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Israel in talks with Gulf states to form defence alliance, report claims

February 26, 2021 at 12:29 pm

A road is decorated with the flags of (L-R) the US, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Bahrain, in the resort city of Netanya in central Israel, on September 13, 2020 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel is currently in talks with the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the purpose of forming a defence alliance, a report by the Israeli news outlet i24NEWS claimed yesterday.

According to the report, the alliance would serve the purpose of countering the “growing Iranian threat” that all four nations face, especially amid Tehran’s increased influence in neighbouring Iraq and Syria and its purported nuclear ambitions.

A key factor in the reported defence alliance is thought to be the UAE’s and Bahrain’s normalisation of ties with Israel last year. Although Riyadh is not yet part of those Abraham Accords, it is suspected to have covert relations with Tel Aviv and to potentially normalise ties in the near future.

READ: Israel, America and the Iranian nuclear deal crisis

As of yet, specific details of the alliance have not been released or further reported on, remaining vague. Citing Israeli officials who spoke to i24NEWS, they refused to confirm whether the report was true and if such talks are taking place, but simply stated that “Israel is constantly working to improve its relations with its Arab neighbours.”

It also comes amid attempts by the United States President Joe Biden to renew talks with Iran over Washington’s possible return to the nuclear deal of 2015, which former President Donald Trump pulled out of three years ago.

Israel has long been a fierce critic of the nuclear deal and has urged the US not to return to it, alleging that it only delays Iran’s production of nuclear weapons and helps it to conduct its programme subtly. With Iran seen as the common threat by Israel and the Gulf Arab states, the alliance is thought by some to be part of Tel Aviv’s efforts to counter any renewal of the deal.

READ: Over 20 ex-Israel officials back US return to Iran nuclear deal