US, Israel, UAE, Bahrain Begin Joint Red Sea Naval Drill
A five-day military exercise in the Red Sea conducted by the navies of the United States, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain was announced on Thursday by the United States Naval Forces Central Command, or NAVCENT. The exercise began on Wednesday.
The drill, which is led by the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, “includes at-sea training aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) focused on visit, board, search and seizure tactics. The training will enhance interoperability between participating forces’ maritime interdiction teams,” according to the announcement. It is the first time that Israel and Bahrain have publicly cooperated militarily.\
Israel normalized relations with the UAE and Bahrain as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords signed last year. Following the signing of the accords, the US Defense Department transferred Israel from the US Europe Command (EUCOM) to the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for the command and control of all US military forces in the Middle East, including Egypt, as well as Central Asia and parts of South Asia.
“It is exciting to see US forces training with regional partners to enhance our collective maritime security capabilities,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “Maritime collaboration helps safeguard freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade, which are essential to regional security and stability.”