Bahrain: Anti-govt protests ‘a coup’

The commander-in-chief of the Bahrain Defence Force said that at least 22 NGOs have been plotting against Bahrain.

Manama: The commander-in-chief of the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) has claimed that a coup was attempted on the government on the first anniversary of anti-government protests.

Gulf News quoted Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, as saying in an interview with local Arabic daily Al Ayam, that at least 22 NGOs have been plotting against Bahrain.

“Nineteen of them are based in the US and three in a Gulf country,” he said, without naming the Gulf state.

“They are all operated, funded and trained by the US and the Gulf country. When we confronted officials from both countries with facts and information that we have gathered lately, they distanced themselves from them, claiming they were civil society organisations,” he said.

According to the senior military commander, the media onslaught on Bahrain had been planned for a long time.

He also said that the conspiracy against Bahrain was not confined to the NGOs.

“There are other countries that mobilised their media, embassies, agents and fifth columns in the Gulf. It was not easy and we are still recuperating. We need time to acquire more experience before we confront them through the media,” Shaikh Khalifa said.

He added that: “There are seven countries that have been assuming various roles to put pressure on Bahrain through imposing bans on the sale of security and defence equipment that could be used by the anti-riots police.”

“They are the US, Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium. The ban is still in place, but it had no effect on Bahrain because we knew how to handle it and we diversified the sources of our equipment,” the field marshal added.

Shaikh Khalifa said that the acts of sabotage that have hit Bahrain did not pose any security threats.