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Experts draw 'startling comparisons' in explosives

Manama, March 3, 2014

Foreign experts have drawn "startling comparisons" between explosives detonated by radicals in Bahrain and those used by insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a report released yesterday.

The revelation was made by a committee set up to ensure recommendations of a landmark report, which was commissioned to help improve the country's human rights record, are being implemented, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.


In its latest update which discusses obstacles to progress, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) follow-up committee says similarities between explosives in Bahrain and elsewhere indicated overseas involvement in ongoing unrest.

"Foreign governments have been helping with forensic counter-terrorism expertise, helping us discover the source of the weapons caches we track down," said the report.

It says explosive devices used were very similar to those employed in other conflict zones in the region.

"These impartial foreign experts have found startling comparisons between IED signatures and triggering mechanisms used in Afghanistan and Iraq with those discovered in Bahrain," it said.

"There were similarities between military grade explosive compounds and methods of packaging of the explosive devices."

The report outlines five key challenges to reforms, although a government minister said 80 per cent of the 2011 BICI recommendations have been implemented.

The five challenges identified are widespread violence, combating foreign hostile intervention, a vitriolic foreign audience, building human resource capacity and non-co-operation and rejection by important domestic stakeholders.

"Police face nightly rioting and terror-inducing activity in various villages and there have been more than 2,500 police injuries serious enough to warrant admission to hospitals since 2011 (on average five every two days)," said the report.

"There have been more than 12,300 Molotov cocktail incidents (on average, more than 11 every day) - and each incident could include from one to hundreds of Molotov cocktails."

The report states "two rioters were killed during unprovoked attacks on police" last year, while "three police officers (were) killed by rioters" and four rioters killed themselves while planning attacks through homemade bombs and Molotov cocktails.

"Iran's active involvement in keeping Bahrain's crisis alive includes indirect training through proxy groups based outside Bahrain and emergence of insurgent groups linked to the Al Quds Force, a special unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard," continued the report.

It also criticises "non-government voices" for broadcasting "extremist and incendiary content" and adopting "inflammatory tones".

"This polarising debate is particularly acute in regional media outlets, particularly those broadcast from Iran and Iranian-influenced elements in Lebanon and Iraq," it added.

The report also highlights rejectionist policies of Bahraini political movements such as the Al Wefaq National Islamic Society for hindering progress in reforms.

"While Bahrain faces widespread violence orchestrated by groups such as the February 14 Youth Revolutionary Coalition and the Al Haq Movement, other - more mainstream - groups have been actively rejectionist in their approach, such as the Al Wefaq," it said.

"They indoctrinate their followers into believing it is a duty to refuse to acknowledge any work done by the government. They do not support but are rather hostile to co-operation.

"Activists drum up street-level opposition to any form of dialogue. Certain influential religious clerics are not playing a helpful role and some make incendiary sermons that rile up crowds.

"One fatwa issued in January 2012 to 'crush' police has tripled the number of attacks on police officers per month from 481 to 1,375."

However, despite the obstacles, Minister of State for Information Affairs and official government spokeswoman Sameera Rajab told a press conference after the Cabinet's session yesterday that the government had implemented 80 per cent of the 26 BICI recommendations.

She said the government was working on the remaining six alongside the legislative authority and others in the community.

"The six are in developed stages and will be completed in time," she said.

"We are working to ensure it is soon, but we have managed to implement 80 per cent in full."

The report was submitted to the Cabinet yesterday by Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | Afghanistan | Iraq | Explosive | Comparison |

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