The US and Bahrain will ink a deal to upgrade the two nations’ strategic partnership this week, according to Axios. One source briefed on the issue said the White House hopes to use this deal as a framework for other regional agreements. The Joe Biden administration is currently striving to induce Riyadh into normalizing with apartheid Israel.
Washington and Manama have a strong partnership, the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is headquartered at a large base in Bahrain. Since 2002, the Gulf Kingdom has been a major non-NATO ally of the United States, though this does not include a security commitment.
Two sources familiar with the upcoming deal told Axios, “[it] includes a commitment to consult and provide assistance if Bahrain faces an imminent security threat.” Another source explained that the deal outlines an economic partnership between the two countries, and cooperation involving “trusted technologies.”
Though legally binding, the security commitment will fall short of the NATO-style Article 5 guarantee which Riyadh is reportedly seeking in exchange for normalizing ties with Tel Aviv. Bahrain likely desired a bolstered commitment because of the threat of war with Iran.
However, in March, Beijing achieved a diplomatic feat by brokering a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran. This has sparked a regional realignment with Iran’s ally Damascus being welcomed back into the Arab League after being suspended for more than a decade.
The report says Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa is expected to sign the deal during a visit to Washington this week where he will be meeting with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
Last week, Brett McGurk, Biden’s top Middle East official on the National Security Council, visited Bahrain for meetings, discussing the final details of this new agreement, with the Crown Prince as well as other officials.
Bahrain is also a signatory of the Abraham Accords which is a thinly veiled foundation for a regional military coalition led by the US and Israel eyeing Iran. Under the accords, Gulf dictatorships such as Bahrain recognize Israel – absent a Palestinian state or end to the apartheid regime – and in turn receive increased access to advanced weapon systems manufactured by the US military-industrial complex. Washington is attempting to exploit the arms deals as a way of securing concessions from regional countries, namely downgrading economic ties with China.
Recent polling has shown that as a result of Israeli massacres and war crimes committed against the occupied Palestinians, the Abraham Accords are becoming increasingly unpopular among the populace in signatory states including Bahrain and the UAE. During recent months, the US has expanded its military presence in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East in preparation for a confrontation with Tehran. This weekend, David Barnea, the chief of the Israeli Mossad, declared Tel Aviv will launch another assassination campaign within the Islamic Republic.