The Israeli diplomat who brought Israel’s secret relationship with Bahrain into an official one told Axios that Israel’s increasing cooperation with Gulf states is keeping “the Iranians up at night.”
A key aspect of the US-brokered normalization deals between Israel and Arab nations was to further isolate Iran. Earlier this month, those efforts culminated into the first official joint military exercise between the US, Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain.
Itay Tagner is the outgoing ambassador for Israel’s new embassy in Bahrain. Before it was official, Tagner served as the envoy for what was a secret Israeli diplomatic facility in Manama.
Itay boasted to Axios of Bahrain’s willingness to boost military ties with Israel and said officials from the Gulf country made it clear they “would not shy away” from coordinating on Iran. He said one sign came in August when a Bahraini envoy visited Israel and released a photo with the Israeli general in charge of operations against Iran.
“A picture is worth a thousand words, but Sheikh Abdulla personally approved the press release that accompanied the photo and stressed that both countries agreed to enhance security cooperation,” Tagner said.
The US recently moved Israel under Central Command’s area of responsibility. Previously, Israel fell under US European Command since it did not have formal relations with many of Washington’s Arab allies in the region.
Israeli officials are happy about the new arrangement and are eager to solidify military ties even more. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reportedly floated the idea of creating an anti-Iran NATO-style alliance that includes Israel and the Gulf states in his meeting with President Biden back in August.