“Iran gives itself the right to participate with the Syrian regime, in the killing of the Syrian people, but assumes the mere presence of the Peninsula Shield forces of GCC in the Kingdom of Bahrain as ‘foreign occupation’”.
These words of Bahrain’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia , Shaikh Humood bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, I found, are truly thought-provoking.
In an interview published by Al-Hayat newspaper in London on Saturday, Shaikh Humood showed us all the double standards within Iranian foreign policy.
I still remember the hue and cry raised by Iran, when Peninsula Shield forces of GCC entered Bahrain, during the unrest of March 2011.
Iran twisted facts to their convenience and spoke to the media saying Bahrain is doing something wrong.
Even though they knew that, according to an agreement among the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) six nations, the Peninsula Shield force –made up of troops from all six GCC nations – has the aim of safeguarding security in all member countries. Iran propagated lies and half-truths – using illogical words – calling the entry of troops as Saudi ‘invasion’ and Saudi ‘occupation’.
Now, how does Iran explain the presence of thousands of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Lebanese Hezbollah militia in Syria? How is it that they can support a mass-murdering regime?
Bahrain had used legal means to keep law-and-order, internally. But Iran is clearly interfering in the internal matters of Syria. What do they say to that?
I remember, in March 2011, the Peninsula Shield Joint Forces Commander Major-General Mutlaq bin Salem Al Azima’a had said that their role is to only “secure Bahrain’s vital and strategically important military infrastructure from any foreign interference” and to protect Bahraini borders while Bahrain security forces are “preoccupied with (Bahraini) internal security.” Even then, Iran raised a big campaign against it. They spread lies that Peninsula Shield forces were attacking protestors on streets of Bahrain. It was complete rubbish spoken in high volume.
Now their twisted logic is out in the open. Now, the slanderous allegations are showing in true bright colours.
Bahrain is a progressive nation. It gives its citizens the freedom to grow and to develop in a way that even very-high-GDP countries do not do. And people must see it that way.
Iranian interference at any level can only pull the country backwards. But I am sure going backwards is not an option. The resolve of a united Bahrain can weather the current storm and further the future growth.
Bahrain will not stand anyone meddling in its internal affairs – whether it is Iran or whether it is US or whether it is anyone else. Bahrain will not accept incitement of its local youth into making terror attacks, by any foreign power. Bahrain will not cow down under pressure to those who do not see – and understand – both sides of the story before passing judgments.
That is why in “An open letter to Obama” published in this newspaper yesterday, a group of Bahraini citizens and residents spoke out against the US policy.
Following US State Department’s release of a report on human rights in Bahrain, which got many aspects blatantly wrong, the group shows the anger that is in the Bahraini community; that the country is being misrepresented to the detriment of bilateral relations.
What many countries are failing to see is the progress that Bahrain has made, and the progressive and realistic plans it has for the future. Instead of getting swayed by half-truths, the best other countries can do is to encourage parties for a dialogue by sitting across a table. That is the only civil way forward.
In his Al-Hayat interview, Shaikh Humood reiterated that His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa is leading a comprehensive National Reform Project. And I am sure, when all people, embrace the reforms. irrespective of sectarian ideologies, and look upward at a ‘United Bahrain’ that is focused on ‘economic’ well-being, then there will be a great increase in the pace of development – of this beautiful kingdom.
And, as he also says, other countries, and particularly Iran, must reconsider the political situation, and stop its aggressive and provocative acts, and be committed to the principles known in the international policy, including understanding, good-neighborliness and mutual respect.