Analysis: Qatar incites chaos in Bahrain



Sun, 18 Jun 2017 - 11:10 GMT


Sun, 18 Jun 2017 - 11:10 GMT

Bahrain Flag - Creative commons via wikimedia commons

Bahrain Flag - Creative commons via wikimedia commons

CAIRO – 18 June 2017: The most recent victim of Qatari backstabbing is Bahrain. On June 16, the Bahraini Ministry of Interior issued an official statement denouncing Qatar’s interference in Bahrain’s interior affairs and its tactics to incite chaos in the kingdom.

“The Qatari regime has never ceased to stop its aggressions against its neighboring countries, especially through its media arm Al-Jazeera,” the statement further added.

It seems there is no end in sight to Qatar’s backstabbing antics. Every day reveals new controversies and lies that show the evil role Qatar has been playing to destroy countries supposed to be “sister countries,” as the Arabic term translates.

For hundreds of years, Arab countries praised their ties and celebrated the glories of Arab civilization, their language, and literature of the Arabs. Many voices from Arab countries have called for a political union in the Arab world, and to constitute one nation that shares common linguistic, cultural, religious, and historical heritage.

Qatar has been warned several times and on several occasions by Arab countries to stop hosting, supporting, and financing terrorist groups in the Arab region, but it never ceased. Qatar continued to strengthen these groups, while ignoring the devastating impact of its actions on the lives of millions of people in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt.

The impact of Qatar’s conspiracies is not only limited to killing or destruction of infrastructure, it goes beyond to jeopardize the future of all generations growing up in this region. Qatar’s conspiracies and its support for terrorist groups in the region destroy economies, livelihoods, psychological wellbeing, dignity, and education, security, and healthcare systems. The tiny but influential state is robbing youth of their future and leading to immigration, displacement, and loss of hope. This situation increases the vulnerability of youth to recruitment by terrorist groups, and encourages violence.

Following the MoI statement Bahraini state television broadcast a leaked phone call between former Qatari State Minister of Defense Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah and terrorist Hassan Ali Sultan, conspiring against the Bahraini government and agreeing on inciting chaos in Bahrain by destabilizing the the kingdom.

The Bahraini news agency (BNA) also shared reports of four leaked phone calls between Al Attiyah and Sultan on its official Twitter account. The leaks date back to March 2011 when Bahrain witnessed chaos led by the pro-Iranian Islamic Dawa (Call) party.

Hassan Ali Sultan is a member of the Islamic Dawa party. He was classified by Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior as a terrorist in 2015. Sultan’s Bahraini nationality was withdrawn and he was accused, along with 72 others, of spying for foreign countries and recruiting a number of persons through social media to carry out terrorist operations, according to an official statement by the Bahraini MoI. In addition, he was accused of defaming the image of the regime, carrying out a series of explosions to terrorize citizens, and advocating for regime change through illegal means. He later fled to Lebanon where he was given shelter by Hezbollah.

Islamic Dawa Party Flag - Creative Commons via wikimedia commons
Islamic Dawa Party Flag - Creative Commons via wikimedia commons

According to BNA, Sultan visits Iraq frequently and gives financial support to fugitive Bahrainis. He is a member of the Bahraini “Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society,”one of the largest opposition political societies in Bahrain and which was dissolved in June 2016 by the Bahrain High Civil Court. BNA adds that Al-Jazeera TV channel frequently hosts members of Al-Wefaq society and covers their news, which affirms that the channel serves the Qatari government political agenda.
The Dawa party is one of the main parties in the religious Shiite United Iraqi Alliance (UIA)—the joint Shiite list that competed in the January and December 2005 parliamentary elections—led by former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Malki. The party presents itself as the oldest Shia party and the one that has defended the Shia the most.
The group receives financial support from Tehran, and has a very bloody history. In 1979, Khomeini came to power in Iran and announced exporting the revolution to the Arab world and to liberate Jerusalem. Since 1979, the Dawa party has been responsible for the bombing of the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut 1981, the Al-Mustansiriya University bombings 2007, and several bombings in the Arab Gulf.
Qatar’s role in destabilizing Bahrain
In early 2011, amid the Arab uprisings, reform protests swept Bahrain. The kingdom called in the “Peninsula Shield Force,” the military arm of the GCC formed to deter military aggression against GCC member countries, to deploy in Bahrain and contain the situation.

In 2014, political talks were held between the government and the opposition. The groups failed to reach an agreement, and the opposition boycotted parliamentary and municipal council elections in late 2014.

One of the biggest opposition groups in Bahrain are the Shia who claim that they suffer from systematic discrimination when it comes to jobs and services. This ongoing dissatisfaction exposes Bahrain to sporadic clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

The leaked phone calls by BNA revealed the size of the plot run by Qatar to strike the stability of Bahrain by supporting groups affiliated to Iran.

In the phone calls, Bahraini Al-Attiyah and terrorist Sultan describes the Gulf Peninsula Shield Force as occupational forces. Sultan calls on Qatar to refrain from being part of the Fforce. Al-Attiyah responded that Qatar holds reservations regarding the role of the force. He added that Qatar did not fully participate in the force when it was sent to Bahrain to restore security, counter the threats of terrorist groups, or preserve public order. He continues to describe Qatar betrayal; he said that Qatar tried to limit the effectiveness of this joint Gulf force.

