2017: Disputes with Qatar Create New Accusations against Bahrain Opposition

2018-01-08 - 4:47 ص

Bahrain Mirror - Exclusive: The royal family in Bahrain never stopped accusing the opposition of being loyal to or working for foreign powers, in a bid to topple the regime. The accusation never changed, but the accused countries do.

This time, Al Khalifa found in its disputes with Qatar a new arena for accusations against the opposition, and a new way to defame its political reform demands. Qatar made headlines in news and official TV bulletins replacing Iran.

At the break of dawn of June 5, 2017, Bahrain authorities announced in a statement cutting its diplomatic relations with Qatar, and accused it of collaborating to topple the regime. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, issued similar statements.

The 4 countries issued their decision 15 days after a summit that gathered Gulf rulers and US President Donald Trump in Riyadh, just before they decided to adopt harsh measures against Qatar, among which was closing aerial and land ports, and stopping all maritime navigations.

This was like a diplomatic earthquake in the Middle East. Kuwait Prince Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah attempted to stop the conflict. The boycotting countries sent the Emir a list of their demands for Qatar, if implemented, they would stop the boycott.

The four countries demanded Qatar to stop its diplomatic representation in Iran, close Al-Jazeera TV, stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs, stop naturalization, refer fugitives to their designated countries, and name Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

The Kuwaiti mediating efforts failed, but the Emir said in Washington that he was successful in halting a military attack on Qatar. However, the four countries denied in a statement any intention to militarily attack Qatar.

Bahrain played a major role in the incitement against Qatar, and tried to link the Bahraini opposition demanding political reform, to the disputes with Doha. For that reason, the Bahraini authorities broadcasted recordings that go back to 2011 between Qatari officials and Bahraini opposition figures, in allegations that they are part of regional efforts to erupt conflict in the country.

After around 12 days of the Qatar crisis, the Bahraini TV broadcasted recordings for Al-Wefaq Society leader, Sheikh Hassan Sultan, with Qatari Ambassador Hamad al-Atieh. Sultan warned in the recording from the danger of having the Peninsula Shield forces interfere in the crackdown against protesters in the Pearl (Lualua) Roundabout in March 2011.

On August 6, 2017, the official Bahraini TV broadcasted cut recordings between Bahraini opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, and former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem, during which they discussed a peaceful settlement for the political crisis in the country.

The fact-finding committee appointed by Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa mid-2011, in its report paragraph 525, confirmed that the Qatari Foreign Minister led a mediating delegation between the government and the opposition in an attempt to resolve the situation.

After broadcasting those recordings, the public prosecution announced it will investigate them, noting that they "represent a felony in conspiring with a foreign country to harm the kingdom's national interests."

In an interview with the Qatari official TV (October 25, 2017), the former Qatari Prime Minister said that the mediation Qatar made to resolve the crisis in Bahrain was in coordination with the US and Bahrain; which is compatible with what is mentioned in the fact-finding committee report.

The Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani added, "The US asked us to help in the mediation to resolve the Bahraini crisis, and we agreed with Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to reach a peaceful solution with protesters and for them to withdraw from the Roundabout." He further denied accusations of collaborating to topple the Al Khalifa ruling regime.

On November 1, 2017, the Bahraini opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, said that the Public Prosecution interrogated him over those recordings, and that he denied any accusation suggesting him conspiring with the neighbor Gulf State.

The Public Prosecution on its part announced that Sheikh Ali Salman, and his assistants Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali Al-Aswad (both currently residing abroad), will be tried (on November 27, 2017). Sheikh Salman boycotted this hearing, after which he denied all accusations before the court in the second hearing. The hearing was then adjourned.

Arabic Version

التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع

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