Bahrain says it has foiled ‘foreign plot’ against state


MANAMA – Bahrain’s king said a foreign plot against his Sunni-led island state had been foiled, and the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council said interference by Shia Iran in the Gulf Arab states would not be tolerated.
Confrontation between Sunnis and Shias has stirred international tension in the oil-exporting region, gripped by its worst unrest in years.
“An external plot has been fomented for 20 to 30 years until the ground was ripe for subversive designs… I here announce the failure of the plot,” King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was quoted as telling troops in a report by state news agency BNA. Had the plot succeeded, he said, it could have spilled into neighbouring states.
The king thanked troops brought in from fellow Sunni-ruled neighbours to help quell weeks of unrest following protests by mainly Shia Bahrainis calling for political reform.
He did not say who was behind the plot. The comments came after a day of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions between Bahrain and Shia power Iran.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdulrahman al-Attiyah told reporters: “We reject any intervention in our internal affairs and among these countries (intervening) is Iran,” after he was asked about troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates being sent to help the Bahrain government. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television channel quoted Bahrain authorities as saying intelligence communications systems had been sent from Iran to the Bahraini opposition.
MOURNERS ANGRY: An uneasy calm spread through the city as Bahrainis returned to work and there were fewer checkpoints in the streets, though helicopters still buzzed over Shia areas. Shaking their fists and shouting “Down with Al Khalifa”, about 2,000 people joined the fourth funeral procession in as many days for someone whose death during the unrest is blamed by Shia on the authorities.
Waving black and Bahraini flags, mourners gathered in the Shia village of Buri to bury 38-year-old father-of-three Abdulrusul Hajair, found on Sunday apparently beaten to death.
“We want to know the reson for this ugly crime and who is behind it,” said Youssef al-Buri, his cousin.