Bahrain accused Iran of helping to train rebels: WikiLeaks

Bahrain`s rulers had accused Iranian-backed group Hezbollah and Syria for training the country`s opposition groups in 2008, which was turned by US, according to WikiLeaks cable.

London: Facing mass unrest, Bahrain`s
rulers had accused Iranian-backed group Hizbollah and Syria
for training the country`s opposition groups in 2008, which
was turned by US, according to WikiLeaks cable.

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa told senior American
military figures that besides Iranian backed groups, Syria was
also "complicit" in the training by providing the Bahrainis
with false passports, Daily Telegraph reported quoting leaked
cables.

The Americans held that Shia discontent stemmed
chiefly from poverty and exclusion from sensitive government
positions. The claims were reported in a leaked embassy cable
sent by US diplomats in Bahrain to Washington.

According to the report, King Hamad made the claim in
a 90-minute meeting on July 30, 2008 with General David
Petraeus, who at the time was commander of the allied forces
in Iraq.

A US cable sent on August 13, 2008 said: "King Hamad
related the report that Bahrainis were receiving training from
Hizbollah in Lebanon, but admitted he had no definitive
proof."

He also speculated that the Syrian government was
complicit, and `must be` helping these Bahrainis travel
without passport verification as tourists.

Hizbollah, considred a terrorist organisation by
Washington, is a political party based in Lebanon, although it
is financially backed by Iran and Syria.

Later in a meeting, King Hamad told Gen Pettraeus
that Bahrain, a key US ally, had been urged by Iran to support
its efforts, and those of "Iraqi insurgents, Hamas, Hizbollah
Taliban and Syria to drive American forces from the Gulf".

King Hamad asked Gen Petraeus: "With friends like
these, who needs enemies?" Another leaked communique sent in
February 2008 reported that Iran was blamed by the monarchy
for encouraging discontent among the majority Shia population.
According to the report, the US officials played down
this view.

"There is not convincing evidence of Iranian
involvement here since at least the mid-1990s, Shia discontent
stems chiefly from their lower standard of living, unofficial
exclusion from sensitive government positions, and Sunni
domination of parliament."

PTI

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