The arrest of 47 people by the Bahraini security forces last week for plotting to organize terrorist attacks and chaos in Bahrain is a cause for concern not only for the tiny Arabian Gulf kingdom but for its neighbours as well. The terrorist activities stated to have been planned for the coming days.
The elements arrested during raids in a number of outlying Shiite-majority villages belonged to a “terrorist organization” according to the security authorities. Caches of arms and explosives were also uncovered in police raids. The government squarely blamed Iran for setting up the cell and training its members and projected it as the latest case “of Iran meddling in its internal affairs and attempting to shake the security and stability of the Bahrain through organised terrorist attacks.”
While Iran, predictably, is crying foul, this is certainly not the first time men or explosives of Iranian antecedents have been tracked down and seized by Bahrain. There have been numerous instances of such seizures and arrests.
In August, five people with suspected links to Iran were arrested for a bombing in which two policemen were killed. At the end of September, 1.5 tonnes of explosives were seized from a secret storehouse in a village. There have also been seizures of explosives and bomb-making material before that, both offshore by the Bahrain Coast Guard in which Iranian boats and smugglers were implicated as well as from those trying to smuggle material via King Fahad Causeway that links Saudi Arabia and Bahrain [the material having been brought overland to Saudi Arabia].
Previous Iranian attempts to destabilize Bahrain have already resulted in Bahrain recalling its ambassador from Tehran and expelling the Iranian ambassador but beyond making arrests on its homeground and seizing bombs and explosives through the efforts of its security forces, Bahrain can do little else on its own.
The country does get moral support from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries of which Bahrain is a member, the other members being Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. And there is a security accord in place under which each country is obliged to come to the defence of a member if need be, but flexing the military muscle is hardly the option before them.
The real need is for the United Nations and the major first world countries, notably Britain and America, to take notice of Iran’s dirty games and intervene diplomatically and also put pressure on the Iranian regime to desist from such hostile acts. They have to impress upon Tehran in plain terms that it should not take its signing of the nuclear deal with the West as a licence to put its anti-Bahrain activities in high gear and that any attempts to destabilize the region or create chaos there will be thwarted through exemplary response.
Nuclear Treaty With Iran Is Not a Treaty of Friendship
The West needs to realize that the nuclear treaty with Iran is not a treaty of friendship but merely an agreement of convenience and that the depth of its relations with the Arab world is far deeper than the accord to keep Iranian nuclear ambitions in check. Unless the Western countries step in to convince Iran of the futility of its unwarranted ambitions, the situation in Bahrain and the Arab Gulf region generally can only exacerbate.