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US touts Bahrain defense agreement as model for Middle East strategy

The upgrade to US-Bahrain ties marks the latest sign of Biden's emerging Middle East strategy following the announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor at the G20 summit last week.
Bahrain's Prime Minister and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sign a security integration and prosperity agreement at the US Department of State on September 13, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The United States on Wednesday signed an agreement with Bahrain that entails Washington's support for the Gulf kingdom should it come under foreign attack.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who is also the country’s prime minister, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken inked the agreement to expand the two countries' defense and economic ties during a ceremony in Washington.

Biden administration officials hope the deal will be the first in a series with Middle Eastern nations as the US seeks to maintain its influence in the region following major military withdrawals as it competes with China on the global stage.

Details of the deal are expected to be made public in the coming days, a senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday. The official said the agreement builds upon existing US-Bahraini military ties and a free trade agreement signed by the two countries in 2004, while aiming to bring Manama into partnership with the United States in its race to become the global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

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