UAE, Bahrain, Israel and US conduct first joint naval exercise since normalisation

UAE, Bahrain, Israel and US conduct first joint naval exercise since normalisation
The five-day operation involving forces from the UAE, Bahrain, Israel and the US was conducted in the Red Sea and involved 'board, search and seizure tactics'.
2 min read
16 November, 2021
The joint military exercise began in the Red Sea last Wednesday [Getty-file photo]

The UAE and Bahrain have conducted a joint military maritime exercise with Israel and the US, the first since the Gulf countries normalised ties with Israel last year. 

The four countries began the multilateral naval mission in the Red Sea last Wednesday. 

The five-day operation is the first publicly acknowledged maritime exercise between the Arab and Israeli navies since the Abraham Accords in 2020, which established diplomatic relations between Israel, and a number of Arab states - brokered by the US. 

"The training will enhance interoperability between participating forces' maritime interdiction teams," said the US Naval Forces Central Command in a statement last Thursday. 

The military exercise involved "board, search and seizure tactics", according to the statement. 

"Maritime collaboration helps safeguard freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade, which are essential to regional security and stability," said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the US Naval Forces Central Command. 

Since the Abraham Accords were signed in September 2020, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain have engaged in a number of defence and diplomatic agreements with Israel. 


The head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency met top Bahrain security officials in October. Later that same month, the UAE air force chief landed in Israel for his first public visit. 

The three countries share concern over Iran’s recent activities in the Gulf region.

Iran disapproves of US intervention in the Middle East and has engaged in multiple clashes with Israel at the sea, in the air, and in cyberspace. Tehran continues to back the Houthi rebels in the war in Yemen as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Iran recently began military drills near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in an effort to showcase its might amid increased isolation from many of its neighbours.