Bahrain, Israel to Normalize Relations, Raising Trump Admin Optimism for Broader Peace

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP announced Friday that Israel and Bahrain would normalize diplomatic relations – the fourth Arab country ever to do so and the second within weeks – in a move seen as undermining the Palestinian cause but which the White House believes will ultimately lead to similar agreements throughout the Middle East.

“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today!” Trump tweeted Friday afternoon, along with a statement about the new pact. “Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal – the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!”

White House officials were scant on details about what prompted the agreement to take place or any conditions governing it, particularly amid speculation that the U.S. may now consider more sophisticated arms sales to Bahrain as an incentive for warming relations with the Jewish state – a cornerstone of Trump’s foreign policy campaign promises. Bahrain hosts the home port for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet and serves as a critical hub for U.S. operations throughout the region but is not, for example, among the countries approved to buy the sophisticated F-35 fighter jet.

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