Bahrain

Introduction:

Hidden relations existed between Israel and Bahrain since 1971. In recent years they have been thawing, especially after the countries agreed to establish diplomatic relations in September 2020. Many official security and military meetings were conducted between Bahraini and Israeli officials. In 2021 the countries operated a joint naval drill in the Red Sea. Israel supplied different cyber technologies and training to Bahrain.

Israel - Bahrain Relations:

Relations exist between Bahrain and Israel since Bahrain achieved independence in 1971. In recent years, relations between the two countries have been thawing and the countries agreed to establish diplomatic relations in September 2020.

In 2011, Wikileaks cables published on Haaretz revealed some of the hidden relations between Bahraini and Israeli officials. In a meeting with the U.S. ambassador in February 2005, Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa had bragged about having contact with Israel’s national intelligence agency, Mossad. He indicated that Bahrain is ready to develop relations in other fields as well.[1]

Israel has been conducting undercover diplomacy in Bahrain for more than a decade through a front company listed as a commercial consulting firm, reports say.[2] Israeli officials told the journalist Barak Ravid that the secret mission really did promote hundreds of business deals struck by Israeli companies in Bahrain. It also served as a secret communications channel for the Israeli government.[3]

On 11 September 2020, it was announced that Bahrain and Israel had agreed to establish full diplomatic relations. On 18 October 2020, an Israeli delegation led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat traveled to Manama, Bahrain, to sign a normalization declaration document including a MoU on Economic and Trade Cooperation.[4] [5]

In March 2021, Bahrain appointed Khaled Yousif al-Jalahma as its first ambassador to Israel. He arrived in Israel to take up his post at the end of August 2021. In September 2021, Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid made an official diplomatic visit and Israel opened a resident embassy in Manama.[6] [7]

In November 2021 Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Bahrain’s Prime Minister and heir to the throne Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa at the Glasgow climate change summit in what marks the first-ever meeting between Israeli and Bahraini prime ministers.[8]

Military relations:

In October 2019, an Israeli official, Dana Benvenisti-Gabay, attended the “Working Group on Maritime and Aviation Security” in Manama, Bahrain.[9]

In February 2021 Bahrain’s Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa and Israel’s Public Security Minister Amir Ohana discussed a range of issues including security cooperation.[10]

In February 2021, I24 reported that Israel was in talks with the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in establishing a four-nation defense alliance.

In August 2021, Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Relations Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmad al Khalifa met an Israeli military commander – Tal Kelman, head of the Strategic Division of the IDF Planning Directorate. The talks focused on building security ties between the countries, the Israeli army said in a statement. [11] Along with meetings with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and President Isaac Herzog, Al Khalifa held meetings with major research institutions – the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, The Institute for National Security Studies and The Abba Eban Center.[12]

Yossi Cohn, Mossad chief, traveled to Manama in October 2020 and May 2021 and met with Adel al-Fadhil, the chief of Bahraini security apparatus, and Ahmad Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, the head of Strategic Security Agency. [13] [14]

In October 2020 As part of an agreement between the IDEX-arms fair organizers and organizers of The Israel Defence Exhibition (ISDEF), companies from the Gulf’s defense sector will take part in ISDEF, which is scheduled to be held in Israel in March 2022.[15]

In December 2020 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)’s Aviation Group has entered a Line Maintenance agreement with Bahrain’s airline, Gulf Air.[16]

In November 2021 Israeli, U.S., United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahraini naval forces launched a multilateral maritime security operations exercise in the Red Sea, under the auspices of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT).[17]

Cyber
According to Haaretz the Israeli company Verint Systems supplied Bahrain in 2011 with systems that are typically used by monitoring centers, and with another system used for collecting information from social networks. It also reportedly trained confidants – people who seem to be members of the ruler’s extended family.[18]

XM Cyber will cooperate with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and a new consortium set up to sign contracts with companies in the Gulf in the field of gas and oil infrastructures including Israel Electric Corp. (IEC), Energy Infrastructures and other cybersecurity companies like Waterfall Security Solutions, TrapX Security, and Radiflow. Israeli cybersecurity company XM Cyber was cofounded by former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo.[19]

In June 2021 it was announced that the Israeli-American company Quali, which provides automation solutions for computer, communications and cloud infrastructures, will cooperate with Emirati company BEACON RED to develop an interoperability testing system for the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.[20]

