Defense Minister Benny Gantz made a surprise visit today to the US Navy base in Bahrain as part of a visit to the nation. Bahrain houses the naval base nearest Iran, and was the venue used in joint military exercises with Israel and other nations last year.
“I have just completed a very significant visit to the Fifth Fleet, along with Israeli Navy Commander David Saar Salama, and US Navy Commander Admiral Brad Cooper,” Gantz, told reporters.
“In the past year, thanks in part to the ‘Abraham Accords’ and CENTCOM’s absorption of Israel into its purview, cooperation between the IDF and the Fifth Fleet has been strengthening, as is the cooperation between our defense establishments. This is a first-rate strategic security need in the face of growing challenges in the maritime arena in particular and in the region in general,” he added.
The comments come as part of a plan to increase partnerships in the region to counter threats from Iran and its proxies. The need appears to continue to grow for such partnerships, as Yemen’s Houthi’s have launched recent missile attacks at the UAE, including during Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s recent visit.
The report also noted an expected memorandum of understanding to be signed between Israel and Bahrain regarding military defense, another first between the two countries. The act will serve as one of a growing number of strategic endeavors between the two nations serving in Abraham Accords.
The move also shows further connections between Israel, Bahrain, and the US in preparations to counter threats from Iran. Despite ongoing efforts by the US and European nations to restart the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, military leaders recognize the need to prepare for any concern that may arise.
As Bennett and other leaders in Israel have repeatedly stated, the nation reserves its right to defend itself against Iran regardless of other plans, especially given Iran’s pattern of not fulfilling its part in past agreements.