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Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/Getty Images

Bahrain announced Thursday that it had agreed to the United Arab Emirates' request that it allow flights between the UAE and Israel to pass through its airspace.

Why it matters: The move followed lobbying from the Trump administration, which is also in talks with the Bahrainis about possibly following the UAE into normalization with Israel.

What they're saying: Bahrain will allow flights coming to and departing from the UAE to cross its airspace, the Bahraini official news agency reported, quoting an official from the ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications.

  • Jared Kushner, U.S. envoys Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook, and White House official Adam Boehler raised this issue earlier this week in a meeting in Manama with the King and Crown Prince of Bahrain, a source familiar with the matter said.
  • The Bahrainis made the decision after they saw that Saudi Arabia had taken the same step Wednesday.

Worth noting: An unusual transit agreement dating to the 1970s gives Bahrain control over much of Qatar's airspace. So while the agreement is partially a goodwill gesture, it could cut flight times from Israel to the UAE by around 20 minutes.

Go deeper

Dec 9, 2020 - World

Biden and Netanyahu are on a collision course over Iran

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

The incoming Biden administration and the Israeli government are on a collision course over the future of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Why it matters: There is a growing gap between Biden’s stated intention to re-enter the deal and Israel’s expectations and public demands against it.

4 mins ago - World

First look: Jill Biden’s troops trip

First lady Jill Biden speaks last week at the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden on Monday will visit the military base that's home to pilots and aircrews who helped conduct the airlift out of Kabul to thank the service members and their families for their support in ending the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: When she stops at the crews' home at Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina, the first lady will be their most high-profile member from the Biden administration since the airlift ended on Aug. 31.

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.

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