Bahrain Interior Minister: Iran Harbors 160 Wanted Suspects

Manama- Bahrain’s Interior Minister Lieutenant General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa uncovered on Monday that Iran harbors 160 suspects wanted by Bahrain for participating in terrorist activities that have threatened the security and safety of the country.

The minister told Asharq Al-Awsat that his country has revoked the citizenship of those terrorists and has issued sentences against them in cases linked to the martyrdom of 25 Bahraini security officials and the severe injury of more than 3,000 others.

Al Khalifa said that the strategy of US President Donald Trump against Iran helped in limiting the indulgent policies used by Iran to interfere in the internal affairs of other states and to export its terrorist activities through the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.

The Bahraini minister praised the US strategy and said that in general, it undoubtedly restored international peace and security and in specific, it protected the regional security of Arab Gulf states.

Al-Khalifa also lauded the announcement of US Secretary of Defense James Mattis that Washington would surely dissuade Iran from shipping explosives to Bahrain.

According to the Bahraini interior minister, there is evidence that Iran has shipped 24 kilograms of explosive materials to Bahrain and it logistically and financially supported terrorist members to carry out terrorist acts against Bahrain and its people.

He said there is a direct relationship between Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and terrorist activities in Bahrain.

“Bahrain faced the threat of terrorism and was able to foil many terrorist acts. Physical evidence and strategic information proved the involvement of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in training terrorist members in Iranian camps on the use of explosives and automatic rifles and contributing to the smuggling of those weapons to Bahrain,” Al Khalifa said.

He added that some arrested suspects have already admitted into being trained on the use of weapons in the military camps run by the Revolutionary Guards, and that their ages range between 20 and 40.

General Sharif Says Terrorists Restrict Attack Strategy to Smaller Rings

Pakistan's newly appointed army chief General Raheel Sharif attends the change of command ceremony with outgoing army chief General Ashfaq Kayani in Rawalpindi

Manama- Islamic Military Alliance Commander General Raheel Sharif stressed that Islamic countries exert great efforts when facing the challenge of combating terrorism and violent extremism, especially when confronting groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. He pointed out that terrorists no longer use central and organized planning, but resort to lone-wolf attacks and smaller terror rings.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Military Alliances Conference in the Middle East, Gen. Sharif labeled the initiative launched by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to establish the 41-nation Islamic Military Coalition against terrorism as one of the most important alliances in the world.

Gen. Sharif highlighted that the Islamic alliance is not directed against any state, doctrine, or religion, but is an alliance set out to eradicate terrorism by promoting tolerance and countering misconceptions surrounding Islam.

Terrorist groups and organizations have exploited and marred the image of Islam and its believers.

General Sharif briefed a crowd of military officials and diplomats about the strategy undertook by the Islamic military alliance for the war on terror, which includes countering terrorist propaganda and intelligence work, drying up terror funds and any form of support.

He added that one of the tasks is to reduce terror financing through building intelligence capabilities and law enforcement institutions in member states. He said that the coalition will work with international organizations in this regard.

Gen. Sharif stressed that the coalition’s military wing will provide support to member states in their fight against terrorism and efforts on deterring violent attacks.

He pointed out to defense ministries in the member states coordinating with the Saudi Defense Ministry led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on making decisions related to maintaining the sovereignty, security, and stability of member states.

Gen. Sharif reviewed Pakistan’s experience in the war on terrorism, noting that Pakistan had suffered the loss of 6,000 martyrs in the war against terrorism.

The main conference’s session was held on Monday with a speech to Brigadier General Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Commander of the Royal Guards, in which he welcomed Bahrain’s strategy announced by President Donald Trump to address Iranian policies aimed at security and stability in the region.

Bahrain FM: Qatar Orbits Iran, Failed to Present Initiative to Resolve Crisis

Bahrain

Manama – Bahrain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said that Qatar was still “orbiting Iran”, adding: “We have not seen any sign of Qatar’s initiative to resolve the crisis, so we are still waiting for this step.”

“We are not losers,” he said. “We are concerned about the stability and prosperity of our countries, the security and progress of our peoples before anything else, and it is up to them – the Qataris – if they want to resolve their crisis or not.”

On the Gulf Summit in Kuwait, the Bahraini minister said: “The summit [will be held] on time, upon an invitation by the host country.”

Asked about US President Donald Trump’s remarks on the possibility to terminate the nuclear deal with Iran, Sheikh Khaled said: “We welcomed his speech and the strategy he put forward, and we have been waiting for it for a long time.”

He explained: “Bahrain welcomed this strategy because it is one of the countries that have suffered the most from Iranian terrorism and Iranian interventions, and we are waiting for this strategy to progress and achieve its objectives and not be withdrawn.”

