While on the surface life in Bahrain seems quiet and normal and Molotov-hurling mobs of thugs and tyre-burning terrorists who tended to create mayhem across villages and highways are no longer in evidence, one must not underestimate the capacity of the sleeping cells funded and directed from Iran to create trouble yet again.
They must be finding it hard to swallow the fact that not only was their most vocal anti-government outfit called Al Wefaq disbanded but that even its leader Ali Salman was sent away to cool his heels in jail for some years on the charge of trying to overthrow the government in collusion with a former Qatari prime minister.
That the trouble-makers propped up by Tehran have no intention of sitting back silently became evident this week when, at an Arab League ministerial meeting in Cairo the Bahraini Foreign Minister presented a file showing how the Saraya Al Ashtar [Al Ashtar Brigades], an Iran-backed terrorist organisation, had been plotting to target Bahrain’s stability.
He briefed the gathering to show how Iran was trying to undermine Bahrain’s security by supplying to the group weapons, explosives and funds to orchestrate killings, bombings and other terrorist activities apart from training its constituents in the camps run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah.
Indeed there are two more similar-sounding terrorist outfits whose operatives are active in Bahrain to harry the government – the Saraya Al Mukhtar [The Chosen Brigades] and the Saraya Al Muqawamma Al Sha’abya [Popular Resistance Brigades] – and the three are collectively known as ‘Bahraini Hezbollah’, if only to sound more awesome than they probably are.
Of course Bahrain is not sitting idle in the face of such stooge outfits and thanks to its well-targeted security operations the key suspects in-charge of masterminding these groups and overseeing a number of attacks had fled Bahrain, mainly to Iran, and others were being hunted by international police organisations, according to a report in the local daily GDN. The Saraya Al Ashtar and the Saraya Al Mukhtar have also been designated terrorist organisations by the US, the UK and a number of Arab states.
Additionally, the US has declared Iran-based Saraya Al Ashtar leader Qassim Abdullah Ali Ahmed [also known as Qassim Al Muamen] as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. In May last year two others – Ahmad Hasan Yusuf and pompously-named Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi – had already been declared as such.
Iran obviously acts as the sheet anchor for all these thugs and their outfits. In a recent interview to GDN a former US ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, said as much: “There is no doubt at the highest levels of the US government that Iran is waging a sophisticated, capable and dangerous campaign of subversion against its GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] neighbours and the Arab world. We see this first and foremost in Bahrain, but also in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.”
To that extent the screws being tightened on Iran by the Donald Trump administration alone might bear some fruit because his predecessor Barrack Obama’s policy, driven by the hope and belief that interaction with the West will somehow strengthen the forces of moderation and liberalism in Iran, has fallen flat on the face.