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Polit. Analyst Simon Henderson: Diraz Events Could have Dangerous Consequences for both Bahrain, KSA

2017-05-27 - 5:45 p

Bahrain Mirror: American political analyst Simon Henderson said in an article that the Diraz events on May 23, 2017, could have dangerous consequences for both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Henderson believed that "the hardline royal elements who favor tougher action against Shiite protests may regard President Trump's comment in Riyadh as permission to escalate, and the discovery of the prison escapees as justification for doing so."

In his article issued in The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, entitled "The Trump Effect in Bahrain", the American analyst clarified that "Washington has been concerned for some time about Iran's track record of supplying small arms and explosives to Bahraini Shiites, including equipment for making improvised explosive devices." He also believed that "Tehran's principal regional proxy, Hezbollah, often weighs in on the island's sectarian tensions as well; after today's violence, the group warned of "unpredictable consequences" if Sheikh Isa were harmed."

However, Henderson confirmed that "U.S. officials have judged that Bahrain is not a primary focus of regional meddling by Iran or its allies. They take a similar view of the situation in the neighboring oil-rich Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, where clashes broke out last week between Shiite activists and security forces in the town of Awamiyah, close to the giant oil export terminal of Ras Tanura."

Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute, listed in his article the latest political and security events that made their way through Bahrain. He referred to the Riyadh summit, stated that "the same day as Trump's remark, a Bahraini court announced a one-year suspended sentence against local Shiite spiritual leader Sheikh Isa Qassem, whose charitable collection efforts (or khums) have been described as money laundering by the government."

He also noted that authorities revoked his citizenship last June 2016 on accusations that he promoted violence, and he has since remained in his village surrounded by supporters in an uneasy standoff, until the raid on Diraz and their protest on May 23, 2017.

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