U.S. Arranges Secret Talks Between Israel, U.A.E. Over Iran
The meetings were convened by Brian Hook, the State Department’s top official for Iran, and are the latest sign of a steady thaw between Israel and Gulf Arab nations, largely brought about by their shared antipathy toward Tehran and its attempts to spread its regional influence.
A first meeting took place this spring and a second was held more recently, a U.S. official said. The exact dates and locations of the unpublicized meetings couldn’t be learned. Their existence was known to only a handful of people within the U.S. government, officials said.
Israel has diplomatic ties among Arab states only with Egypt and Jordan. Historic disagreements remain with those two as well as other Arab nations, particularly over the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
But covert, and occasionally overt, contacts between Israel and Gulf Arab nations have increased rapidly in recent years as concerns grew about Iran’s nuclear program and its role in conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
The discussions among U.S., Israeli and Emirati officials, although still in the preliminary stages, appear to indicate those contacts have gone beyond being symbolic and exploratory to mapping coordination on specific issues. They were intended to increase diplomatic, military and intelligence cooperation in dealing with Iran, the U.S. officials said
The deepening cooperation between Israel and the U.A.E. is an outgrowth of a U.S.-brokered conference on Middle East security held in Warsaw in February. The two-day meeting brought together leaders from Israel, the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia and dozens of other countries in an effort to build a global campaign against Iran.
Read more at: The Wall Street Journal
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