Sunday 21st Feb 2016
As part of the community partnership, the Interior Minister, Lt-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa received on here today scholars, members of Shura Council, Council of Representatives and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Editors-in-Chief of local newspaper, representatives of the National Institution for Human Rights and a number of dignitaries. The meeting was also attended by Chief of Public Security, Major-General Tariq Al Hassan and Governors.
The Interior Minister welcomed the attendees and delivered the following speech:
“Brothers Each time we meet, we do so to discuss an important state of security that concerns us all. Today, everyone is aware of the regional situation and the security challenges that affect our national security.
First, I will discuss the Iranian interference in the internal security affairs of Bahrain and the major threats we have exposed as a result of such interference. The tactics used in Bahrain are public knowledge and are the same tactics being repeated in other countries, especially Arab countries that open their door to cooperate with Iran. The presence of Iranian forces in those countries is not to protect Arabism but to achieve Persian interests and greed. We don’t accuse anyone without solid evidence.
The Arab and foreign media has focused on Iranian interference in Bahrain as part of a wider examination of Iran’s interference in GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as other Arab countries. This is exactly the interference we have been describing for many years. Unfortunately, the reaction to what we said was insignificant compared to the damage the interference caused.
Let me focus on the main Iranian interference since 2011 as Iran has tried to exploit Bahrain’s politics, economy and social fabric to achieve its expansion purposes. They have targeted the security and stability of the nation with weapons and explosives shipments. They have also attempted to destabilise the government and harm the economy. There are terrorist groups in Bahrain that have received training in Iran, Iraq and Syria and that are linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah. Iran offers financial support, weapons and explosives that are smuggled into the country. This includes training in bomb-making that has led to the death and injury of several policemen. 17 policemen have been killed in the line of duty martyrs and thousands have been injured. In addition, many people have been arrested and convicted for their role in these crimes.
Public statements by Iranian officials, community leaders and scholars, news presenters and Iranian alliances accompanied these acts of violence. The Supreme Leader of Iran and his advisors led these statements along with former and current Iranian Presidents, Chairmen of the Iranian Islamic Consultative Assembly, top government officials and journalists. Their statements were broadcast both inside and outside Iran and were designed to work continuously against Bahrain. I don’t know exactly how many they are I don’t watch them.
The other matter I will discuss is the attempt to disrupt national unity by igniting sectarian extremism to create sedition between Sunni and Shiite citizens. Bahraini Shiites were targeted after the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists approach was enforced. It is an approach that not all Shiite schools of thought agree on and some people who did not have strong feelings for their country were seduced to act against their country. This is called treason.
There was also an attempt to hinder the political reform process in Bahrain. The reforms are led by His Majesty the King who has called for the political process to be open and for people to maintain a strong sense of nationalism rather than forming political loyalty to Iran. We have seen this other countries where followers of Iran emerge. Iran announced with pride that it controls four Arab cities without taking into consideration the Arab identity.
The physical evidence and lab results that indicate Iranian interference in Bahrain is much more detailed than the information provided to the media. The evidence is detailed in a professional legal report that outlines the scope of the danger of the Iranian interference in Bahrain.
Regarding security procedures in Bahrain, we have assessed areas that were exploited to disrupt the security and general order of the country. As a result, we have taken steps to update these areas and confront the risk of terrorism. For this, I would like to thank all security efforts in this regard, especially the National Security Agency and the Criminal Investigation Division that helped in the identification and location of wanted criminals and weapons stashes. The most recent counterterrorism operation was on 5 November 2015 and resulted in the arrest of 76 people suspected of having links to an Iranian-backed terrorist cell.
In this context, I announce the following:
The formation of a committee to monitor financial transactions of individuals and organisations linked to terrorism. In addition, there are new regulations for the travel of citizens between the ages of 14 and 18 and all citizens who travel to conflict countries as named by the cabinet to the Legal Committee. New regulations also protect places of worship from religious and political extremism and incitement, as people in this world need to listen to the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet to lead them away from politics rather than having their societies and Majalis (gatherings) discuss politics around the clock.
