The New York Times:
The United States is participating in secret talks between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to confront threats posed by Iran, a shared adversary among the three countries.
The talks aim to broaden cooperation for military and intelligence sharing between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, two cautiously allied Middle Eastern nations, a foreign official with knowledge of the diplomacy said on Thursday.
The United Arab Emirates and Israel already share some security connections, experts said, and have held below-the-radar discussions in the past. Both view Iran as a top threat to the region, and Israel has sold fighter jet upgrades and spyware to the United Arab Emirates.
But including the United States in a new phase of security talks could signal the United Arab Emirates’ intent to demonstrate their commitment to the Trump administration’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran — even as Emirati officials have stepped back from some of their own hard-line policies targeting Tehran.
The three-sided talks, which were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, grew out of a February conference in Warsaw that was billed as a Middle East security forum but was used by the Trump administration to push its campaign against Iran. Since then, the three allies have met twice.
The foreign official confirmed the talks were being coordinated by Brian H. Hook, the senior State Department envoy on Iran issues. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to confirm the secret discussions.
Neither the State Department nor the Israeli Embassy in Washington responded to requests for comment, and Emirati officials refused to discuss the issue.
Last month, the United Arab Emirates pulled most of their forces from Yemen after years of supporting Saudi Arabia’s efforts there against Houthi rebels supported by Iran. Emirati officials also recently held maritime security talks with Tehran.
Emirati officials are trying to “strike a very careful balancing act,” said Ilan Goldenberg, the director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.
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