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First Joint Naval Exercise: US, UAE, Bahrain and Israel

  • 13 Nov 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Forces from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Israel and the United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) began a multilateral maritime security operations exercise in the Red Sea.

  • This is the first publicly acknowledged naval exercise between the United States, Israel and the two Gulf countries.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The UAE and Bahrain in 2020 normalised diplomatic relations with Israel under a US-brokered deal known as the Abraham Accords, brought together by shared worries about Iran and hopes of economic gains.
      • The US 5th Fleet/NAVCENT is based in the Gulf island state of Bahrain and operates in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.
    • Since February 2021, Iran and Israel have been accused of engaging in what analysts have called a "shadow war", in which vessels linked to each nation have come under attack in waters around the Gulf in tit-for-tat exchanges.
    • Negotiations between Iran and major powers (P5+1) on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal will resume in Vienna on 29th November 2021, with failure carrying the risk of a sharp spike in regional tensions.
    • The five-day exercise in the Red Sea is intended to enhance interoperability between participating forces.
      • Maritime collaboration helps safeguard freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade, which are essential to regional security and stability.
    • The exercises include boarding, search and seizure training on the USS Portland, an amphibious transport dock ship.
  • Red Sea:
    • The Red Sea is a semi-enclosed tropical basin, bounded by northeastern Africa, to the west, and the Arabian peninsula, to the east.
    • The elongated and narrow-shaped basin extends between the Mediterranean Sea, to the north-west, and the Indian Ocean, to the south-east.
    • At the northern end, it separates into the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez, which is connected to the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal.
    • At the southern end, it is connected to the Gulf of Aden, and the outer Indian Ocean, via the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb.
    • It is surrounded by desert or semi-desert areas, with no major freshwater inflow.
    • 6 Bordering Countries: Yemen; Saudi Arabia; Egypt; Sudan; Eritrea; Djibouti.

Source: TH

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