US must stop 'Iranian plot against Bahrain'
Manama, May 18, 2013
It is in America's strategic interest to help Bahrain as it battles an Iranian plot to destabilise the kingdom, said former US representative Dan Burton.
Bahrain is threatened by Iranian agents who are working with protest leaders and radical clerics to overthrow the government, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, citing Burton.
The US as well as other Western countries are aware of the threat Iran poses, he wrote in a letter published in the Washington Times.
"We must make it clear that Bahrain is our friend and ally, and we will not let Iran and radicals like Shaikh Isa Qassim, a supporter of Iran's goals, overthrow the government," the senior politician from Indianapolis wrote.
He said His Majesty King Hamad and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, had worked to create an independent commission to recommend changes to help meet the demonstrators' demands, but the leaders of the opposition will not allow meetings that could resolve many of the issues.
Burton stressed that the US and its allies "must make it clear to Iran and the radical groups that we will help defend Bahrain and our allies in the Gulf, and there is a red line that Iran crosses at its own peril."
In his letter, Burton recalled how the King, who was the defence minister then, personally directed a search and rescue operation to save the USS Stark and its 172 American crew members after it was hit by missiles and was in the danger of sinking during the Iran-Iraq war.
In a separate opinion piece in the newspaper, columnist S Rob Sobhani pointed out that the spectre of an Islamic republic of Bahrain is a real possibility with Iran hijacking the recent protests by Bahrainis for better living conditions as a means of the US ally.
Overthrowing Bahrain's constitutional government has been a goal of Iran's clerics since they came to power in 1979 and as early as last year, an adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that "Bahrain is Iran's 14th province", he said.
More radical elements are being encouraged and financed by religious establishment of Iran and centres in Qom, Sobhani said.
Ayatollah Khamenei has also praised radicals in Bahrain as revolutionaries with good intentions, and demonised Bahrain's US-friendly rulers as apostates, he pointed out.
"Nowhere in the region are the stakes for American national security higher than in Bahrain. With protests continuing to challenge the Ruling Family, the key question President Barack Obama and members of Congress have to ask themselves is: Why should Washington care about Bahrain? The answer is clear: The stability of the energy-rich Arabian Gulf is tied to Bahrain," he stated.
"Fully 67 per cent of the world's proven crude oil reserves are situated in the Gulf, and approximately 27 per cent of the daily global crude oil exports pass through the territorial waters of Bahrain on the way to consumers worldwide," he added.-TradeArabia News Service