In another call, terrorist Sultan appeared to be acting as a spy, reporting on the situation in the Bahraini capital, Manama, to Al-Attiyah despite his presence in Lebanon. In the leaked recordings, Sultan can be heard saying, “You asked me to convey to you anything related to Bahraini security forces and the declared state of emergency. We expect a flood of blood.” Qatar was quick to utilize Al-Jazeera channel to broadcast whatever stories they could to increase the unrest and chaos in Bahrain.

In the recording Sultan appears to provide Al-Attiyah with the phone number of Bahraini Shi’a politician and former member of the Council of representative Khalil Marzooq’s so that Al-Jazeera could contact him as part of the campaign to stir chaos in Bahrain. Al-Attiyah announced that he would also contact the secretary general of the banned Bahraini society Al-Wefaq to appear on Al-Jazeera channel.

In the leaked recording Sultan also provided Al-Attiyah with contacts of Taher Al-Mosawi who is, according to Sultan, “able to convey what Doha and Iran communicate to spread and stir up chaos in Bahrain.

On June 3, the Twitter account of Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa was hacked in a Qatari cyber attack after he shared the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s remarks on Iran.

Bahrain-Qatar-Iran Relations

Bahrain has been directly targeted not only by Qatar, but also by Iran. According to Gulf news website, a study prepared by the Gulf Center for Strategic Studies found that “more than 160 antagonistic statements” were issued by Iranians regarding Bahrain between February 2011 and May 2013. The study explains that the statements were clear provocation of violence against the local authorities. Iran has long claimed that Bahrain is historically part of Iran.

In 1987, the Bahraini authorities reported that they discovered a spying mission by Qatar in Bahrain.

Furthermore, according to the Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Qatari and Iranian interference in Bahrain dates back to several centuries. King Hamad made this remark on June 8 in a statement following his meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

King Hamad said that Bahrain is grateful for Saudi Arabia’s role in protecting the kingdom’s security and stability in light of the Qatari and Iranian interference. “The interference, which targeted other Arab and Islamic countries, left us with no option but to take measures,” the Bahraini King said.

Hamad urged the Qatari leadership “to correct its policies and honor its commitments to avert chaos and end all subversive practices which threaten the security and safety of our countries and jeopardize the unity of our societies.” He also said that relations would then be reinstated “for the good of our dear brethren in Qatar and for us all.”

In March 2014 Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, and UAE announced the severance of diplomatic ties with Qatar. They withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar for several months until November 2014 following Qatar’s failure to abide by the 2013 agreement signed by GCC member states to not interfere in the internal affairs of fellow GCC states and harbor “hostile media” (referring to Al-Jazeera channel). over the three states were also concerned over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, designated a terrorist group.

In the same year, Bahrain accused Qatar of offering certain Bahraini families Qatari citizenship in exchange for dropping their Bahraini citizenship. The Bahraini authorities reported that Qatar was targeting Sunni citizens, to threaten Bahrain’s demographics (the majority of the population is Shia while the ruling family is Sunni). Bahrain imposed fines on any Bahraini that accepted citizenship. On August 13, 2014, Qatar pledged to stop offering GCC nationals Qatari citizenship during a meeting of GCC foreign ministers in Jeddah.

Most recently, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) confirmed to the high commissioner that severing ties with Qatar is a sovereign right to protect their security from terrorism, according to Bahraini news agency.

Territorial Disputes

Bilateral relations between Qatar and Bahrain first began after Bahrain gained independence in 1971. Qatar and Bahrain share a history of territorial disputes since 1936 over the Hawar Islands, Zubarah, Fasht Al Azm, Fasht Dibal, and al-Jaradah.

In 1939 and 1944 respectively, Qatar constructed two forts in Zubarah, an act that was deemed illegal by Bahrain.

In 1953 Qatar stationed troops in the forts.

Later in 1986, Qatari troops arrived on Fasht Dibal Island via helicopter and declared it a “restricted zone.” The troops seized several Bahraini officials and 29 construction workers hired by a Dutch contracting company. Following protests by the Netherlands and mediation by several GCC states, the two countries reached a settlement. The foreign workers were released and Qatari troops evacuated the island.

In 1991, Qatar referred the dispute with Bahrain to the United Nations International Court of Justice (UNICJ). The disputes were resolved by the ICJ in 2001 whereby the court awarded both countries an equal amount of land. Bahrain was given the Hawar Islands, Al-Jaradah and Fasht Al Azm while Qatar received Zubarah, Fasht Dibal, and the Janan Island.

Bahrain boycotted the GCC summit in hosted in Qatar 1996, claiming that the 1990 summit held in Qatar was used to reiterate Qatar’s territorial claims to other GCC states. In addition Bahrain boycotted the summit as a result of Qatari incursion in Fasht Dibal in 1986.

Bahrain Map - Creative commons via wikimedia commons
Bahrain Map - Creative commons via wikimedia commons

Following the recent severance of diplomatic ties, Bahrain has blocked access to all Qatari news agencies, including Al-Jazeera; it also issued a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a fine for dealing with Qatari media outlets. This position came in response to Qatari comments that were broadcasted through news networks criticizing Saudi Arabia. The comments were made by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani who said that there was “no wisdom” in harboring hostility toward Iran, a regional rival of the Arab Gulf states, and said Qatar’s ties to Israel were “good.”

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and the Maldives announced they were severing ties with Qatar. Jordan also announced it was downgrading their diplomatic representation with Qatar. The move came at the end of a few weeks of tensions between Qatar and GCC neighbors.



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