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Analysis

What Are Washington’s Worries And Aims behind Security Pact with Bahrain?

Sunday 17 September 2023
What Are Washington’s Worries And Aims behind Security Pact with Bahrain?

Alwaght- Seeing its hegemony heavily shaky, the US is as always laying its fingers on Arab countries’ weakness to keep its allies at the Western camp. To this end, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Wednesday signed a security-economic pact. 

The top American diplomat referred to the agreement, saying that security and intelligence cooperation between the two countries will see enhancement. 

“This agreement will enhance cooperation across a wide range of areas, from defense and security to emerging technology, trade, and investment. This agreement deepens our cooperation in three very important ways. It will strengthen coordination between our armed forces and the integration of our intelligence capacities, allowing us to even better deter and respond to threats as they arise,” a statement by Blinken read. 

He added: “It enhances our economic relationship. Since 2006, our free trade agreement has more than tripled trade and investment to about $3 billion a year. Today’s agreement builds on this, in part by identifying new investment opportunities for the private sector partners in the United States.”

He went on: “At a moment when technology holds so much potential to better our lives, this agreement advances scientific and technical cooperation between our countries, including through increased information sharing and exchanges between our people. And already we’re collaborating in areas like health security and digital technology. I think we’ll see with today’s signing all of this become elevated. We’ll start the process of working together on renewable energy, on carbon capture technologies, and other cutting-edge endeavors.” 

For his part, the Bahraini crown prince held that this pact is a sign of a joint statement that clearly expresses the two countries’ intention to move forward to a future based on common values and will help boost the cooperation to serve the favorable well-being for the future generations. 

“This bilateral agreement is the basis and starting point for international cooperation in accordance with the mutual interests of the two countries and common views in the field of diplomacy, security and economic integration,” he said.

An American official said that the visit to Washington of the Bahraini crown prince marked the peak of diplomatic communications that will include several further visits to the US. 

Elevating Bahrain’s security position for the US 

This agreement shows the significance and position of Bahrain for the US at a time Saudi Arabia and the UAE are seeking security guarantees of a more formal nature from Biden administration. Bahrain is currently home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and the headquarters of US Naval Forces Central Command (CENTCOM), and thousands of American military personnel are stationed in the tiny Arab kingdom. 

Bahrain became a major non-NATO ally of the US in 2002, and the new agreement represents an enhanced US security commitment to Bahrain, but it does not provide guarantees of the NATO Article 5 that suggests any attack on a member of the coalition would be an attack on all its members. 

According to an American official, the pact is meant to prevent threats, and should Bahrain is attacked, the US will immediately discuss a response with allies. 

Despite the fact that in recent years the US shifted its focus from the Persian Gulf to the East Asia to contain its key rival China, the growing Chinese cooperation with the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies has doubled the American concerns. China signing tens of economic deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE beside security partnership pushes Washington to the conclusion that it should save its decades-long position in the region by any means. The White House leaders are pushing to block China’s way of influence in the Persian Gulf. However, by becoming the top economic partners with the Arab monarchies, China is challenging long years of American military and security partnership with these countries. 

On the other hand, over the past year, Russia has strengthened economic and security cooperation level with the Arab states, while the alliance between China and Russia in the Persian Gulf is by itself extremely dangerous for the interests of the West. Feeling the risks, the Americans are trying to maintain their foothold and curtail the influence of competitors by sealing security and economic deals with Arab states. 

Countering growing Iranian-Arab cooperation atmosphere 

Indeed, any security cooperation between the US and Arab states has to do with Iran’s moves in the region, and the agreement with Bahrain is no exception. Given the concerns about Iran’s influence, asa White House official said, this agreement concentrates on deterrence and setting the conditions for more stable region. 

The security agreement with Manama comes at a time Iran has improved its relations with Saudi Arabia and subsequently other Arab countries are also taking steps towards more normal relations with Tehran. Therefore, Washington intends to prevent Arab-Iranian convergence by strengthening its military presence in Bahrain and prevent Iran from building deeper influence in the region. 

The agreement also comes as in recent months Iran and Arab monarchies have agreed to found a naval force to ensure regional waters, rendering the Americans worried about this marriage of views. A naval force with Arab states will not only enhance Iran’s position regionally, but also impair the American military presence in the region. The Arab leaders are embracing a belief that Persian Gulf security should be provided regionally, something bearing the prelude to the US military expulsion from the region. 

The agreement comes at a time Biden administration has unfolding plans to work out a normalization deal between the Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia in return for Riyadh receiving security guarantees from the US. Last year, Washington planned a military alliance with Arab states and Tel Aviv against Tehran, but its push went nowhere, and so evil Israeli scheme to penetrate Persian Gulf and destabilize its security failed. Therefore, the Americans try to reverse the defeats of past policies with security agreement with Bahrain, a country that has had frayed relations with Iran in recent years. But even these belated measures cannot make any deference, because now the normalization of Arab relations with the Israeli regime is on the rocks and no country is willing to suffer the disgrace caused by normalization in this situation. 

By inking this agreement, Washington wants to signal that it has no plans for pulling out of the Persian Gulf. It is a signal to Saudi Arabia and other allies that despite being occupied with Ukraine case, Washington can defend its Arab allies to dissuade them from drifting to Tehran. However, Saudi and Emirati leaders have shown over the past year that they cannot put all of their eggs in the American basket as signs of American hegemony downswing are emerging and countries are breaking with the West and moving to a new world order China and Russia are projecting to the world. 

 

Tags :

US Bahrain Security Pact Persian Gulf Iran Saudi

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