[Ed. – Bahrain is not unexpected, given the long ties to the U.S. But the move is an important one, as Iran has had leverage over Bahrain for some time via the significant Shia minority in the Bahraini population. Iran fomented Shia unrest during the Arab Spring in 2011, when readers may remember a brief armed intervention by Saudi Arabia. Bahrain normalizing relations with Israel — another advance brokered by the U.S. – indicates a decisive loss of Iranian influence there.]
Bahrain has joined the United Arab Emirates in striking an agreement to normalize relations with Israel, President Donald Trump said on Friday, a dramatic move aimed at easing tensions in the Middle East.
Trump tweeted out the news after he spoke by phone to both Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said.
Joint Statement of the United States, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the State of Israel pic.twitter.com/xMquRkGtpM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2020
“This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East,” the United States, Bahrain and Israel said in a joint statement.
“Opening direct dialog and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region,” it said.