The latest article by Abd al Bari Atwan from al Quds newspaper. It's actually excellent and well worth a read for anyone bewildered by the recent blip of solidarity shown to Bahrain as it puts things in a much needed perspective.
Abd al Bari Atwan
Recently Bahrain has been the subject of an unprecedented show of solidarity by its fellow Arab countries. Recently it had been visited by the Egyptian president Husni Mubarak for a few hours, the Jordanian King Abdullah the Second, has also paid a visit, and Riyadh has recently hosted an emergency meeting for the foreign and finance ministers of the Gulf Co-operation Council.
This show of solidarity comes in the wake of recent Iranian statements which have increased in frequency recently, threatening the sovereignty of this small country and casting doubts as to its Arab identity. The most direct and agressive of these was made by Hujat al Islam Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, the former head of the Iranian Shourah Council, and the private inspector for the office of the grand Murshid of the Iranian republic, which described Bahrain as Iran's fourteenth province.
The Iranian government has publicly distanced itself from these comments and confirmed their belief in the sovereignty of Bahrain and its independence. At the same time it has also reiterated its commitments on keeping good neighbourly relations with the country. But the damage has been done and those who have been waiting for the slightest mistake from Iran have, with these statements, found a goldent opportunity to instigate and provoke a reaction against it.
The Iranian officials are surprised by the angry responses that have been made concerning the statements of Mr Nouri, and say in private meetings that this comes under the "freedom of expression" which is found in the country, where high level public officials in Iran such as the president Ahmadi Nejad are subject to fierce criticisms levelled by the country's press and universities by those who oppose his policies.
Freedom of expression is one thing, and skepticism of the sovereignty of a country and its stability, whilst alleging that it belongs to another country is a completely different matter. Especially since these statements have been repeated in recent months by more than one person, in addition to the fact that Mr Nouri is not merely a journalist or writer to claim that he is simply expressing his opinion, but a high level official in government and very close to the grand Murshid and who knows exactly what he is saying.
Bahrain gained its independence after a popular referendum which was free and transparent, in which its people chose to confirm their right to independence and the freedom to determine their future and to retain their Arab identity. Iran admitted to this free and democratic decision, and established complete diplomatic relations with the new country. Why is the current Islamic government now casting doubts over this choice now, thus proving that it is more Farsee in outlook and more hostile to the Arabs than even the Shah's government was!
The timing is terrible by all measurements, and serves the enemies of Iran, with the Israelis and Americans amongst them in particular, by planting the seeds of dissent and division with the Arabs who are standing in the same trench as Iran in the face of their [Israeli and American] conspiracies, and their readiness to wage an economic war against it which would precede a possible military action against it similar to what took place in Iraq.
We were expecting the Iranians to be much more intelligent than the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, and not fall into the trap which led him into the arms of the Americans and those Arabs allied with them who eventually invaded the country and destroyed it. However appears that the "arrogance of power" is starting to blind some in Tehran from seeing the facts and learning from the lessons of history and of more recent times in particular. Iran is currently being targetted because it supports armed resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon, and stands beside the Palestinian people in their attempt to gain their legitimate rights, and has supported the resistance as they withstood the last war of aggression which took place against Gaza with money and some arms. This took place in spite of the severity of the seige and Iran is also behind the first and most honourable Arab victory against the Hebrew state during the summer war of 2006 against Lebanon.
The targetting of Iran may assume different guises, such as an economic blockade, international sanctions, and the creating of internal unrest by supporting opposition groups and reviving sectarian and racial divisions. Farsees represent 52 per cent of the entire Iranian population for their are also Arabs in Khozestan (Arabistan) and the Balush and Tajik in the South and South East, as well Kurds in the North West.
Mr Nateq Nouri presented, with his inflammatory statements, the greatest gift for those beating the drums of war against Iran, and especially to the "Coalition of the Afraid" of its increasing military strength and its right to develop nuclear capabilities to balance the mature military capabilities of the Israeli state which are ignored internationally and by the Arabs, and for no valid reason or gain.
All we have left is that this sudden Arab solidarity with the Bahraini state in facing Iran is a new step which deserves attention, but the question which presents itself forcefully is why this sudden awakening of solidarity and courage, and in such sudden strength? This especially by the likes of the Egyptian regime whose "Arab" blood was frozen in its veins during the recent Israeli war against the Gaza strip?! What can these countries offer Bahrain in the event of Iran making true of its threats, just as the president Saddam Hussein once did, and sends its forces to Bahrain?
The answer, with great sadness, is absolutely nothing. For these countries have lost all of their military will, exactly as they have also lost all of their political will and their freedom of decision. We have seen this tragedy in its ugliest form when the Iraqi forces entered Kuwait, whereby the United States rushed to offer assistance, and Kuwait lost all its sovereignty, bases and wealth as a hostage in exchange along with a blank cheque to cover all the expenses.
For the Gulf states in particular, and over the past twenty years since the crisis in Kuwait, have not developed any military capabilities to defend themselves in spite of possessing trillions of dollars in oil revenue, and have preferred to invest these in Europe and the United States instead of investing these in armies and defensive capabilities. Now they have lost most of it (some estimate the loss at around 3 trillion dollars) during the recent collapse in the Western financial markets.
The United States, and in its new administration, might not pay any heed to Gulf calls to save them should Bahrain or anybody else come under Iranian attack, for it has lost its reputation, sons and over seven hundred billion dollars at least when it last answered their calls concerning Kuwait, and it will lose double that in its current war in Afghanistan, where experts are in widespread agreement that it has already actually lost it.
The Arabs, and the rulers of the Gulf and Egypt in particular, have made a strategic mistake in the history of the region when they conspired against the former Iraqi regime and actively participated in imposing sanctions against it, then opening their bases and airspace for the last American invasion, when they handed Iraq to Iran on a golden platter, and unbalanced the strategic and political balance of the region, then sat crying over Iranian superiority.
Our hearts are with Bahrain, but we fear for her from the love of "Joseph's brothers" more than our fear for her from the fabricated Iranian wolf, and the trauma of the people of Gaza, and before them the people of Iraq with these same "brothers" is still plain for all to see.