Bahrain has claimed that Iran is its biggest enemy, saying the tiny Arab country would count on the US and Israel to ensure its security, in spite of repeated warnings from Iran against hosting extra-regional forces and normalizing with Israel.
“Iran is our number one, two, and three enemy and after normalization agreements with Israel we rely on the US and Israel to provide us with security,” Bahrain’s Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said during a meeting with a delegation of US businesspersons.
The Bahraini minister also accused Iran of illicit transfer of weapons and explosives, of making efforts to conduct drone strikes against the Persian Gulf island, and of military training of Bahraini Shias to fight the Manama regime, Bahrain Mirror reported on Tuesday.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Al Khalifa expressed concerns about the prospects of a revival of the 2015 Iran deal, four years after the US was cheered by Israel and certain Arab countries into exiting the deal, claiming that reaching an agreement on restoring the accord would “embolden Tehran.”
He also blamed Iran for playing a role in the 2011 uprising against the Al Khalifa regime and supporting Shias.
The 2011 Bahraini uprising was a series of anti-government protests in Bahrain led by anti-regime protesters. Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since.
The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established. The regime, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Bahraini minister said that the normalization of relations with Israel has provided Bahrain with a new layer of security.
“Bahrain is a small country and our strategy is to create several security layers,” Al Khalifah said, adding that in order to implement the strategy, “we will rely on our allies, namely the US, and now after becoming a signatory to the Abraham Accords [with Israel], a new layer of security is ensured.”
Back in September 2020, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed normalization agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani during an official ceremony hosted by former US president Donald Trump at the White House. Sudan and Morocco followed suit later that year.
At the same time, Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, denounced Manama’s normalization of relations with Israel as “a crime,” emphasizing that the Manama regime’s policies did not conform to the will of the Bahraini nation.
For its part, Iran has warned on a number of occasions against the normalization scheme, saying such moves will only add to regional crises. It has also denounced the regime in Tel Aviv as the root cause of the region’s instability.
Earlier this month, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said the interaction between some regional governments and the Israeli regime is similar to “taking refuge in a wolf’s lair to protect oneself from the blissful spring rain.”
Tehran has also warned neighboring countries against hosting hostile, extra-regional forces, particularly those from the United States and its allies.