Khalid Al Sayed
There is confusion among Gulf citizens about the role of Iran and its intervention in their domestic affairs, and the role of Muslim Brotherhood, or what is called political Islam, which is dominating the Arab Spring states.
With the uprising in Syria in its third year, it is clear for any observer that Iran has spread its security and intelligence influence in the Gulf. Recently, the Saudi Ministry of Interior disclosed that it has busted an Iranian spy network comprising of 16 Saudis and two others from Iran and Lebanon. Similarly, Bahrain revealed the arrest of a terrorist cell which was planning to form an armed opposition force under the name “Al Emam Army” with the aim of attacking military bases in the country.
Kuwaiti political thinker Dr Abdullah Al Nafisi said last week that Iran has plans to train Shia youth in the Gulf states. According to him, Tehran is planning to take these youth to Sada in Yemen from where they will be transferred to four Eritrean islands which are rented and used as military training centers by Iran. The youth will be trained by Iranian revolutionary guards there to destabilize the Gulf region. Dr Nafisi said the regime in Bahrain would have almost fallen had the Al Jazeera Shield forces not intervened.
Iran considers Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar as geographical fragments, and has networks in Kuwait, the eastern region of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. He made it clear that calling the demonstrations in the eastern region of Saudi and Bahrain as legitimate protests against tyranny is not correct, because those who struggle for freedom do not use Khomeini’s photos.
Therefore, Gulf countries need to be cautious about reactions from Shias on their soil in the event of the fall of Bashar Al Assad’s regime in Syria.
On the other hand, one major outcome of Arab Spring has been the rise of political Islam and its control of power.
This made the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to call on the GCC states last year to cooperate in preventing a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy against the GCC governments.
He accused these groups of ‘not believing in statehood or sovereignty’.
The UAE has arrested a number of people affiliated to Brotherhood and accused them of plotting to overthrow the government.
Dhahi Khalfan, Dubai Police Commander, has repeatedly said the Brotherhood has global plans against the GCC states.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE arrested organised groups who were planning to carry out activities against the security of both countries and other sister countries.
These developments show that the GCC must stand united to face threats against their security and citizens should not be influenced by ideology that could draw them to sectarianism and damage their national and social fabric.
The Gulf governments must also launch measures for the benefit of their people and focus on citizenship issues. We must all work together to ensure the security and stability of our region.