Citizen Lab reported in August 2021 that NSO Group’s Pegasus malware successfully hacked phones of 9 nine Bahraini activists between June 2020 and February 2021. Those reportedly hacked included members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and two political dissidents living in exile. At least one of the activists lived in London when the hacking occurred, Citizen Lab said. Citizen Lab said it has “high confidence” that at least four of the activists were hacked by the Bahraini government.[21]

In November 2021 the Israel National Cyber Directorate led an unprecedented international drill in Dubai, simulating a multinational cyber attack on the aviation industry. The event was held in the Israeli pavilion at World Expo Dubai. Participating in the event were representatives from airports, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, civilian aviation authorities, cyber authorities and cybersecurity companies from various countries, including; Israel, the United States, Germany, Greece, Morocco, Bahrain and the UAE.[22]

Usage of Israeli Arms:

Pegasus – was used to hack phones of 9 nine Bahraini activists between June 2020 and February 2021. Those reportedly hacked included members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and two political dissidents living in exile.[23]

Verint Systems (today Cognyte) – One system was used by monitoring centers, another system used for collecting information from social networks.[24]

Human Rights Violations:

Many human rights organizations, among them Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have repeatedly condemned serious human rights violations by the Al-Khalifa dictatorship in Bahrain, where torture, arbitrary detention of citizens, rape, extrajudicial killings, execution of peaceful opponents and serious breaches in the human rights of women and political prisoners are, unfortunately, everyday occurrences. Nor are freedom of speech or religion safe in Bahrain, where the government tramples on them daily. It also continues to kill and maim through its involvement in the coalition headed by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

—-

Authorities arrested, prosecuted, and harassed human rights defenders, journalists, opposition leaders, and defense lawyers, including for their social media activity. All independent Bahraini media have been banned since 2017 from operating in the country and all opposition groups dissolved.[25]

Thirteen prominent dissidents have been serving lengthy prison terms since their arrest in 2011 for their roles in pro-democracy demonstrations. In 2020, Bahrain escalated its suppression of online and social media activity and prosecuted several public figures solely for their posts on social media. Foreign journalists rarely have access to Bahrain, and Human Rights Watch and other rights groups are routinely denied access. International wire services, when they cover Bahrain, do so from Dubai or elsewhere outside the country. As to 2021 Six journalists were imprisoned.[25]

Health and hygiene conditions in Bahrain’s overcrowded prisons remained extremely serious in 2021. Although Bahrain released 1,486 prisoners in March due to the health risk posed by Covid-19, the releases have excluded opposition leaders, activists, journalists, and human rights defenders—many of whom are older and/or suffer from underlying medical conditions.[25]

Bahraini family laws discriminate against women’s right to divorce, inherit, and transmit Bahraini nationality to their children on an equal basis to men, and deprive their children of the right to obtain citizenship on an equal basis with children of Bahraini men.[25]

Bahrain’s penal code criminalizes adultery and sexual relations outside marriage, a violation of the right to privacy, which disproportionately harms women and migrant women. Although no law explicitly criminalizes same-sex relations, authorities have used vague penal code provisions against “indecency” and “immorality” to target sexual and gender minorities. [25]

In a report published in December 2021 by Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, the group recorded human rights violations committed by the Al Khalifah regime in late September and October 2021 against Bahrainis who opposed normalization with Israel.[26]

Sales Records Table:

1. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/1.5148676

2. ^ https://www.axios.com/israel-secret-embassy-bahrain-d5cd012a-51a7-40bc-a7a3-6426ffa15dcf.html

3. ^ https://www.axios.com/israel-secret-embassy-bahrain-d5cd012a-51a7-40bc-a7a3-6426ffa15dcf.html

4. ^ https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/israel-bahrain-to-sign-peace-and-diplomatic-relations-agreement-report-645972

5. ^ https://www.gov.il/en/departments/news/event_bahrain_joint_statement181020

6. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/first-bahraini-ambassador-to-israel-arrives-in-country-to-take-up-post/

7. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/lapid-inaugurates-israeli-embassy-in-bahrain/

8. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-modi-invites-bennett-to-india-as-leaders-meet-in-glasgow-climate-summit-1.10346568

9. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-rare-formal-visit-israeli-official-attends-anti-iran-bahrain-conference/

10. ^ https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/bahrain-israel-discuss-security-cooperation/2131848

11. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/senior-bahraini-official-openly-meets-idf-commander-who-handles-iran/

12. ^ https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/bahrain-open-to-security-collaboration-with-israel-top-diplomat-676439

13. ^ https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/head-of-israels-mossad-yossi-cohen-visits-bahrain-to-discuss-mideast-security/articleshow/82455138.cms?from=mdr

