For the first time ever, Israel’s navy is formally taking part in joint maritime drills with the UAE and Bahrain. According to Israeli media, the message that Iran is receiving from this muscle-flexing appears to be a warning.
According to the US Fifth Fleet confirmation, the military exercise started on Wednesday. It is also part of the Red Sea five-day force show. The joint drills come a little over a year after the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. As most Arab nations refuse to recognize Israel officially until the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has been resolved, the agreement is a significant departure from tradition.
????????⚓️????????⚓️????????⚓️????????The United Arab Emirates and Israel are the United States of America’s military allies. Naval Forces Central Command began conducting a multilateral maritime security operations exercise in the Red Sea, Nov. 10.https://t.co/Quph73qc8d
— U.S. 5th Fleet (@US5thFleet) November 11, 2021
The US Naval Forces Central Command, (NAVCENT), commented on ongoing Red Sea drills and identified interoperability improvement as the main objective. “Collaboration in maritime matters helps to protect freedom of navigation and trade flow, both of which are vital for stability and regional security.,” said NAVCENT commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper.
The Israeli media, though it wasn’t stated explicitly anywhere, quickly concluded that these drills are meant to be a warning to Iran. This exercise is occurring at a moment when tensions between Iran and Israel are dangerously close.
In March of this year, an Iranian container vessel was attacked in the Mediterranean Sea. Tehran blamed Israel. A few months later, an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire came under attack off the coast of Oman, and Israeli officials laid the blame at Iran’s door.
Between these two incidents and many others, both sides freely discussed the possibility that a military conflict could break out. The US is increasing its support of Israel and bolstering its military presence along the Strait of Hormuz. Iran, in turn, has slammed the increased Israeli and American bravado in the region as “provocative.”
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