JEDDAH: Bahrain’s Interior Minister has said that Qatar poses a threat to the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries due to its political interference and “harboring extremist and terrorist elements.”
In an interview with the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa also referred to the Iranian interference in the domestic affairs of Bahrain.
With regard to the Qatari intervention in Bahrain, Sheikh Rashid pointed out that “Qatar continues to interfere in the domestic affairs of Bahrain and spies on its security and military forces, which threatens Bahraini national security.”
Shaikh Rashid added that Qatar has continued to naturalize Bahraini families, which affects Bahrain’s social security.
“Qatar also blocked a project to build a bridge between Bahrain and Qatar. It did not deliver its share in the Gulf support program, like its GCC counterparts. It banned the export of gas to Bahrain. We were forced to contract with Russia to import it,” Shaikh Rashid said.
He also stressed that Qatar’s serious threats to the security of its neighbors exceeded the limits of national sovereignty. “It affected the strength and homogeneity of the security front of the GCC states in light of the challenges facing the region.”
He also mentioned that the four countries that boycotted Qatar — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain — took this position in order to preserve security and stability.
The minister stressed that Iran was guilty of “the export of intellectual and sectarian extremism to create a base in Bahrain.”
He pointed to “Tehran’s export of extremist ideology, smuggling of weapons and explosives, transfer of explosives technology, and training of Bahraini persons on how to use weapons, explosives and field skills.”
He pointed out that these interventions include the continued hostile statements by the Iranian officials.
“Iran’s satellite channels and all means of media are working around the clock to spread hatred, dissemination of rumors and distorting facts to serve its agenda in the region.”
Shaikh Rashid said however that the security situation in Bahrain today is generally safe and stable.
“To indicate that the security situation is stable, we are receiving larger numbers of visitors than any time. This is the best witness to the ... safe situation in the country.”