When Will Iran Give Up Interfering in Bahrain?

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Just when it looked like the last vestiges of Bahrain troubles simmering since February 2011 had died down with Al Wefaq group’s leader Ali Salman sent to jail for nine years, the New Year dawned with a disturbing development for this tiny Arab kingdom.

Ten hardcore criminals convicted of carrying out terrorist acts – some of them serving life terms and one who had already made three successful attempts to escape jail – fled the high-security Jaw prison in Bahrain on the morning of January 1. Their escape was facilitated by four to six men armed with automatic rifles and pistols, who also managed to escape unscathed, leaving behind a dead policeman. Another policeman was seriously injured. Three heads have since rolled in the department responsible for jail security.

While the media in Bahrain and the Middle East cried foul one has yet to hear any expressions of alarm from the so-called rights organizations who are ever willing to spew venom against Bahrain for the slightest supposed infraction of law. This is all the more surprising, apart from being galling to Bahrain, considering the operation had all the hallmarks of Iranian machinations.

burning tyres in bahrain.
Burning tyres in the middle of a road in Bahrain.

In fact the Iran-backed TV channel Ahl Al Bayt could barely conceal its glee at the success of the heinous act. Referring to the channel, the Bahraini Interior Ministry was quoted by Arabic daily Al Sharq al Awsat as saying, “It reflects Iran’s persistence in interfering in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

Iran certainly had reason to rejoice this time round. Just six months back 17 prisoners serving various terms for terrorist activities had escaped from another jail in the country but eight of them were captured soon after as they fled towards Iran, 120 miles away, in a speedboat. According to the official Bahrain News Agency, the escape of the eight was planned by two Bahraini fugitives.

As if not to be left behind, in the aftermath of the January 1 escape there was also a sudden spurt in the incidence of tyre-burning in the middle of highways as if to celebrate the ‘great escape’ and dare the authorities.

The silence of the western Press, human rights organizations, and western governments and commentators in the face of the bloody escape is somewhat inexplicable. Unless one were to explain this indifference by assuming that for the West, which has made peace with the nuclear-truant Iran for its own convenience and for trade and oil, such brazen acts are of little consequence in their larger scheme of things.

Brij Sharma is an Indian journalist and editor based in Bahrain. Brij tells us the interesting stories we don’t usually hear from the middle east country.