Form of Anti-Regime struggle could change in Bahrain; Iran’s Gen. Soleimani warns

Alwaght- “ If only 10 percent of those who nearly six years have been directing their fists and fingers towards the palaces and tanks in Bahrain put their fingers on triggers, they quickly destroy Al Khalifa regime.”

This is a message by General Qassim Soleimani, the chief of Iran’s Quds Force, a force belonging to the Islamic Republic’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

In his short but senseful message General Soleimani has hinted to possible change in the course of Bahraini people’s methods of anti-regime struggle. Assuming that due to lack of land links to Iran and generally to the world the Bahraini people would yield to any conditions it determines, the Al Khalifa regime, which has the all-out US’ and Saudi Arabian regime’s backing, has built up strains on the Bahrainis, and considered no limit to its anti-citizens measures.

General Soleimani’s message transformed two notions: it, first, showed that the Bahraini people could replace their peace protest ways with more revolutionary ways and use weapons. Second,  his message communicated the idea that it was wrong to think that it is impossible for the Bahrainis to receive influential support from abroad and thus remain defenseless.

What came in the message, and which was repeated, though with different words by the Iranian foreign ministry, clearly indicated that the Islamic Republic’s vision of revolution of Bahrainis, which are still seen by Tehran as part of the country, has undergone a transformation. Now a new situation has appeared concerning the Bahraini uprising in Iran’s eyes.  In the new calculations, the political considerations of people of Bahrain as well as Iran are set aside. The new situation eyes overthrow of “oppressive” Al Khalifa regime using the revolutionary armed method unless the regime forsakes use of force in dealing with peaceful protests of its people. It should leave using Saudi-supplied arms and accede to the people’s rights and respect in practice their right for governing and also their freedoms. These requirements are very unlikely to be addressed by the Manama regime, however.

Having these in mind, the prospects of anti-regime struggle are clear: the struggle for change would observe a shift in Bahrain. The result of a confrontation between a fully dependent regime with people who are unceasingly striving to break the chains fastened to them by the US and Al Saud is obvious. In fact the Iranian general is right. If only 10 percent of the Bahraini who have been struggling for six years for their rights through peaceful ways decide to take arms in hands and fight against the regime, they can immediately destroy it.

The Bahraini regime should put into consideration the fact that from 1979 to 2011, the time of the Arab world’s uprisings, the people of Bahrain were ready to revolt. In fact, the huge popular gatherings in Ashura and Arba’een which were accompanied by anti-US and Britain— and recently anti-regime— chanting were enough to bring the regime down.  Following 2011 uprisings, if Iran did not advise the people to avoid violent ways, the people of Bahrain could put an end to the regime. Actually, it was Iran that called on the Bahrainis to refrain from direct clashes with the regime in a bid to avoid shedding blood of Muslims. The people, though reluctantly, accepted to show restraint.

The course of struggle now reached a juncture that the Al Khalifa regime thinks people have no other way but peaceful protests, and so it was ok for Manama rulers even if they did not address the protestors’ demands. This notion pushed the Bahraini government to strip the top Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who at the same time is leader of Bahrain’s struggle for freedom, of his very basic right, namely his citizenship. There are fears that the same scenario of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, the leader of Saudi Shiites who was arrested and executed by Riyadh, be adopted this time on Sheikh Qassim— a move that once made would give rise to large-scale problems.

The statement of General Soleimani laid bare the fact that although Iran is not seeking intervention in Bahrain’s affairs, it cannot turn a blind eye to what is taking place in Bahrain. Just contrary to some analyses, the General’s statement is not a stepping stone for an Iranian-Arab confrontation, it is a natural revolutionary response of the Islamic Republic to what is going on in the region. General Soleimani’s words are actually Iranian people’s words: “we are revolutionary,” earlier expressed during pro-Bahrain rallies.  Being revolutionary is different from being diplomatic. It doesn’t mean taking uncalculated steps. On the other side, the statement by Iran’s foreign ministry backed calculatedness of the Quds Force’s chief. Some sides inside Iran have confirmed that it was a message by General Soleimani only to pretend that it was a struggle between the IRGC and the country’s foreign ministry. This came while the statement was described as a clash between Iran and the US— and its puppets. This was made clear in the statement.

General Soleimani’s statement is not a political article containing a theory written by a journalist. It is a starting point of a serious change eyeing influential support of rights of Bahraini people. Al Khalifa now is well aware that from now on it has to deal with an all-new situation.  The new conditions are not going to be of advantages for the regime just like the time of peaceful protests, rather, they tip the scales in favor of the people.

Earlier, Bahraini people resented Iran’s calls for calm and peace in their anti-regime struggle. But now they reorganize in new operational mechanism, and change the security balance in their own favor.

The anti-citizens moves of Bahraini Al Khalifa regime, especially its steps against the religious leaders like revoking nationality of Sheikh Isa Qassim, would put Arab world’s public opinion beside the Bahraini people and against the regime. But the Bahraini protesters so far declined to resort to weapons in their uprising. Tens of people of Bahrain have so far been killed by the security forces, so they cannot be accused of extremism.

From another aspect, Bahrain government’s act of revoking the citizenship is a symbolic move.  Cancelling nationality of a top and influential cleric carries two significant internal and external messages: the home message is that the people have to accept that should they not give in to the regime’s pressures, they have to leave their country. The external message is that the anti-US policy countries should understand that the Western-Arab camp is strong enough to easily expel a highly respected religious leader from his own home country.  This camp can strip a nation from its most basic rights. On the opposing front, there must be a reaction, otherwise, in coming days they would execute Sheikh Isa Qassim. In fact, General Soleimani tried to make it clear for Bahrain’s government that what it considers the ending point is a starting point, and the ending point is the definite break-up of Al Khalifa regime.

The government and people of Iran have never started a war, and they wouldn’t be starters of any war, but they learned through experience how to handle any imposed war to destroy the aggressors.

The government and people of Iran didn’t declare war on the US but they know well how to respond to the proxy aggressions Washington is launching against the Islamic Republic. Iran’s wins in Syria, Iraq and Yemen over terrorism and extremism and frittering away billions of dollars of US allies like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar spent in support of terrorists show that Tehran is in highest level of readiness.

Iran, and specifically General Soleimani, proved perfectly that when they take over a case, they don’t leave it undone. Actually, they don’t leave a case unless they had concluded it. Not Bahraini people nor any other oppressed nation are not separate from Iran. Iran and Muslim world would not leave their parts alone.

By Al Waght

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