Time America Stood Up for Bahrain

It is not surprising that Charles Faddis, a former CIA officer and counter-terrorism expert, writing for Newsmax.com, wants America to stand by Bahrain in the face of mounting threats from Iran which he has described as a “menace.”

“Using subversion to prop up the claim to Bahraini territory, Iran has for many years supported sedition by the Shia living in Bahrain,” he wrote, adding: “In doing that, the mullahs in Tehran trained, equipped and dispatched saboteurs and operatives to carry out their plans. During the 1980s, this agitation reached a fever pitch and this year has seen a deadly resurgence.”

Faddis, who led the first CIA team into Iraq in 2002 and was head of the agency’s Counter-terrorism Weapons of Mass Destruction unit, also said Iran set the entire Mideast ablaze threatening the lives of American sailors, marines and civilians in the region.

It is in this context that he wants the US to clear the sale of defence equipment to the Kingdom, especially $3 billion worth of F-16 fighter jets. The pro-Iranian lobbyists and apologists are vehemently opposing this transfer, vital to the defence of Bahrain.

bahrain shia protest.
Bahrain shia protest.

The point is that there has been no let up in Iran-inspired troubles and terrorist activity in Bahrain. In fact, it increased after February 2011 and gathered momentum once Tehran managed to grab the nuclear deal from the West followed by financial gains as the international sanctions against it were lifted.

Bahrain has also been often threatened by senior personnel in the Iranian regime, including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps deputy commander Gen. Hossein Salami in December and MP Mojtib Zonour in February.

It is therefore imperative, feels Faddis – a man who should know the geopolitical implications of Iran’s actions – that Bahrain, America’s friend and ally for many decades, gets the best military equipment with which to defend itself. America already has an advanced naval base in the Kingdom.

This is also essential because from the signs on the ground it does not look like Iran is going to stop backing terrorism in Bahrain anytime soon. Only earlier this week, merely in anticipation of a verdict in a case involving one of the opposition-propped preachers Isa Qassim [the verdict was eventually postponed to May], the trouble-makers had become active in the villages and areas where they have a large number of followers. On March 10 an AK-47 attack on policemen was also reported in one of the residential areas.

The world must know that Iran feels itself “unshackled” after the signing of the nuclear deal with the West. It is flush with funds to spare with the end of sanctions, and has therefore intensified its efforts to impose its hegemony on the region.

The clearance of the deal on military equipment should go some way to allay the fears and uncertainties in the region on account of Iranian stances.

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.