Iran attempting to reappear on the regional scene by co-opting elections

Sawsan Al Shaer
Sawsan Al Shaer
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This year’s Lebanese, Iraqi and even Bahraini elections may offer space for Iranian interference once again.

With upcoming elections in Bahrain, the emergence of a new line of candidates linked to dissolved political parties, which were either serving Iran’s agenda or following Iran, looms as these groups plan to reappear on the scene again.

Parliamentary members and the Shura Council are preparing to vote on a law seeking to prevent members of dissolved associations and those who have been sentenced to final verdicts from getting on the ballot box. Therefore, thee associations backed by Iran are working to prepare a new line of candidates in order to return to the political scene.

What is noticeable is that the faces of those who were not politically burned do not have the acumen or experience to enter the political scene on their own. The associations are thus trying to introduce their names by asking known writers or famous accounts on social media to rake up debates with them so they emerge victorious during these fabricated conflicts, hence becoming popular in a few months to compete in the electoral race. What is important to them is that their names are mentioned by playing up their opposition credentials on social media, especially now after the Bahrainis have forgotten these associations.

Bahrain has been considered a success story in its ability to confront Iranian violations both on the political and security levels. Bahrain has on its own rejected anything and anyone that has links with Iran and exposed them.

Sawsan Al Shaer

We strongly welcome strong voices and bold political activists, and we also welcome institutionalizing the political arena and the establishment of new associations that criticize the executive authority and have the capability and bravery to monitor it via constitutional tools and within the established framework of freedom. However, followers of Iran or the followers of Iran’s followers have no place in our political arena.

Thank God, Bahrain has been considered a success story in its ability to confront Iranian violations both on the political and security levels. Bahrain has on its own rejected anything and anyone that has links with Iran and exposed them.

Bahrain has also prohibited the presence of armed militias that would threaten us, blackmail us and force us to submit to certain parties which are mere political proxies for Iran.

Hezbollah’s threat to candidates

Bahrain is one of the countries whose people courageously stood with their leaders and the political regime thus preventing a disaster, which Lebanon and Iraq suffer from today due to the presence of political parties which serve Iran within their legislative institutions. These political parties are imposed on Lebanon and Iraq via their militias whose only concern is to harness their countries’ resources to serve Iran.

Look at what’s happening in Lebanon these days ahead of the elections and what will happen in Iraq after few weeks. Lebanese Shiite candidates who run for the elections in a district where Hezbollah has imposed its authority through the power of its arms confront threats that may go as far as death threats.

Two days ago, Shiite candidate Ali al-Amin, who is running against a Hezbollah candidate, appeared in a video showing his bruised face. Amin, who also suffered from a broken tooth, was trying to catch breath as he talked and explained how Hezbollah’s ‘thugs’ had beaten him up to frighten him and force him to withdraw from the elections.

The video was published by Hezbollah dissident Rami Ollaik, who is also running for the elections in a district that has been dominated by Hezbollah for years. This is indeed a dirty war led by Iran against the Lebanese people. Iran’s servants are thus imposing their will on the Lebanese people via bullying, beatings, intimidation and threats. This is Hezbollah’s approach to guarantee that its candidates win seats in the legislative authority against the people’s will, so it can later harness Lebanese resources and exploit Lebanon’s geographic location to serve Iranian interests.

Iran’s legalized swindling of Iraq

The scene will be repeated in Iraq next month, with its preparations starting right now. Pro-Iranian parties are imposing themselves on the Iraqis by the force of militias whom Iran armed. The legislative institution is also harnessing Iraq’s resources to serve Iran by passing trade contracts and agreements that exhaust Iraqi resources based on unfair conditions and in favor of Tehran. Such agreements have been signed and voted on by the Iraqi parliament. An example is the energy contracts, wherein Iran sells gas to Iraq at double the price. Meanwhile, the Iraqi market is packed with Iranian food products and Iraqi farmers have complained of unfair competition. The balance of trade between Iraq and Iran is in Iran’s favor as Iraqi imports from Iran amount to $6 billion, while Iraqi exports to Iran are no more than $60 million a year. Iran is doing the same in Yemen where Houthis control Yemeni decision-making via the power of their arms which are smuggled to them by Tehran.

This is how Iran uses its servants and those affiliated with them to serve its agenda and turn a whole country into a follower that serves its interests. Groups that help Iran fulfill these goals have nothing to do with national privileges and are not concerned in any reform or development within their country where nothing but destruction and corruption reign as it is now evident in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria. Bahrain, which has confronted previous Iranian schemes and where Iranian dreams collapsed, is capable of identifying and exposing the new Iranian attempt at subjugation.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Sawsan Al Shaer is a Bahraini writer and journalist. She tweets @sawsanalshaer.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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