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Israel Said to Agree to Sell Bahrain UAVs, Anti-Drone Systems

2022-07-13 - 5:12 p

Bahrain Mirror: Israel has agreed to sell unmanned aircraft and anti-drone systems to Bahrain, according to a report Tuesday, with Jerusalem set to report progress on an initiative to form a Mideast military alliance to counter Iran.

The Wall Street Journal report cited a senior Bahraini official saying that the Mossad and Shin Bet have been working with Manama in recent months to train its intelligence officers.

The same official told the Wall Street Journal that Israel has agreed to sell drones as well as anti-drone systems to the country.

The report did not specify what type of drone or defense equipment would be in the deal.

A senior Israeli official said late Tuesday that tangible developments in the budding Israel-Saudi relationship will be announced during Biden's visit. The official said that Israel was operating as if "the steps we are taking now will only be the beginning, the start of the process of normalization between the countries."

Israel and Bahrain normalized ties in 2020 as part of the US-sponsored Abraham Accords that also established diplomatic relations between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates. The accord paved the way for normalization with Morocco months later.

US President Joe Biden's administration is aiming to further expand cooperation between Israel and Arab nations, in particular Saudi Arabia, a key player in the region.

Biden is due to visit Israel on Wednesday and from there head to Saudi Arabia.

On Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday that Israel would bring Biden up to speed on progress toward building a regional military alliance. Gantz has spoken of US-led efforts to establish a regional air defense pact between Israel and its Arab allies in the region, against the threat of Iranian drones and missiles. The countries in such an alliance would reportedly include United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

The pact is meant to connect air defense systems to combat Iran's increasing use of drones and missiles in the Middle East.

Gantz said last week that there may be a possible "breakthrough" in the efforts during Biden's upcoming visit to Israel, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia, set to begin Wednesday.

A senior Iranian officer said Monday the efforts were doomed to fail, citing a Saudi-led alliance's difficulties fighting Iran backed rebels in Yemen.

"It is quite easy to predict the possible fate of the [so-called] Arab NATO," Brigadier General Yadollah Javani said, according to the state-run Press TV. 

"Compared to the past coalitions, the new alliance will be even weaker and lack effectiveness in the face of the resistance front and the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Arabic Version