By Tom Kool
In a three-way phone call on Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, U.S. President Trump announced that Bahrain became the next Arab Gulf State to join the historic peace deal that Israel closed with the UAE on August 13th.
Addressing reporters on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump already hinted at the participation of another nation in the peace deal. While some analysts expected Saudi Arabia to be the next Arab nation to normalize relations with Jerusalem, there were already some signals that Bahrain would be the next nation to establish relations after the country opened its airspace to Israeli flights.
Shortly after the phone call, U.S. President Trump announced the ‘’Historic Breakthrough’’, saying that it is ‘’the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!’’
Trump also tweeted the joint statement in which the two nations agree to work together to increase stability, security and prosperity in the region.
Joint Statement of the United States, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the State of Israel pic.twitter.com/xMquRkGtpM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2020
While the normalization of relations between Bahrain and Israel can be seen as a positive development, it’s also a development that adds another layer of complexity to Middle East geopolitics.
Digging deeper to see what’s really behind the normalization of relations between Arab nations and Israel, Oilprice.com’s Simon Watkins quotes a senior source who works closely with the EU on security matters as saying that “This formal deal, though, just officially clarifies what has been happening for some time between Israel and the UAE in the field of intelligence co-operation to counteract Iran’s growing power in the region that has become more militaristic, given the increasing dominance of the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps] in Tehran,”
While there has not been a direct reaction from Iran on the Bahrain-Israel diplomatic deal, Tehran, in the meantime has been taking its own measures to guarantee its safety. Iran recently announced more military and intelligence co-operation with both Russia and China.
Bahrain will become the fourth Arab country – following Egypt, Jordan and the UAE, to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel, while Oman and Sudan are believed to be on the cusp of doing the same.