The U.S. and Bahrain are expected to sign a strategic security and economic agreement this week that will upgrade the U.S. security commitment to the Gulf kingdom, according to three sources briefed on the issue.
Why it matters: Bahrain is a key U.S. partner in the Gulf. The Navy’s 5th Fleet is headquartered on a large U.S. naval base there. In 2002, the Gulf kingdom became a major non-NATO ally of the U.S. — an important symbolic designation but one that does not include any security commitments.
Driving the news: Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa is expected to sign the agreement during a visit to Washington this week, the sources said.
Details: The agreement includes a commitment to consult and provide assistance if Bahrain faces an imminent security threat, two sources said.
Behind the scenes: The sources said the U.S.-Bahrain strategic agreement has been in the works for more than a year.
The big picture: The agreement with Bahrain is part of a broader push by the Biden administration to strengthen ties with Gulf countries.
What to watch: The Biden administration is holding talks with Saudi Arabia on a mega-deal that could also include a U.S.-Saudi Arabia defense treaty.