14. ^ https://en.abna24.com/news/analysis-bahraini-israeli-cyber-and-espionage-cooperation-aspects-and-consequences_1169639.html?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_wYqam6djE1m74DPfQldajSW7w3xTEDq2O3RAAiO1rYk-1635769818-0-gqNtZGzNApCjcnBszQil

15. ^ https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3855950,00.html

16. ^ https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3878870,00.html

17. ^ https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/uae-bahrain-israel-us-forces-conduct-red-sea-military-exercise-2021-11-11/

18. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-israel-s-cyber-spy-industry-aids-dictators-hunt-dissidents-and-gays-1.6573027?lts=1635771538998

19. ^ https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-former-mossad-chiefs-cybersecurity-company-to-operate-in-gulf-1001383248

20. ^ https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/50197

21. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/bahrain-used-nso-spyware-to-target-activists-says-cybersecurity-watchdog/

22. ^ https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/52696

23. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/bahrain-used-nso-spyware-to-target-activists-says-cybersecurity-watchdog/

24. ^ https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-israel-s-cyber-spy-industry-aids-dictators-hunt-dissidents-and-gays-1.6573027?lts=1635771538998

25. ^ https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2021/country-chapters/bahrain

26. ^ https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/13/672551/Bahrain-rebuked-over-targeting-critics-normalization-Israel

 

Bahrain

Hidden relations existed between Israel and Bahrain since 1971. In recent years they have been thawing, especially after the countries agreed to establish diplomatic relations in September 2020. Many official security and military meetings were conducted between Bahraini and Israeli officials. In 2021 the countries operated a joint naval drill in the Red Sea. Israel supplied different cyber technologies and training to Bahrain.

Relations exist between Bahrain and Israel since Bahrain achieved independence in 1971. In recent years, relations between the two countries have been thawing and the countries agreed to establish diplomatic relations in September 2020.

In 2011, Wikileaks cables published on Haaretz revealed some of the hidden relations between Bahraini and Israeli officials. In a meeting with the U.S. ambassador in February 2005, Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa had bragged about having contact with Israel’s national intelligence agency, Mossad. He indicated that Bahrain is ready to develop relations in other fields as well.[1]

Israel has been conducting undercover diplomacy in Bahrain for more than a decade through a front company listed as a commercial consulting firm, reports say.[2] Israeli officials told the journalist Barak Ravid that the secret mission really did promote hundreds of business deals struck by Israeli companies in Bahrain. It also served as a secret communications channel for the Israeli government.[3]

On 11 September 2020, it was announced that Bahrain and Israel had agreed to establish full diplomatic relations. On 18 October 2020, an Israeli delegation led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat traveled to Manama, Bahrain, to sign a normalization declaration document including a MoU on Economic and Trade Cooperation.[4] [5]

In March 2021, Bahrain appointed Khaled Yousif al-Jalahma as its first ambassador to Israel. He arrived in Israel to take up his post at the end of August 2021. In September 2021, Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid made an official diplomatic visit and Israel opened a resident embassy in Manama.[6] [7]

In November 2021 Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Bahrain’s Prime Minister and heir to the throne Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa at the Glasgow climate change summit in what marks the first-ever meeting between Israeli and Bahraini prime ministers.[8]

In October 2019, an Israeli official, Dana Benvenisti-Gabay, attended the “Working Group on Maritime and Aviation Security” in Manama, Bahrain.[9]

In February 2021 Bahrain’s Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa and Israel’s Public Security Minister Amir Ohana discussed a range of issues including security cooperation.[10]

In February 2021, I24 reported that Israel was in talks with the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in establishing a four-nation defense alliance.

In August 2021, Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Relations Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmad al Khalifa met an Israeli military commander – Tal Kelman, head of the Strategic Division of the IDF Planning Directorate. The talks focused on building security ties between the countries, the Israeli army said in a statement. [11] Along with meetings with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and President Isaac Herzog, Al Khalifa held meetings with major research institutions – the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, The Institute for National Security Studies and The Abba Eban Center.[12]

Yossi Cohn, Mossad chief, traveled to Manama in October 2020 and May 2021 and met with Adel al-Fadhil, the chief of Bahraini security apparatus, and Ahmad Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, the head of Strategic Security Agency. [13] [14]

In October 2020 As part of an agreement between the IDEX-arms fair organizers and organizers of The Israel Defence Exhibition (ISDEF), companies from the Gulf’s defense sector will take part in ISDEF, which is scheduled to be held in Israel in March 2022.[15]

