U.S. to upgrade security, economic cooperation with Bahrain – report
Sources say the expected deal will include a U.S. commitment to consult and provide assistance if Bahrain faces an imminent security threat
The United States is reportedly expected to upgrade its security commitment to Bahrain with a strategic security and economic agreement between Washington and the Gulf kingdom.
According to Axios, which quoted three sources briefed on the development, Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa is expected to sign the deal during a visit to the U.S. later this week. He is also expected to meet U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
The sources said the deal will include a commitment to consult and provide assistance if Bahrain faces an imminent security threat, and will outline an economic partnership between the two countries as well as cooperation around technology.
Bahrain is a key U.S. partner in the Gulf region, with the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet headquartered on a naval base there. The kingdom also sees Iran – which is located less than 100 miles away on the other side of the Gulf – as a threat.
The sources told Axios that the U.S.-Bahrain strategic agreement has been in the works for over a year, and that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration wants to use it as a framework for similar deals with other countries in the region.
On a wider scale, the anticipated pact is part of a broader push by Washington to strengthen its ties with Gulf countries – particularly Saudi Arabia. Last week, Biden announced together with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and India a major international infrastructure project to connect India, the Middle East, and Europe with a network of railways and shipping lines.