Hizbollah 'meddling in Bahrain affairs'
Manama, January 6, 2014
Bahrain has "hard evidence" of Hizbollah's continuous meddling in its local affairs, according to the country's police chief.
Public Security Chief Major General Tariq Al Hassan believes the outlawed terrorist group has insurgents in Iraq that plot to destabilise Bahrain, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
He said terror-related crimes have dropped since 2011 with police uncovering several sleeper cells, whose members were trained abroad.
"We are certain that Hizbollah and the Iraqi Hizbollah Brigades support elements within Bahrain are seeking to destabilise the country," he was quoted in pan-Arab daily newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.
"We are not talking only about confessions; we have hard evidence which we uncovered on their confiscated computers, overheard on their telephone conversations, and documented in their financial activities," he added
He did not directly accuse Iran, but said there was solid proof that some groups within Tehran were working against Bahrain.
"We are not accusing the government of Iran of involvement; however there are groups within Iran who are involved," he said.
Maj Gen Al Hassan said security forces uncovered sleeper cells which planned to target key infrastructures in the country. "We have documents proving their criminal intentions and we are certain that these terrorists were trained abroad."
"We have the evidence to support this and many of these sleeper cells have been eliminated".
He explained that the "level of fear" among people in Bahrain has dropped significantly.
"Terrorism-related crimes have also decreased significantly since 2011," he said.
"True, there are sporadic incidents, but even these are diminished."
However, he revealed that organised crimes including drug trafficking, human trafficking, labour violations and cybercrimes have rapidly increased.
Meanwhile, Maj Gen Al Hassan said the Interior Ministry issued permits for 77 rallies between January and November last year, meaning there was a demonstration every four days.
"When life is disrupted in Manama for sectarian ends and the national economy is sabotaged, the state must intervene," he said.
"We are not banning demonstrations or suspending freedom of expression, but we must protect the capital and the security of the people. We are improving discipline in the face of provocation, which was the reason for many of the injuries we suffered during the demonstrations," he added.
He also responded to criticism from international groups regarding importing large quantities of tear gas to quell anti-government protests.
"Isn't this better than using live ammunition, especially when confronting groups engaging in guerilla warfare?" he asked.
"We try to strike a balance between human rights, freedom of expression and establishing stability, which can be difficult."
He said the events of February and March 2011 led to "sectarian polarisation and social friction" in Bahrain.
He added that the five recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report related to police conduct were fully implemented.
"Our presence on the ground is now stronger, and we are capable of adapting to the situation in real time," he added.-TradeArabia News Service