As the fear-mongering campaign against Bahrain’s economy predicting gloom and doom continues, it is very important to separate news reports about the general state of the economy in the region and those just focusing on Bahrain’s woes. Since the Gulf Arab states are reeling from severe economic recession, Bahrain cannot be an exception.
As a matter of fact I generally follow news sources as much as I follow the news itself because today we are living in an era of fake news and controlled media.
The sources of the negative coverage of Bahrain continue to be the media organs of the coup regime in Qatar and the regime of Wilayat Al-Faqih in Iran and its proxy — the terrorist organization of Hezbollah — in Lebanon. This negative coverage is not accidental, it is in fact part of a systematic and sustained campaign to harm Bahrain and its economic interests and the events in the recent past bear testimony to this fact, which must be dealt with earnestly.
Banking, financial hub
Following the breakout of civil war in Lebanon, financial institutions in Beirut, which served as a regional financial hub, looked towards Bahrain as an attractive and a viable alternative due to its political stability and the strength of its banking system. Gradually, Bahrain became the most lucrative destination for global financial institutions replacing Beirut.
Later in the same period, as Britain was preparing to withdraw from Hong Kong and hand it over to China after the independence agreement, London was seriously looking for an alternative “destination” for capital investments in the east. Bahrain was among the three names Britain had shortlisted for the final selection and suddenly Hamad Bin Khalifa, who was then crown prince of the coup regime in Qatar, led a fierce campaign against Bahrain for its alleged “occupation” of Qatari islands (Qatar and its ruling family belong to Bahrain).
The sources of the negative coverage of Bahrain continue to be the media organs of the coup regime in Qatar and the regime of Wilayat Al-Faqih in Iran and its proxy — the terrorist organization of Hezbollah — in Lebanon. This negative coverage is not accidental, it is in fact part of a systematic and sustained campaign to harm Bahrain and its economic interests and the events in the recent past bear testimony to this fact, which must be dealt with earnestlyHussein Shobokshi
Qatar began sending mercenaries to provoke military skirmishes on the islands, which Qatar falsely claims that Bahrain occupies. Qatar also launched its media platforms for propping up strange characters in the name of Bahraini opposition and appointed a public relations company specializing in “smear campaigns” to highlight negative news in the British press about Bahrain.
Manama’s ‘smart’ economic strides
The campaign was successful and Bahrain was excluded as a candidate. Bahrain then made “smart” economic strides. Bahrain now hosts the headquarters of the largest asset management company, Investcorp, which continues to be a leading global provider and manager of alternative investments.
Apart from it, Bahrain has been able to bring the most important sporting event to the region, the Formula One race. Yes, there are major problems and challenges facing Bahrain. It is not the only one in this matter. This is why it is important to carefully reflect who is saying what and who is the real beneficiary.
Do the coup regime in Qatar and the regime of the Wilayat Al-Faqih in Iran wish good for Bahrain so that the news from them is taken seriously? On the contrary, their long list of schemes against Bahrain makes decision makers in Bahrain cautious and careful. There are problems and challenges facing Bahrain in economic affairs. It is not a private Bahraini case, and there are wise people inside Bahrain who are capable of solving it because it is not the first challenge they face.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on August 20, 2018.
Hussein Shobokshi is a Businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the “Global Leaders for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa. His twitter handle is @husseinshoboksh.