Q&A with Bahrain Sunni leader: Shias seek to create state loyal to Iran

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Dr. Abdullatif al-MahmoodBahrain's Shias seek the overthrow of the country's Sunni leadership in an effort to create a Shia state loyal to Iran, National Unity Gathering spokesman Dr. Abdullatif al-Mahmood told Al-Masry Al-Youm. Al-Mahmoud accused Tehran of bolstering Shia movements in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain in an attempt to control the Gulf region.

He described Iran as radical and revolutionary while accusing the US of aiding the Shia regional power in its plot to gain control of Gulf oil reserves.

In Al-Masry Al-Youm's exclusive interview, al-Mahmoud warned of the spread of Shia ideology in Islamic countries, calling on Sunni states to unite to confront the threat posed.

Al-Masry Al-Youm: How do Sunnis view the situation in Bahrain?

Dr. Abdullatif al-Mahmood: We, in Bahrain, have surpassed two daunting phases; the first phase was concerned with the opposition while it was pretending to be peaceful but, in reality, was seeking fuel for the fire it was planning to build. They were able to obtain this fuel to some extent but then it began to die down after people were killed in clashes.

This was followed by the second phase, which can be described as aggression -- not towards the regime -- but towards the community as a whole, in place of the peaceful protests. This aggression took many forms; there was personal hostility by those belonging to the Shia opposition towards all Sunnis appointed in Bahraini ministries.

This aggression escalated when they gained control of the Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC), making it one of the opposition’s headquarters and using it to carry out their plan.

Al-Masry: Have they succeeded in their plans?

Al-Mahmood: With the declaration of a state of national safety, many masks fell and many plots were exposed. The Bahraini people became at ease as they were living in extreme fear of an attempt to replicate the Iraqi experience, especially since it’s a well known fact that those leading the movement here are linked to Iraq, Iran and Hizbullah.

It was also discovered that there was a link between more than one region, meaning the movement was not restricted to Bahrain, and that there were other plots taking place in Kuwait and Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia. There is evidence that the three plots are linked.

The opposition, which had been offered the golden opportunity to engage in dialogue, rejected this opportunity and now wants to achieve any gains in order to save face.

Al-Masry: Shias say they have been exposed to persecution and discrimination in the past.

Al-Mahmood: Since the 1920’s when Bahrain was going through the stage of administrative reform during the reign of Sheikh Isa bin Ali, he established Sunni Sharia courts and Shia Sharia courts, although they were a minority. He also established Sunni and Jaafari (Shia) endowments and had advisers from both sides. He appointed judges before the establishment of parliamentary assemblies and in Shia areas he appointed Shias. In other words, there was no discrimination.

The problem is that there is a faction in the Jaafari doctrine which calls for the exclusion of the infidel Sunni people. This faction escalates at times and fades at others. It is a hostile faction. During the past many years, there have been attempted coups in Bahrain, which sought to create a Shia state and impose Shia ideology. These attempts are still taking place. The government recently caught a Shia officer in the Interior Ministry leaking crucial information about officers and other individuals to external parties.

The problem with the Shias is that most of them have no loyalty to the homeland. Their loyalty to the sect and its plots comes first. How can we trust them when they put up pictures of Khomeini everywhere they go when he was the military leader of Iran, as well as the religious and secular political leader? How can the state trust them?

Al-Masry: Are you saying the Shias were planning to establish a Shia state in Bahrain?

Al-Mahmood: Yes, this is nothing new to them. It is their dream which they have been seeking to realize for many years.

Al-Masry: The Bahraini government has accused Iran and Hezbollah of planning to overthrow the government and turn it into a Shia state.

Al-Mahmood: This is true and this was clear from the speeches of the secretary general of Hizbullah and the Iranian leaders. In addition to the fact that Iran has 40 television stations dedicated to Shia ideology, some of which are dedicated to the broadcast of Bahrain-related news.  

This is a clear sign of their support, in addition to the internal support. For instance, an Iranian Embassy official was arrested at the Salmaniya Hospital. He attempted to bring out weapons which he had brought in before the troops stormed the hospital. They also found 50,000 Dinar worth of international intelligence equipment at the SMC and the square. This is all within the framework of a US plan to create a vast Shia state loyal to Iran in the Gulf and in Iraq.

Al-Masry: How is the US aiming for the region to become governed by Shias loyal to Iran, despite the hostility between the two countries?

Al-Mahmood: This is not true. The truth is that there is no hostility between Iran and the US. There are mutual interests and roles between the two. International relations are governed by interests and not by good or bad relations.

Al-Masry: Some argue that the recent events taking place in Bahrain have increased sectarianism. Would you agree?

Al-Mahmood: This is one hundred percent correct. The Sunni Muslims were shocked by the apparent and unjustified Shia hostility towards them. The Shias were not surprised by this hostility. This is how they feel towards us and are only showing it now. [almasryalyoum.com]