Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iran Burns Its Fingers on Bahrain | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iran’s provocative statements regarding Bahrain’s [historic] subjection to it, reminds us of a story from the famous collection of Hindu fables known as the Panchantantra [Kalila Wa Dimna in Arabic]. I am talking of course about the tale of the goat and the wolf. A goat was being stalked by a wolf, but since the goat was peaceful the wolf could find no justification for eating him. One day the Wolf came upon the goat while it was grazing in the fields, the wolf listening to the sound of the goat chewing and said “You are mocking the way that I eat” and promptly devoured him.

This is what Iran is doing with regards to the small and peaceful Bahrain. Bahrain pursues peaceful diplomacy and distances itself from conflict, knowing its place in the scheme of things it does not provoke the larger regional countries, nor does it aspire to regional influence beyond its capability and potential.

But the Iranian nuclear wolf does not leave the peaceable Muslims in peace, and so it stalked Bahrain even though Bahrain respects its borders [with Iran] and has not provoked it. On the contrary Bahrain relies upon Iranian natural gas, and was the first country to make transactions with Iran in this regard, strengthening the bond between the neighboring countries. But Iran dug up the rubble of ancient history in order to prove [the historic] Bahraini subjugation to Iran; if we had accepted this then it would have meant the re-drawing of all political borders and an endless chaos, it would also mean Iran returning the [historically] Arab regions such as Ahvez, and Mahmara, and Abadan, to Iraq.

The additional statements released by Iranian politicians were not sufficient enough to contain the effect of the original aggressive statement, and has not made us forget their [original] underlying bad intentions. The statement attributed to Ali-Akbar Natiq Nuri, an advisor to Supreme Leader of Iran Grand Ayatollah Ali Khaenei and in which he said that Bahrain was a part of Iran, is not something new. Indeed this has been said before in 2007 by Editor-in-Chief of the Iranian newspaper Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari. At the time Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki played down the importance of Shariatmadari’s comments saying that “If somebody published something in a Bahraini newspaper, we would not expect the Bahraini government to apologize [for it].” And so it seems that Mottaki is true to his name, for his name in Arabic has two derivations; it can either mean beware, in the sense that his statement was a clear political warning [to Bahrain], and it can also mean to recline, and so Mottaki has leant upon Shariatmadari to pass along the message to Nuri Al Natiq.

Iran was impressed with the scenario surrounding Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, and have begun to follow in his footsteps. Saddam began by provoking Kuwait, putting forth the slogan that it’s better to cut a throat than to cut-off ones livelihood, giving his lower-tier officials and press the opportunity to express their hostile intentions [towards Kuwait], which is what Iran is doing today [towards Bahrain]. The Saddam Hussein regime named Kuwait the 19th province of Iran, while Iran named Bahrain its 14th province. And so we can say with all confidence that Natiq Al Nuri’s comments came as part of an Iranian plan to export their problems to long-enduring Islamic countries such as Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, Mauritania, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine, as well as certain African countries and certain Gulf states. At the same time relying upon its support of certain Palestinian and Resistance factions in order to help in its ideological and political expansion [in the region]. This is a plan that is doomed to end in failure, and one must take into account what happened to Hezbollah in West Beirut.

Our advice to Iran is that it is in their interests and the interests of their neighbors, and the interests of world peace, to solve their internal problems which are becoming increasingly complex and difficult, such as the spread of unemployment, the lack of health and social services, and the spread of poverty. It would be better to solve these problems than to threaten neighboring countries, and play with the fire of sectarianism that burns everybody equally.