Iran weapons 'fuel terror in the Gulf'
Manama, March 28, 2014
The US intelligence agencies have provided irrefutable proof that Iran supplies lethal weapons to extremist groups in Bahrain and the Gulf, according to a new report.
The report by US research centre Washington Institute also shows that Bahrain's accusations against Iran of supporting acts of violence in the kingdom and providing weapons to the groups are not part of a government propaganda campaign, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
US intelligence assesses that Iran is in fact providing arms to Shi'ite groups in Bahrain and other militants in the Arabian Peninsula, stated the institute expert Dr Lori Plotkin Boghardt in the report.
He urged Washington to curb this supply of weapons and increase support to GCC countries to serve its interest in Gulf stability and security, especially during a period of growing Iranian influence in the region.
The report by expert Dr Lori Plotkin Boghardt revealed the various Iran-linked attacks that occurred in GCC countries following the 1979 Islamic Revolution including coup attempts in 1981 and 1996 by the "Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain" and "Hizbollah Bahrain", assassination attempt against the Amir of Kuwait by Hizbollah and its Iraqi associates in the 1980s and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing by "Hizbollah Al Hejaz" in Saudi Arabia.
The report stated that stopping Iran from supporting extremist groups in the Gulf was in America's own interest.
Bahrain's Foreign Minister recently told the UN Human Rights Council that the ongoing violence in the country "is directly supported by elements of Iran."
Such claims should not be assumed to represent a government propaganda campaign. They are confirmed by US intelligence, says the report.
The report said the 2011 protests and troops dispatched by Saudi Arabia and the UAE were primary factors behind Iran's support for Shi'ite forces in GCC countries.
Also, Bahrain reported in December last year the seizure of large quantities of weapons, including guns, ammunition and explosives including blocks of C4 made in Iran and Syria that were carried by vessels heading from Iraq to Bahrain.
Western governments reportedly took the weapons seizure seriously. The incident may have informed the US intelligence community's assessment that Tehran has been providing arms to Bahraini militants, as indicated in the "Worldwide Threat Assessment" last January.
The report said that Bahrain had repeatedly accused Iran of providing militant training for some Bahrainis in Iran and elsewhere, citing a report submitted to the United Nations in April 2011 accusing Hizbollah of "training Bahraini Shias in Lebanon, Iran and Iraq".
Bahraini authorities announced in November that local elements involved in acts conspiracies of violence received training at Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) camps in Iran and Iraqi Hizbollah camps in Baghdad and Karbala.
Bahrain reported that some of the suspects in the bombing that killed three policemen in Daih received training in Iran.
Interrogation transcripts from Iraqi Shi'ites trained by Iran provided description of the methods Tehran may use to train Gulf Shi'ites. The report says Saudi Arabia has also accused Iran of having hand in acts of violence in the Eastern Province.
The Saudi Interior Ministry announced that "a number of security checkpoints and vehicles have been increasingly coming under gunfire attacks in the Qatif region by assailants motivated by foreign orders" - certainly a reference to Iran.
The report also revealed that Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have each busted Iranian intelligence networks.-TradeArabia News Service