In December 2020 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)’s Aviation Group has entered a Line Maintenance agreement with Bahrain’s airline, Gulf Air.[16]

In November 2021 Israeli, U.S., United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahraini naval forces launched a multilateral maritime security operations exercise in the Red Sea, under the auspices of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT).[17]

Cyber
According to Haaretz the Israeli company Verint Systems supplied Bahrain in 2011 with systems that are typically used by monitoring centers, and with another system used for collecting information from social networks. It also reportedly trained confidants – people who seem to be members of the ruler’s extended family.[18]

XM Cyber will cooperate with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and a new consortium set up to sign contracts with companies in the Gulf in the field of gas and oil infrastructures including Israel Electric Corp. (IEC), Energy Infrastructures and other cybersecurity companies like Waterfall Security Solutions, TrapX Security, and Radiflow. Israeli cybersecurity company XM Cyber was cofounded by former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo.[19]

In June 2021 it was announced that the Israeli-American company Quali, which provides automation solutions for computer, communications and cloud infrastructures, will cooperate with Emirati company BEACON RED to develop an interoperability testing system for the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.[20]

Citizen Lab reported in August 2021 that NSO Group’s Pegasus malware successfully hacked phones of 9 nine Bahraini activists between June 2020 and February 2021. Those reportedly hacked included members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and two political dissidents living in exile. At least one of the activists lived in London when the hacking occurred, Citizen Lab said. Citizen Lab said it has “high confidence” that at least four of the activists were hacked by the Bahraini government.[21]

In November 2021 the Israel National Cyber Directorate led an unprecedented international drill in Dubai, simulating a multinational cyber attack on the aviation industry. The event was held in the Israeli pavilion at World Expo Dubai. Participating in the event were representatives from airports, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, civilian aviation authorities, cyber authorities and cybersecurity companies from various countries, including; Israel, the United States, Germany, Greece, Morocco, Bahrain and the UAE.[22]

Pegasus – was used to hack phones of 9 nine Bahraini activists between June 2020 and February 2021. Those reportedly hacked included members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and two political dissidents living in exile.[23]

Verint Systems (today Cognyte) – One system was used by monitoring centers, another system used for collecting information from social networks.[24]

Many human rights organizations, among them Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have repeatedly condemned serious human rights violations by the Al-Khalifa dictatorship in Bahrain, where torture, arbitrary detention of citizens, rape, extrajudicial killings, execution of peaceful opponents and serious breaches in the human rights of women and political prisoners are, unfortunately, everyday occurrences. Nor are freedom of speech or religion safe in Bahrain, where the government tramples on them daily. It also continues to kill and maim through its involvement in the coalition headed by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

—-

Authorities arrested, prosecuted, and harassed human rights defenders, journalists, opposition leaders, and defense lawyers, including for their social media activity. All independent Bahraini media have been banned since 2017 from operating in the country and all opposition groups dissolved.[25]

Thirteen prominent dissidents have been serving lengthy prison terms since their arrest in 2011 for their roles in pro-democracy demonstrations. In 2020, Bahrain escalated its suppression of online and social media activity and prosecuted several public figures solely for their posts on social media. Foreign journalists rarely have access to Bahrain, and Human Rights Watch and other rights groups are routinely denied access. International wire services, when they cover Bahrain, do so from Dubai or elsewhere outside the country. As to 2021 Six journalists were imprisoned.[25]

Health and hygiene conditions in Bahrain’s overcrowded prisons remained extremely serious in 2021. Although Bahrain released 1,486 prisoners in March due to the health risk posed by Covid-19, the releases have excluded opposition leaders, activists, journalists, and human rights defenders—many of whom are older and/or suffer from underlying medical conditions.[25]

Bahraini family laws discriminate against women’s right to divorce, inherit, and transmit Bahraini nationality to their children on an equal basis to men, and deprive their children of the right to obtain citizenship on an equal basis with children of Bahraini men.[25]

Bahrain’s penal code criminalizes adultery and sexual relations outside marriage, a violation of the right to privacy, which disproportionately harms women and migrant women. Although no law explicitly criminalizes same-sex relations, authorities have used vague penal code provisions against “indecency” and “immorality” to target sexual and gender minorities. [25]

In a report published in December 2021 by Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, the group recorded human rights violations committed by the Al Khalifah regime in late September and October 2021 against Bahrainis who opposed normalization with Israel.[26]