Bennett suggests military alliance with Jordan, Gulf: report

Bennett suggests Israel, Jordan, Gulf states form 'NATO-like' military alliance against Iran: report
2 min read
30 August, 2021
Naftali Bennett suggested to Joe Biden the formation of a military alliance that includes Israel, Gulf states and Jordan, according to Israeli media reports.
During his meeting with Biden, Israeli PM Bennett suggests the formation of a military alliance between Israel, Gulf states and Jordan [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett suggested the formation of a new military alliance that would include Israel, Gulf states, and Jordan during a meeting with US President Joe Biden last week, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

Bennett, who met with Biden in the White House on Friday, had hoped to gain US assurances against Tehran obtaining a nuclear weapon. His suggestion of a military alliance would serve to confront Iran.

"During his meeting (on Friday) with Biden, Bennett proposed establishing a joint defense force along the lines of NATO between Israel, the Gulf states and Jordan, to confront the Iranian threat," said Gilly Cohen, Israeli broadcaster Kan's correspondent in Washington.

"The proposal mainly includes the installation of radars and warning devices, to counter any air threat from Iran," Cohen added.

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Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the 49-year-old premier said he had achieved his goals on his first official visit to Washington since taking office in June. 

In particular, he said he was happy to hear Biden say he was determined Iran should "never" obtain a nuclear weapon. Previously, Biden had said Tehran would not develop nukes "on my watch".

"I found a leader who loves Israel, knows exactly what he wants and is listening to our needs," Bennett said. 

Israel fiercely opposes Biden's attempt to reverse Trump's withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme. 

Since Trump's move, Iran has itself withdrawn from key commitments, including on uranium enrichment.

Biden pledged the US was committed to ensuring "Iran never develops a nuclear weapon, but we're putting diplomacy first and seeing where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails we're ready to turn to other options".

After he spoke, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki clarified that diplomacy was "far and away our best option and the preferable option".

While Israel has diplomatic ties with Jordan and, more recently, with the UAE, it has no official diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. However, reports have surfaced indicating extensive behind-the-scenes diplomatic and intelligence cooperation between Riyadh and Tel Aviv, in pursuit of mutual goals, particularly against regional enemy Iran.