For another interesting look into the geopolitics of the Bahraini uprising, one need not look further than the events of this past week in Bahrain.
In what seems to be a long rant about the Iranian regime, the Bahraini government accused the Iranians of “expansionist” policies since the beginning of the Arab spring. According to the Bahraini government, the Iranian leaders have been dictatorial since “600 BC” continually suppressing their own people while looking to foment dissent elsewhere and explore expansionist opportunity.
Again, one must remember earlier blog posts which describe the long history Iran has with the Bahraini regime. Conflicts over territorial integrity still exist between Bahrain and Iran. Likewise, the Iranian regime has a natural affinity to the majority Shia protestors in Bahrain today. However, in my own analysis, the Bahraini regime finds an easy scapegoat in Iran. That said, I would not put it past the Iranian regime to support dissenters within Bahrain and use them as proxies against the Sunni government.
To continue the point above, Bahrain often foils “terror plots” which are allegedly aimed to antagonize the government and attempt to unseat the current regime. This past week, the Bahraini regime allegedly broke up another cell that was aiming to attack the government. It does not take a long time to realize the accusations that are implied against the Iranian regime in these allegations. It is common knowledge that the Iranian regime does have operatives capable of carrying out terrorist attacks throughout the world; this is listed as one of the biggest cons for attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. However, again, it seems as if the Bahraini regime is using this knowledge as a scapegoat for the protests that have been continuing within the country since February.
Aside from these geopolitical concerns, one must not forget that there are real protests taking place in Bahrain with consequences for its citizens. The above link is an interview with Alaa Shehabi, who comes from a long line of political activists and dissenters in her own family. However, she was not arrested, her husband was. Her husband has been in jail for quite some time, even though according to her account he was as apolitical as they come. Her husband has been sentenced to “illegal assembly” as have most of the people who have been convicted throughout the protests. According to Alaa, he will have the right to appeal, but wasn’t allowed to speak at his first trial, so there is little hope for the second.
Alaa addresses key concerns in this interview. First, she addresses the make up of security forces (primarily Sunni by design as I have discussed in earlier posts) and she also speaks of the American role in these protests. The interview is very telling and interesting and I figured it was a nice balance to the one sided, regime centered stories above.