Bahrain, a small island country in the Middle East, has become the first Arab nation to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The Bahraini government recognizes that Hezbollah is a major regional security threat that undermines stability within the Middle East region.

The Bahraini government made the decision to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization due to the violence that Hezbollah has been orchestrating against the Bahraini government. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “This is an unprecedented move in the Arab world, which comes after the exposure of terrorist cells and attacks in Bahrain that are attributed to this Lebanese Shiite organization.”

Hezbollah is also backed by Iran and there is evidence that the Iranian regime seeks to change Bahrain from a Sunni-ruled country into to a Shia-ruled country. Bahrain presently has a largely Shia population, but is ruled by a Sunni regime. In fact, one Iranian writer named Hossein Shairatmadara even stated that Bahrain “is part of Iran’s soil, having been separated from it through an illegal conspiracy by American and British governments.”

In an explanation of the Bahraini governments decision, Bahraini MP Adil Asoumi claims that intelligence has been gathered from defected Syrian soldiers, who had previously “trained Bahraini cells, with Hezbollah’s backing, to carry out terrorist operations in the country.” Asoumi claims that Hezbollah is not only a threat to Bahrain but the entire Middle East region, so “we call on our Gulf brethren to confront the terrorist organization to secure Gulf security.” This measure is to “protect Bahrain’s security and stability from Hezbollah’s threats,” the MP added.

The Bahraini government also accuses Hezbollah of murdering innocent civilians in Syria in order to support Assad’s regime and of destabilizing Gulf Cooperation Council member countries, of which Bahrain is only one such country. One Bahraini lawmaker, Sheikh Jassim Al Saeedi, additionally accused Hezbollah of terrorizing “the region” and “spreading evil among us.” Since 2011, the Bahraini government has accused Iran of training insurgents in Lebanon and Iran to topple its government, when the countries’ population led by Shiites began a campaign to topple the Bahraini government.

The labeling of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in Bahrain comes as the European Union is considering taking a similar measure in response to the violence that Hezbollah is orchestrating against the Syrian people. In addition to that, a Cypriot court has convicted a Hezbollah member of plotting to murder Israeli tourists visiting the Mediterranean island. Furthermore, Bulgaria’s interior minister issued a report stating that two Hezbollah members had partaken in the July 2012 Burgas terror attack that resulted in the murder of five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver. Presently, Holland is the only country in the EU that recognizes Hezbollah as a terrorist group, while the UK only recognizes their military wing as such.

By Rachel Avraham