Qatar ‘conspired with Iran’ during 2011 unrest in Bahrain

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The naturalization of several Bahraini families in exchange for supporting militia movements classified Manama has designated as “terrorist” is one of the facets of Gulf and Arab nations’ decision to boycott Doha over Qatar’s interferences in the internal affairs of Bahrain.

The policy appears to have one goal: to overthrow the existing Bahraini regime that would eventually lead to the arrival of people close to the Iranian regime to power.

Three Gulf capitals, namely Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama, severed all diplomatic and economic ties with Doha last week. The main reason, they say, for this was Qatar’s “recent support for terrorism”.

In 2011, Bahrain witnessed violent protests by Iranian-backed groups. The role of the Iranian Consul in Manama was evident in those events. As a result, he was expelled by Manama after he provided some of these groups with communication equipment.

The Iranian role in these events was clear and officials from Tehran did not hide their support for these events, but the role of Qatar was not exposed then.

Bahraini Al Watan newspaper uncovered on June 7 information about the role of Qatar during that period of time. The revelations appear to have been hidden in order to maintain the unity of the Gulf.

According to the newspaper, Doha contacted Tehran and the Bahraini opposition, specifically Al-Wefaq, to launch the so-called “Qatari Initiative”.

al-wefaq reuters
al-wefaq reuters

In March 2011, former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani held extensive contacts with the Secretary-General of Al-Wefaq Society Ali Salman before the entry of the Gulf-backed Peninsula Shield forces that helped end the crisis in Bahrain and restored stability. In his communications with Salman, he presented a set of ideas, which were later considered as a Qatari initiative for Manama.

Al Watan also revealed that Hamad bin Jassim asked Al-Wefaq Society during his contacts to coordinate with the allied associations to ensure the continuation of the protests in the GCC countries so that “Qatar would pressure the government of Bahrain in order to open all the roads to the public, and stop the civil guards as well as popular checkpoints”.

‘The Qatari-Iranian initiative’

The Bahraini newspaper said that uncovered information showed that the then Qatari prime minister, in light of his contacts, outlined the “Qatari initiative” which asked the Bahraini to carry out four basic steps: “Guaranteeing the right to demonstrate to all citizens, shutting down the broadcast of Bahrain TV, releasing all detainees in juvenile prisons, and the formation of a transitional government within two months”.

These proposals were accepted by the Al Wefaq’s Salman, especially after Hamad bin Jassim affirmed that Doha would be the main sponsor of such initiative. Al-Wefaq affirmed the necessity of involving them in the transitional government and the former prime minister agreed to their request.

The Government of Qatar presented these ideas to the Government of Bahrain; the latter which completely rejected them, as they were considered interference in local internal affairs.

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