Why Did Hisham Al-Baloushi Return to Iran? How Did He Get Hold of Half a Million?
2019-07-20 - 7:37 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It is true that Jamal Al-Baloushi, brother of Hisham Al-Baloushi, confirmed that Hisham had a "good relationship with security agencies in Bahrain". His testimony aired on state television; however, does not reveal the nature of his relationship with the Bahraini intelligence and probably the intelligence of neighboring countries.
The testimony of Ansar Al-Furqan leader Hisham Al-Baloushi (Abu Hafs Al-Baloushi), broadcast on Al-Jazeera Channel, revealed his close relationship with the Bahraini intelligence that began in 2006, which apparently ended with his death in April 2015.
In 2006, Al-Baloushi went to Iran at the request of the Bahraini intelligence. Intelligence officer Ahmad Al-Shorouki tasked Al-Baloushi with contacting "Jundullah" [soldiers of Allah] group (a terrorist group active in Balochistan province) and gather intelligence information on Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
According to Al-Baloushi's testimony, the Bahraini intelligence asked him in 2011 to gather information and take photos of military sites, including the Konarak military airport in the coastal city of Chabahr, and revolutionary guard military sites in Khash in southeast of the country.
Al-Baloushi, succeeded, as he said, in collecting "dangerous information on Gulf security", before he was forced to flee to Pakistan in 2008 after the Iranian authorities tightened the noose on him. There, he requested assistance from the Bahraini Embassy in Pakistan after he had lost contact with the intelligence.
Two years after being pursued in Pakistan, he managed to return to Bahrain in 2010, and was informed by the National Security Agency that officer Ahmad Al-Shorouki, with whom he had been in contact, had left the agency. He was given a reward of BD500 for the intelligence information he obtained.
But why did Hisham Al-Baloushi return to Iran? Where did he get $500,000 from?
Although a key part of Hisham Al-Baloushi's mission is to contact "Jundullah" group, the part of his testimony aired by Al-Jazeera did not address the results of his contact with the group, which was headed by Abdolmalek Rigi back then.
In the same year Al-Baloushi returned to Bahrain, Iranian authorities arrested Rigi after intercepting a plane carrying him from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan in February 2010, before he was executed on June 20 of the same year.
Rigi's execution led to controversies in Jundullah. Jaish Al-Adl, Harakat Ansar Iran (Movement of the Partisans of Iran) and Al-Furqan Party were established as a result. However, Harakat Ansar Iran and Al-Furqan were then merged under the name Ansar Al-Furqan group. Conflicts between the two groups were centered on the geography of operation executions.
Ansar Al-Furqan group led by Hisham Al-Baloushi argued that the battles and military operations should move deep into Iran, the same idea Saudi Arabia publicly adopts, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared that his country is moving the battle to the Iranian depth.
In addition to his group's work to transfer the battles to Tehran and the rest of Iran's provinces, not just Balochistan, the Baloushi group was declaring its desire to overthrow the Iranian regime, contrary to all the Balouch armed groups that have always sought to "separate the province from Iran or allow the Balouch to receive their political and religious rights."
Unlike other jihadist groups around the world, Al-Baloushi shows great respect for the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the rulers in the Gulf. He appeared in the first video after returning to Iran attacking Iran for destabilizing Bahrain, and in another audio message he accused it of targeting the Gulf States.
On April 23, 2015, Iran killed Abu Hafs Al-Baloushi and two of his companions in a security operation in Piranshahr in southeast of the country.
During a press conference in Tehran, a security official revealed the killing of Al-Baloushi, and said that his group "was formed with financial and logistical support and under the guidance of Western and Arab terrorists in the region last year with the aim of destabilizing security and carrying out assassinations and bombings in the country's southeast."
The official didn't mention the parties supporting Al-Baloushi, but he confirmed that "intelligence of some countries are involved in financing and arming this terrorist group."
Baloushi organized 12-member teams to carry out attacks across the country in exchange for payment of $500,000, Alavi said, according to Reuters.
Iran has not revealed further details about Ansar Al-Furqan's financial supporters, but Al-Jazeera's recordings provided new documents revealing Abu Hafs Al-Baloushi's close relation with the Bahraini regime, who may have been paid for working to fulfill Mohammed bin Salman's aspirations to move the battle to the Iranian depth.