Iran Is No Threat to Bahrain


When the people in the Bahraini Sheikdom started demanding democratic change, some defended the monarchy, by interjecting a fear factor that Iran was behind the demonstrators. Iran however is not involved, and the world should not be fooled into thinking so. While it is true Bahrain has an old history with Persia (Iran), today, there is no realistic Iranian intervention on the horizon.

Iran and Bahrain are neighboring states in the Persian Gulf. The relatively large state of Iran is on one side of the water body, and the small island-nation of Bahrain is on the other.

Iran first fought for Bahrain, during the Persian-Portuguese War (1507-1622), when Portugal invaded the island and started an occupation (1521). Iran was determined to drive the European intruders from the Persian Gulf, and after 81 years, they did so (1602). They then occupied Bahrain for 180 years, until the current royal family seized control (1782). A British Protectorate was later superimposed upon the Bahraini government (1868).

As Britain was considering Bahraini freedom (1968), the Shah of Iran asserted a right to the island, based on the Persian presence in the colonial years. Iran soon however dropped their claim (1970), as 99% of the UN said Bahrain should become a free state. Since Bahraini independence (1971), Iran has made no further claim.

While democratic majority rule in Bahrain would bring down the Sunni ruling family, because the people are 50% Shiite, and only 40% Sunni, some jump to the conclusion the island would be controlled by Iran, since it is 89% Shiite. That sort of reasoning was used in 1960 against John Kennedy, when some argued, since he was Catholic, he would be controlled by the Pope in Rome.

The best predictor of what would actually happen in the region is to look at the Bahrain history of 103 years of British rule, and the presence of the U.S. 5th Fleet for the past 40 years. While Bahrain has allowed years of western influence, Iran has never welcomed a colonial power. Moreover, since Iran is ethnically Persian, and Bahrainis are Arab (73%), it not at all likely the Arabs will allow the Persians to rule them.

We should unconditionally support democracy for Bahrain, and ignore the bogeyman theory that Iran has been pulling the strings.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s