Iran Arms Supplies to Thugs in Bahrain Alarming

The Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] efforts to contain Iran-inspired insurgency in Yemen are reaching the boiling point. Just last week Saudi Arabia announced they had intercepted seven Yemeni rebel missiles, including some over its capital Riyadh in which one Egyptian was killed and two Egyptians were injured.

It is common knowledge that Iran is backing the Houthi insurgents in Yemen and is keeping them well-supplied with arms and funds. Saudi Arabia has been trying to contain them and bring sanity to the war-torn country by leading a coalition of forces which includes Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Qatar, which was part of that coalition until it was exposed as being in cahoots with Iran, was actually using its officers to gather intelligence to pass on to Iran!

Forensic analysis of the Houthi missile fragments has shown they were supplied by Iran. Even the Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs] seized in Yemen have the Iranian ordnance markings and it turns out that similar IEDs have been seized in Bahrain as well where Iranian machinations to subvert the social fabric and create chaos have been in full swing.

Indeed the UK-based Conflict Armament Research [CAR] has been quoted by the Bahrain Press as stating that insurgents in Bahrain are manufacturing the same bombs as those used by Houthi forces in Yemen. They bear the same markings and are made with material supplied by Iran, it said.

“Its findings are based on extensive research by CAR investigators, who have conducted six missions to Yemen since last April,” a report in the Bahraini daily GDN said. The CAR conclusion was that “Iran uses identical components in a number of improvised weapons systems, which it has clandestinely supplied to groups in Yemen and Bahrain.” In the case of Bahrain, Iran-made Explosively Formed Projectiles [EFPs] have also been recovered by Bahrain police during anti-terror raids.

So the activities of the anti-government outfits in Bahrain are turning from merely menacing to definitely alarming. And the CAR report ties them to not only Iran but to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror outfit as well, an outfit which is also backed and funded by Qatar.

The development is hardly surprising. While the security authorities in Bahrain continue to keep pace with the latest developments in counter-terror operations by deploying the latest gadgetry, keeping a close watch on the suspicious Internet activity and training its personnel, the insurgents too have had the benefit of training in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon and over three generations have evolved from amateurs into professionals, especially since the 2011 troubles.

So Bahrain’s own efforts to abort any untoward incidents are not enough. The Iranian government, which sponsors the training of terrorists, controls the sleeper cells in Bahrain, and supplies them with arms and funds, also needs to be brought to book by the international community. The United Nations needs to show the same concern for the situation in Bahrain which it has shown for the missile attacks in Saudi Arabia.

Otherwise, as a report issued in January by the Combating Terrorism Centre based in the US Military Academy in West Point, New York, had warned, “Iranian-backed militants in Bahrain could start using drone surveillance, assassination tactics and unmanned vehicles to smuggle in weapons.” That’s a scenario which is certainly alarming for a city-state island.

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.