Gulf Arab navies have held their first joint military exercise with Israeli warships a move co-ordinated by the US Navy. This turn of events was considered unthinkable about three years ago.
This exercise included a five-day drill in the Red Sea of warships from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Israel and the US. It started last Wednesday and included boarding, search and seizure tactics with a motto of wanting “to help ensure freedom of navigation”.
US Naval Forces Central Command stated that the training would increases the navigation prospects and would also “enhance interoperability between participating forces’ maritime interdiction teams”.
The exercise follows the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, which saw the UAE and Bahrain normalise their relations with Israel. Since then, there has been an intense exchange of diplomatic, military and intelligence contacts between Israel and those Gulf states, as all parties share their concern over Iran’s activities. The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency has made a public visit to Bahrain and in October the commander of the UAE’s air force arrived in Israel on his first ever such visit.
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