While Iran has its own reasons – including fitful claims on Bahrain by a section of its leading figures, the latest on February 8 being by Hossein Shariatmadri, big boss of Iran’s leading daily Kayhan who said Iran ‘owns’ Bahrain! – Qatar has also been trying to undermine Bahrain for many years. And now, with its flirting with Iran out in the open, it feels more emboldened. Qatar media provocations continue
As Bahrain’s Information Affairs Minister Ali bin Mohammed Al Romaihi said last week in an interview, the Qatari media, and especially Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV channel [which figures in the 13 demands of the Arab Quartet boycotting Qatar as well, calling for its closure], continued to incite Arab countries. He said the Qatari channel stood exposed as a tool of the Doha regime to promote its agendas, improve its image and abuse the Arab countries. For the record, despite the channel’s protestations of neutrality, it has never once carried any report or expose on the Qatar government though there has been much to report over the years.
The role of this channel was even more dubious during the so-called Arab Spring when a moment came when it had its cameraman planted in a Bahrain hospital while it was under control of anti-government forces and relentlessly broadcast interviews with anti-government medics who were later found to have not only exaggerated the crisis but even went to the unethical extent of deepening and widening the wounds of the injured to show the government in a poor light.
The Information Minister also said that the situation with Qatar was not a conflict but a firm political stance taken by the Arab Quartet [Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt] calling for fighting terrorism against a state which is continuing to cause damage to the region.
So that’s how the vicious circle is completed – with Iran and Qatar in cahoots to harm Bahrain. Not only has an ex-prime minister of Qatar been exposed on tape liaising with the defunct Al Wefaq leader Ali Salman back in 2011 to overthrow the current Bahrain regime, Qatar has also been accused of funding Taliban, Hezbollah and other terrorist and disruptive elements and outfits – some also supported by Iran – so they function as its tools.
The main reason behind Doha’s inimical activities is the ownership of Hawar Island, which the International Court of Justice had declared as a territory belonging to Bahrain in 2001, something Doha could now digest notwithstanding all the documents it had submitted to the ICJ were found to have been forged.
With a relentless Iran, and a Qatar unbending in the face of the boycott by the Arab Quartet, hounding Bahrain in devious ways, the island kingdom needs to be on guard in overdrive to keep the filibusters at bay.
In the meantime, the positive news is that the Donald Trump administration is planning to lay the groundwork for a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in a couple of months when he meets senior Saudi, UAE and Qatari leaders. One hopes that resolves the knotty issues.