The Bahraini minister underlined the convergence of the strategy launched by Trump with the vision of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain towards Iran’s role in the region.

“Now we see a clearer picture than before, a sound vision and a sense of danger in the region, where Iran represents the greatest threat to security and stability,” he noted.

Bahrain: Completion of Oil Pipeline with Saudi Arabia in 2018

Bahrain's Minister of Oil, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al-Khalifa speaks during the opening of the Middle East Petrotech 2016 in Manama

Manama- “A new 350,000-barrels-per-day oil pipeline between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will be completed in 2018 to serve the planned expansion of Bahrain’s refinery capacity while construction of a gas pipeline is being considered,” Bahrain’s Oil Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said.

“Bahrain is in final negotiations with a preferred bidder to expand its only oil refinery and a contract is expected to be awarded before the year-end,” Bahrain’s Oil Minister said in an interview.

He did not identify the bidder, but sources told Reuters in August that a consortium including TechnipFMC, Samsung Engineering and Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas had submitted the lowest bid.

The Kingdom is also building its first liquefied natural gas terminal, which will allow it to import LNG for domestic use.

Saudi Aramco could potentially use the terminal as part of a wider scheme to connect Gulf Arab countries with a gas pipeline, Sheikh Mohammed said.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain signed contracts worth around $300 million to lay a new 350,000-barrel per day (bpd) oil pipeline between the two countries in September 2015.

The pipeline project is built in three phases, with the first phase in Saudi Arabia, the second between the Kingdom and Bahrain and the third one would be inside Bahrain.

The 115-km pipeline will run 42 km offshore and 73 km onshore and will replace the current aging crude oil pipeline. The pipeline will run between Aramco’s Abqaiq plant and Bapco’s Sitra refinery off the coast of Bahrain.

Sheikh Mohammed said Bahrain was talking with Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Co about the possibility of installing an aromatics plant with the refinery expansion.

Any plans to expand the Abu Safa oilfield, which Bahrain shares with Saudi Arabia And is managed by Aramco, will depend on oil markets, but for the time being there are no such plans, he said. Bahrain now produces 200,000 bpd of oil including output from Abu Safa.

Instead, authorities are looking to increase output from Bahrain’s own oilfield by tapping pre-khuff gas, which is gas located in deep deposits, Sheikh Mohammed said.

Bahrain Confirms Committing to Principles of Anti-Terror Countries

Bahrain

Manama-The King of Bahrain has hailed the efforts of the anti-terror Quartet and the current boycott of countries supporting terrorism headed by Qatar, underscoring the Kingdom vital role in fighting terrorism in the region.

“The Kingdom affirms its adherence to the basic principles declared by the countries calling for the fight against terrorism and uncovering the supporters and funders of terrorism, who adopt political agendas that aim to fabricate crises, divide ranks and threaten the security and stability of the region,” King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said.

The King’s comments came during the opening of the final session of the fourth legislative term at a special ceremony held at the Isa Cultural Center premises in Juffair.

Deputy Prime Ministers, Bahrain Defense Force(BDF) Commander-in-Chief Field Marshall Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, ministers, senior officers of the BDF, Interior Ministry and National Guard, Members of Parliament and Shura Council, Ambassadors and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The King mentioned the headlines of Bahrain’s internal and foreign policy as he stressed the reform requirements and development in light of this changeable world.

“The requirements of reform and development in our changing world, with its opportunities and challenges, call for a clear vision to ensure a smooth development process,” King Hamad said.

“On this level, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been able to meet these requirements, proceeding from our comprehensive national project, from which stems Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 and its principles that instill justice, competitiveness, and sustainability to attain leadership in performance and achievement,” King Hamad added.

Praising the efforts paid by the two branches of the Legislative Authority, the House of Representatives and Shura Council, King Hamad highlighted the main legislations passed during the previous three years, serving the people of Bahrain and their interests.

He commended the initiatives of the legislature that aim to boost the level of social stability, especially the Family Law, which came in the “form of a consensus and unified formula, stemming from the provisions of the Islamic Shari’a, and in support of the tremendous attention the Kingdom accords to the status of the Bahraini family in general and women in particular, who deserve all respect.”

It’s a matter of pride that Bahraini women today exceed the traditional stages of empowerment to reach the higher status they now enjoy as they represent a high percentage of the country’s public and private sector employees,” the King said.

In the field of foreign policy, King Hamad stressed that his country will remain, as it has always been known in the Arab world, faithful to its causes, protecting its security and defending its interests.

“It will mobilize all its military, security and diplomatic capabilities to confront any illegal interference and deal with any crises that aim to destabilize its Arab region,” the King added.

“In this regard, we will continue our efforts in support of the legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people to establish their independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital, as a prerequisite for the establishment of security and stability in the region.”

