IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi צילום: Flash90

The Wall Street Journal reports that the United States convened a clandestine meeting of senior Middle East military officials last march in the Egyptian town of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss military cooperation between the countries involved, with particular focus on the aerial threats posed by Iran.

According to the report, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, his Saudi counterpart Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, and military officials from Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates were all party to the meeting.

The report claims that the participants agreed in principle on a mechanism to communicate immediate threats via phone and computer and to allow for further inter-governmental involvement in the future.

Such cooperation between Israel and Arab states, particularly Qatar and Saudia Arabia, would have been unthinkable before the Abraham Accords, but is rapidly gaining importance in light of Iran's growing regional aggression. Saudia Arabia has not yet fully normalized ties with Israel although the report claims that such a process is underway.

US President Joe Biden is slated for a Mideast trip in mid-July, during which he will visit Israel, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. Topics on his agenda reportedly range from Israel-Saudi relations to the formation of an Israeli-Arab military alliance.

In late May, Axios reported that the US was secretly mediating a deal between Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt that might lead to formalizing relations.