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US Senators reveal Arab normalising countries’ desire to expand security coordination with Israel

January 27, 2023 at 10:00 am

The flags of US, Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain are projected on the ramparts of Jerusalem’s Old City on September 15, 2020 in a show of support for Israeli normalisation deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]

Members of a bipartisan delegation of seven US Senators who visited the four signatory countries of the 2020 Abraham Accords, namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Morocco and Israel, said the Arab leaders have a great desire to expand security cooperation with Israel.

The delegation which visited the four countries last week was led by Senators Jacky Rosen and James Lankford, who are co-founders and co-chairs of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus.

The delegation said the Arab leaders feel “optimistic” about the future of the normalisation agreements.

In an interview with Jewish Insider, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat) said each country’s leader expressed a desire for expanded economic and security cooperation with Israel and the US, highlighting, in particular, the threat of Iran and its proxies.

“[Iran] is a unifying issue,” she said. “And when we met with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, we really reiterated the statements from these [Arab] governments and how their talking points aligned almost exactly with the Prime Minister’s.”

Gillibrand added that “You would be blown away” by the existing defence cooperation among the new allies. She cautioned, however, that “we have a lot of work to do” to create a deeper national security alliance between the UAE and the US, in particular, given the UAE’s continuing relationship with China, which she said would have to be curtailed.

The Democratic Senator indicated that she has already discussed pathways for expanding collaboration with National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, and US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides.

She also proposed formally bringing Jordan and Egypt into the Abraham Accords and floated the idea of adding Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the pact — although she said the delegation’s focus was on deepening existing relationships, rather than adding new countries to the Accords.

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