The United States and Bahrain have had strong ties for decades. On December 1, the two countries launched their first bi-lateral strategic dialogue, beginning with virtual remarks by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani.
Secretary Pompeo praised Bahrain for signing the historic Abraham Accords, which normalize relations with Israel (the second of four countries to do so), thereby opening up cooperation in many areas, including tourism, education, trade, and security.
“This is a sign of hope for the region as it moves past stale, outdated thinking to which no one should want to return. And I am confident more nations will follow Bahrain’s leadership, showing the geographic size of a country does not dictate its influence on the world stage.”
In addition, Secretary Pompeo highlighted Bahrain’s role as a security partner for the United States. He cited Bahrain’s assistance in defeating ISIS by launching airstrikes against the fraudulent caliphate, and he noted Bahrain’s role in hosting the U.S. Naval Central Command and the U.S. Fifth Fleet’s headquarters:
“That allows us to collaborate across the board, from fighting terrorism to safeguarding the passage of goods in the Gulf, free from Iran’s maritime attacks.”
Secretary Pompeo noted that the Iranian regime “is the number-one threat to Gulf security and to peace-loving people throughout the entire region.”
“And I want to thank Bahrain and its people for their steadfast support of our maximum pressure campaign, which has successfully isolated Tehran and cut off tens of billions of dollars for Iranian malign influence and terror.”
What Bahrain and the United States share, said Secretary Pompeo, is “a key foreign policy insight. We’re realistic; we see the world as it is”:
“We recognize the violent nature of the revolutionary Iranian regime, and we understand that when it comes to countering Tehran and many other important issues, Israel is a key partner, and not a problem.”
Over the next several weeks, five working groups from the State Department and other U.S. agencies met with their Bahraini counterparts to discuss areas like military training, women’s empowerment, human rights, and the dangers posed to future 5G networks by the Chinese Communist Party.
Secretary Pompeo said he is confident that these sessions will lay the foundation for an even stronger alliance between the United States and Bahrain.