In this context, Speaker of the Council of Representatives called upon Qatar to return to the Gulf House and the Arab Ranks and to adhere to the bonds, ties of closeness, religion, history and common destiny and to stay away from the Iranian policies.

Bahrainis Stripped of Citizenship Over Training with IRGC

Bahrain's Public Prosecution Building, Bahrain, BNA

Manama- Bahrain’s public prosecution on Wednesday sentenced two nationals to jail terms and revoked their citizenship after they were convicted of training in Iran and the “possession of weapons for terrorist purposes”.

One of the two accused received special training in weapons and explosives provided by the Revolutionary Guard in Iran, while the second facilitated travel for the first suspect.

The High Criminal Court convicted them of the counts of charges leveled against them and revoked their nationality, the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) cited Terror Crime Prosecution Advocate Esa Al-Ruwaei.

Based on a notification from The General Directorate for Criminal Investigation (CID), an inquiry was launched into the case of one the convicts who received military training in Iran.

The investigation confirmed that the first convict, who was among the most active participants in acts of rioting, rallying, and sabotage, was in contact with terrorists in Bahrain and abroad, BNA reported.

The inquiry also established that he left Bahrain in 2015 and headed to Iran in coordination with terror leaders based abroad, with the help from other elements in the Kingdom.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard trained him on using, dismantling and assembling all types of military armament as well as shooting so as to prepare him to perpetrate terrorist operations. The second convict, who helped the first travel to Iran, was also involved in recruiting him.

The investigation revealed that terrorists tasked the first convict with monitoring sensitive locations inside the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Based on results of the investigation, the two accused were arrested and referred to the Public Prosecution to face charges, in compliance with constitutional measures.

The public prosecution based its charge on the verbal testimony of a witness, the confessions of the first accused and the monitoring of their movement in and out of Bahrain.

The two accused, who were provided all legal guarantees, stood trial at the Criminal Court in the presence of their defense lawyers.

The convicts have the right to challenge the verdict before the Court of Appeal within the legal deadline. The Bahraini judicial system also stipulates post-appellate guarantees for the case to be reviewed by the Court of Cassation.

GCC, OIC Condemn Terrorist Attack in Bahrain

GCC, OIC Condemn Terrorist Attack in Bahrain

Manama- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Chief Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani condemned Tuesday the terrorist bombing that was carried out on Monday at al-Budaiya Street in Bahrain and injured a number of security men.

Zayani expressed his full confidence in the ability of Bahrain’s security apparatuses to uncover the details of this terrorist crime and the parties behind it, arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

For his part, Secretary-General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Yousef bin Ahmed al-Othaimeen expressed solidarity with the government of Bahrain in its response to all acts of terrorism aimed at destabilizing its security and stability, terrorizing innocent civilians and damaging public property.

Othaimeen emphasized the OIC’s principled and firm position, which strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

An official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry condemned the terrorist bombing in the Bahraini capital of Manama.

The source confirmed Saudi Arabia’s support for the sister Kingdom of Bahrain against these acts of terrorism aimed at destabilizing its security and stability and intimidating its people.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz called his Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa to express Saudi Arabia’s full support for Bahrain regarding all measures it takes to protect its security and stability.

Prince Abdulaziz stressed “full cooperation between the security services in the two countries, based on their cohesion and their common destiny.”

UAE, Kuwait, Egypt and Yemen also condemned the terrorist attack in Bahrain and stressed their solidarity with Bahrain in facing violence and terrorism, calling on the international community to unite in the face of this serious scourge that threatens the security and stability of the world.

Bahrain’s Shura Council has expressed its strong condemnation and denunciation of Monday’s terrorist bombing that targeted and injured five on-duty policemen on Budaiya Street, wishing them a speedy recovery.

The Council said such terrorist acts will never weaken the government’s resolve or willpower to take pre-emptive measures against terrorists and outlaws, strife-mongers and to continue the implementation of its strategies and plans in combating terrorism and drying up its sources.

The Council reaffirmed that Bahrain, as the state of law and institutions, “will neither tolerate anyone who seeks to undermine its national interests or the interest of its citizens and residents nor compromise with anyone who plots to commit such acts that threaten the security and stability of our beloved kingdom.”

It lauded the role of the security agencies and their keenness on the provision of security and protection all over the Kingdom’s regions as well as ensuring the safety of various religious sermons.

The Council also voiced its full confidence in the capabilities and efficiency of the security agencies and their capacity to identify and apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice.

Bahrain: Terror Blast Injures 5 Policemen

Manama – Five policemen were injured in a terror blast while securing Ashoora procession on Budaiya Highway in Daih, while no one claimed the responsibility for it.

