The US has been secretly brokering talks where military officials from Saudi Arabia and Israel are planning to coordinate defences against Iran.
The Wall Street Journal informed on Sunday, while citing US and regional offices, that in March, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) chief of staff met with delegations from Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.
Under Donald Trump, the former head of US Central Command, Gen Frank McKenzie, had Israel added to his area. He represented the US at the meeting that is the first time that such Arab countries have met Israel inorder to address Iran’s threatening capabilities in terms of its missiles and drones. It is also true that Israel does not have formal diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia or Qatar.
While Trump was in power, Israel signed the Abraham accords to establish formal relationships with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. It established a shift in international politics with the Middle East overlooking the occupation of the Palestinian territories, turning against Iran and coming closer to Israel. The March summit seems to signal a development in Saudi and Israeli ties.
Furthermore, President Joe Biden plans to visit the two countries in mid-July, when he is to outline the next steps in their relationship. It is believed that a suggested agreement includes Israel being given permission to take commercial flights over the kingdom, and Riyadh being given control of two strategic Red Sea islands that are currently ruled by Egypt.
Iran is also suspected to have carried out drone strikes on oil facilities in the Arab countries like that in Yemen in 2019 which harmed the oil production and had a toll on financial markets. Arab countries seem eager to have access to Israel’s air defence technology.
It has been reported that the parties involved in the summit plan to coordinate with and notify one another about aerial threats and they have begun planning for possible decisions in the case of having to deal with an attack. They are planning to send alerts through computers and phones for the time being instead of using more complex data-sharing mechanisms.
After a discussions on threats and ways in with countries could coordinate, the summit was decided upon. According to the Journal, the agreements were not binding but they require approval from political leaders.
According to the Central Command, it “maintains a firm commitment to increasing regional cooperation and developing integrated air and missile defence architecture to protect our force and our regional partners.” It did not, however, acknowledge the meeting.
There have been no comments from the spokespersons from any countries that attended the summit. Benny Gantz, Israel’s defence Minister, said that the “Middle East Air Defence Alliance” was active.
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