The Kingdom of Bahrain is an important U.S. ally in the fight to combat terrorism. We oppose Iranian regime aggression and work with our partners to maintain the free-flowing exchange of goods worldwide. That is why Bahrain is hosting a highly anticipated international maritime security summit later this month in which its partners will further strengthen their capacity to support peace and security in the Arabian Gulf and in the rest of the world.
Originally announced in Washington on July 17 by Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa and U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, Bahrain’s Oct. 21-22 international maritime security summit will coincide with the first two days of the world’s largest maritime exercise, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 19.
The United States has described the exercise as “the world’s most inclusive maritime exercise, designed to strengthen relationships, foster interoperability among supporting forces, and enhance theater-wide maritime security operations.” The purpose of the event, according to the Navy, is that “by working together as a coalition, all nations build familiarity with global partners and the shipping industry, with the goal of deterring threats to the freedom of navigation.”
The kingdom is home to thousands of U.S. military personnel and their families, including, for the last quarter century, the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and Marine Forces Central Command. These U.S. personnel see firsthand that Bahrain is a beacon of stability and strength in an otherwise unpredictable and tumultuous region. Indeed, Bahrain has long been praised for our leadership in supporting international coalitions, especially those working in partnership with the U.S. to protect Gulf shipping and to contain the dangerous Iranian regime.
Bahrain’s international maritime summit will convene many of the world’s leading maritime forces — similar to February’s Warsaw Summit that included more than 60 countries — to promote freedom of navigation and the free flow of maritime commerce as well as the detection of threats emanating from an increasingly belligerent Iranian government.
uch an alliance could not come at a more crucial time. Recent attacks along key maritime transit routes in the Gulf — specifically in the vital Strait of Hormuz — have undermined the safety of international navigation and created instability in the region. Likewise, last month’s attack on oil facilities in neighboring Saudi Arabia sent shockwaves throughout the world, causing oil prices to spike. Taken together, what we see is not just a series of isolated events or individual attacks, but rather a larger, concerted effort by a hostile power to sew discord and wreak havoc worldwide.