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Bahrain chooses alignment with Israel over submission to Iran


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Washington Examiner

Since the announcement of the Abraham Accords in August 2020, ties between Bahrain and Israel have grown steadily, reaching a milestone last week when an Israeli military aircraft, carrying Defense Minister Benny Gantz, touched down in Manama. It was the first Israeli military plane to fly over Saudi Arabia and land in a Gulf country.

Bahrain has long suffered from Iranian bullying. In 2007, Hussain Shariaatmadari, an aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote that Bahrain was once a Persian province that Western powers unlawfully separated from Iran. In 2017, the state-owned daily Iran reiterated this claim, asserting that until 1956 Bahrain had been Iranian, with a 70% Persian-speaking Shiite population. In other words, Bahrain belongs to Iran, and its independence is not acceptable.


Neither history nor demographics supports Tehran’s claims. Today, the majority of Iranians who live on the east bank of the Persian Gulf, under Iranian sovereignty, are ethnic Arab citizens of Iran who suffer under immense discrimination and a policy of Persianization.

An island nation that could just about fit inside the Washington Beltway, Bahrain needs allies. Now it has found in military cooperation with Israel a good way to deter Tehran. Close ties to the Jewish state were once unthinkable for the Arab Gulf monarchies, but Iran has kept up its threats despite mounting evidence that it is driving its adversaries closer together.:snip:

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