Report: Israel Meets Secretly with Arab Countries to Discuss Defense Against Iran

By Hamodia Staff

YERUSHALAYIM – A first-of-its-kind, high-level military meeting of Israel and Arab countries under American auspices was held secretly in March to discuss cooperate defense measures against potential Iranian aggression, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The previously undisclosed gathering in Sharm El Sheikh involved top military officers from the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan, the paper quoted officials from Washington and the region as saying.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also sent representatives to the meeting. The U.S. was represented by Gen. Frank McKenzie, then the head of the U.S. Central Command.

In a statement, Col. Joe Buccino, a Central Command spokesman, didn’t acknowledge the Sharm El Sheikh meeting but said the command “maintains a firm commitment to increasing regional cooperation and developing integrated air and missile defense architecture to protect our force and our regional partners.”

In Sharm El Sheikh, the participants reached agreement in principle on procedures for rapid notification in the event aerial threats are detected, according to people familiar with the talks.

For now, such notifications would be carried out by phone or computer but not through high-speed digital U.S. military-style sharing of data. Officials also discussed how decisions might be made on which nation’s forces would intercept aerial threats.

None of the agreements were binding, and have to be referred to civilian leaders in the various countries for approval.

The participants declined comment.

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