the Gulf state. Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense

Israel Minister of Defense Benny Gantz on Wednesday embarked on a historic visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain. It is the first visit of its kind in which an Israeli Minister of Defense has paid an official visit to the Gulf country. According to the Ministry of Defense, Gantz was received by Bahrain’s Defense Minister, Lieutenant-General Abdullah bin Hassan Al Nuaimi, upon arriving in Manama at Bahrain International Airport. He was accompanied by a delegation of other senior Israeli military officials such as the Commander in Chief of the Israeli Navy David Saar Salama. Traveling on an Israel Air Force plane, it was the first time that IDF aircraft had ever landed on Bahraini soil.

The visit, as a first of its kind, is a historical event in terms of Israel’s relations with Arab states in the region. However, this visit is of special importance since Gantz is also set to sign a historic defense cooperation agreement with Bahrain.

The historic visit and defense cooperation agreement come against the backdrop of the increasing threat posed by the Houthis—an armed rebel group in Yemen backed by Iran—against the Gulf countries.

On Sunday, January 30, the Houthis launched missiles into the territory of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the official visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog in the country, constituting the third attack in just one month. The attack posed an immediate security concern for Bahrain, and led to King Hamad’s arrival in Abu Dhabi to meet with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed just one day following the Houthi attack. King Hamad expressed his support for the UAE, emphasizing the closeness of their security concerns.

Thus, it is not a surprise that Israel, possessing the most powerful military in the region, would be contacted and be of assistance to its new allies since the Abraham Accords were signed in 2020.

According to Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, plans for Israeli assistance to the UAE are already in the works as a result of the attacks.

Gantz and Israel’s top defense officials lay out what the Jewish state is ready to do to help protect its new Gulf allies. Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense

Israeli defense officials visited their counterparts in the UAE in order to discuss possible defense and intelligence assistance. The Gulf country reportedly requested aid for its missile defense and counter-drone technology, a domain in which Israel is known for having expertise. It is thus logical that just days after this meeting, Israel’s Minister of Defense is signing a defense cooperation agreement with Bahrain.

Gantz also visited the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet and addressed the Jewish state’s American allies.

Although Iran is working tirelessly to harm its foes in the Middle East, especially Israel and the Gulf countries, it is achieving the exact opposite. The Islamic Republic is actually strengthening the Abraham Accords’ proof of concept.

The peace agreements were signed based on mutual security and economic interest of both Israel as well as the UAE and Bahrain. Moreover, the threat of Iranian intervention in different countries in the region only intensified the desire to normalize relations.

The more that Iran and its proxies, whether it is the Quds Force in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Houthis in Yemen, increase their terrorist activity in the region, the more it bolsters security cooperation and diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and the Gulf countries.

As a result, Israel’s relations with the Gulf countries have not only normalized but have transformed into active alliances. Gantz’s historic visit is proof of the lasting benefits that the Abraham Accords are providing for Israel in the region.

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