Another matter: attempts to politicize Hussainiya rituals to spread chaos and incitement in an attempt to hijack these rituals away from their original purpose. This requires regulations for the rituals to set the days, times, locations and event organizers. We won’t allow the exploitation of the occasion to create chaos and disrupt general order.
In addition, fighting corruption to protect public money is a top priority. Unless we combat corruption, government performance will not improve and we will not be able to achieve our goals without the integrity of officials.
Regarding our security, we look forward to shifting focus from continual state of readiness and response to a more proactive security strategy. This shift will happen in cooperation with our partners from other government authorities and community members. Security and general order is a national responsibility that includes citizens and residents.
These dangerous security challenges have to be confronted by everyone. By this I mean by all of the country’s officials – inside and outside the government – by those at work and at home and by the young and the old. We need to face all threats, even including drug use by our young people. In the last six years, 125 drug-related deaths were reported, and there were a large number of drug addicts who need assistance. I have called for the implementation of the death penalty against drug dealers. They are the killers of Bahrain’s future.
The Iranian plot in Bahrain and the reckless plans to spread chaos and disturb public order has failed. These foreign plots were adopted by groups of extremists in Bahrain who pretended to work within a peaceful political framework but their dangerous goals have been discovered. We all know the slogan of the overthrow of the government that was mentioned on the stage when the crane was brought in, in addition to the placement of gallows and the attack against citizens, residents and police men. All of those acts – I don’t know how they are justified as peaceful means or under the term “freedom of expression.”
It was an attempt to drag the country into a civil war that is similar to what we are seeing in some nearby countries. But with patience and wisdom from all of us, the leadership and people, Bahrain has managed to evade the evil that has come to us from the outside. We did so by using the goodness from inside. Those who led and implemented criminal operations have been accountable, and anyone who continues to engage in such activities will face the law.
I’m asking, should those who joined Iran or sought out foreign embassies to discuss our national policies and sovereignty be part of democratic life and political reform? Should they be legislators or judges? Are they worthy to hold key posts in the state or join military or security forces? Brothers They did not take their national responsibility to heart and therefore cannot be partners in the building of the future of this nation. The people who deserve such a role are the national figures who put the interest of Bahrain before everything else, under the leadership of HM the King and who respects the Kingdom’s laws and constitution. Hopefully, the sincere and true people of Bahrain will be the winners.
Our message to Iran is that Bahrain is an Arab state as decided by the United Nations committee in 1970. And Bahrain will remain an Arab state. This was made clear when I asked on 23 July 2015 to condemn the statements of the Iranian President and the national response was supportive letters to HM the King. It was yet another obvious national pledge.
Those who have said Bahrain is the Gulf’s gateway to Saudi Arabia are correct. Bahrain is the fort in the Arabian Gulf that stands against foreign greed in past, present and the future. Bahrainis know that their stability relioes on their national identity, which isn’t a Sunni or Shiite identity but a Bahraini identity. By grace of God, we live in a country governed by freewill and the Arab will – not on foreign will. It is a will that believes in love, tolerance, goodness and reforms, not hatred and racism. We will not allow Bahrain to accept extremism or terrorism and we will not let go of what we have achieved regarding our security and stability.
By holding tight onto our nationalism all sectarian and extremism goals become manageable and our frontlines become stronger against foreign interference and hatred. There will be no discrimination against anyone except those who let go of their nationalism. The best expression of our nationalism is the good feeling of Bahrainis in the celebration of the anniversary of the National Action Charter that represents the values of the reform project and the modernization of HM the King. The Reforms continue and today those reforms have a better chance of success as citizens are more bonded.
Peace, mercy and blessings of God.
(Police Media Centre)
W H Q
BNA 1502 GMT 2016/02/21