The bombing targeted forces securing the participants in Ashoora procession, and as soon the occasion was over, a bomb on the side of the road remotely exploded, a source informed Asharq Al-Awsat.

The source also stated that the occasion was used by Iranian officials who called for illegal processions and walks in Daih, Duraz, and other villages.

Hezbollah’s secretary general Hasan Nasrallah delivered a speech instigating against the kingdom of Bahrain and described the Bahraini people as the oppressed people living in a prison.

Ministry of Interior announced that five policemen were injured in a terror blast while securing Ashoora procession on Budaiya Highway in Daih.

The ministry reiterated on its official Twitter account that the necessary steps are being taken.

In 2014, a terrorist explosion occurred in Daih killing an Emirati officer and two Bahraini policemen after a bomb exploded on the side of the road.

Capital Governor Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa condemned the terror blast that injured five policemen, expressing full confidence in the capability of the security authorities to reveal the circumstances of the terror crime and those behind it to bring them to justice.

The governor asserted that this terror blast didn’t respect the holiness of the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic Calendar.

The governor said that the terror blast was condemned by all conventions, legislation, developed countries and international organizations.

A Saudi official source at the Foreign Ministry condemned the terrorist bombing which injured several policemen in the Bahraini capital of Manama.

The source confirmed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s support for the Kingdom of Bahrain against these acts of terrorism aimed at destabilizing its security and stability and intimidating its people.

General Secretariat of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed strong condemnation of the terrorist bombing which took place on Monday. The attack targeted security forces while carrying out their duties, resulting in injuries among them.

OIC Secretary-General Yousef al-Othaimeen expressed solidarity with the government of Bahrain in its response to all acts of terrorism aimed at destabilizing its security and stability, terrorizing innocent civilians and damaging public property.

Othaimeen emphasized the organization’s principled and firm position, which strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Saudi Interior Ministry: ‘Ready to Apply Provisions of the Traffic Law on Men, Women’

Saudi

Dammam- Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki said that women would be allowed to drive from the age of 18 as they can obtain a driver’s license and drive a car in the kingdom.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef said security forces were ready to apply traffic laws to men and women, though he did not mention if women would be recruited as traffic police.

He said separately that lifting the ban would reduce the number of car crashes in Saudi Arabia, which has one of the world’s worst traffic death rates.

“Women driving cars will transform traffic safety to educational practice which will reduce human and economic losses caused by accidents,” he was quoted as saying on the ministry’s Twitter feed. He did not elaborate.

Turki said the Interior Minister thinks the recent decision to lift the ban on women driving represents a strong push to the ministry’s efforts to enhance traffic safety through education.

“Women will certainly benefit from being able to drive and it will help them understand traffic rules and manners. This will positively affect their educational role while raising children to properly handle cars and be on the road,” he added.

“Allowing women to drive will lead to their full awareness of the responsibilities resulting from this decree and their knowledge and understanding of the rules of traffic ethics and traffic safety requirements, which positively reflects on their educational responsibilities in raising their children on the correct and safe grounds for dealing with the vehicle and the road,” Turki told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Bahraini Investment Fund Worth $100 Mn in Technical, Emerging Companies

CEO of Bahrain's EDB. Khalid al-Rumaihi.

Manama- CEO of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB) Khalid al-Rumaihi has unveiled a $100 million venture capital fund to invest in technical companies and in the field of emerging companies and entrepreneurship.

Rumaihi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the launching of the fund will take place before the end of 2017, and the participating investment funds with venture capitals will get the chance to find a corporate-led industry while the government will only regulate and legislate.

Meanwhile, the EDB announced the Kingdom will host the Technology Week from 24 – 28 September 2017, designed to showcase and dissect how disruptive technologies and digital trends are revolutionizing the global industry and regional economy.

The Technology Week is anchored by two major ICT and entrepreneurship events – the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit, 25 September, and the Innovation Forum, powered by MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, 27, 28 September– alongside a range of other exhibitions, panel discussions and talks by global leaders.

As the cloud computing platform of Amazon.com, the AWS Summit will be the first of its kind in Bahrain, providing the international cloud computing community with a forum to connect and collaborate.

The summit will offer businesses the opportunity to learn about AWS technology– one of the leading models of cloud storage infrastructure currently in existence.

Sponsored by the EDB and Investcorp, the Innovation Forum expands on similar themes, bringing together global experts and high-profile business representatives to focus on cutting-edge technologies and scientific research.

In his comments on the event, Rumaihi said: “Home to the GCC’s leading ICT infrastructure, it is essential that Bahrain continues to foster the kind of innovative technologies and frameworks that have led to world-class companies choosing the Kingdom as their home for regional operations. It is events like Technology Week that allow us to ensure that Bahrain’s digital ecosystem remains world-class”.