Testimony of Walid Maalouf
Former US Public Delegate to the UN
Former Director Public Diplomacy USAID
The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
House of Representatives (112th Congress)
Washington, DC 20515
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Thank you for the opportunity to present my point of view of the situation in Bahrain in a written statement for the record to be included in the upcoming hearing on Wednesday, August 1. I strongly believe that the security developments in Bahrain are very much affected by the regional conflict between Iran and its Middle Eastern allies (Assad's Syria and Hezbollah) and those nations of the Arab world that are allied with the West, particularly the United States of America. Therefore, as the Syrian internal conflict continues to escalate, and, if the Assad regime collapses by the force of the free Syrian Army and its allies, Bahrain's security and stability will be further jeopardized by the Shiaa community which is been used by Iran and Hezbollah to destabilize the GCC countries.
Retaliation against Bahrain and Lebanon: Hezbollah, as an extension of Iran, is fully capable of immediately creating instability in Bahrain and Lebanon as retaliation for the fallout of Assad. Facts of the relationship between the so-called opposition in Bahrain and Hezbollah:
- 1. Al Wefaq's Islamic Party leader, Ali Salman, meeting with Hezbollah's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. This meeting was broadcast on Hezbollah's pro-Iran propaganda channel Al Manar TV, and showcases the close relationship between Al Wefaq's Islamic Party and Hezbollah. Hezbollah leader Nasrallah praised the importance of solidarity between the two groups.
- 2. In March 2011, Mr. Hassan Nasrallah offered material support to the Bahraini opposition in a nationally televised speech.
- 3. Bahraini youth are seen receiving Al Qaeda and Hezbollah-style training. They crawl under barbed wire and walk in a paramilitary fashion. The fire and explosions heard are to highlight the mujahedeen fearlessness; they want to prove that they are unstoppable and can overcome any challenge. It shows their readiness to fight and die.
- 4. According to a confidential Bahraini Government Report submitted to the United Nations, specific evidence was presented linking Bahraini citizens to Hezbollah training camps in Syria.
- 5. In April 2011, Bahrain expelled 20 Lebanese citizens with known associations to Hezbollah.
- 6. The leader of Hezbollah supports the dictatorship regime in Syria against the will of the people who are seeking better governance and a more democratically established constitution. At the same time, he supports the Bahrain Shiaa community's riots against the government of Bahrain.
- 7. There are constant diplomatic conflicts between the government of Bahrain and the government of Lebanon regarding Hezbollah and some Lebanese citizens living in Manama.
What has been happening in Bahrain it is not even close to the Arab Spring. The destabilization of Bahrain as a small country, a peaceful country, a diverse country and a strong ally of the United States with its US 5th fleet just a few kilometers from Iran in the Bahrain territory is a political move by Iran and its proxy army of Hezbollah using the Bahraini Shiaa community to bring chaos and unrest to the GCC countries. Exactly like Lebanon, a small country, a peaceful country, a diverse country in which Hezbollah is ready for a military takeover at the appropriate moment. We thought, Lebanese and Bahrainis, that Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah's arsenal is to take on Israel; but it appears that he is taking on Lebanon and Bahrain.