Bahrain state TV accuses Qatar of attempting to overthrown Manama regime
Bahrain’s state television accused Qatar of attempting to overthrow the Manama-based regime in 2011, as the Saudi-led Gulf bloc continues their attacks on Doha.
Wednesday’s report accused Qatar – which has denied to allegations – of being behind anti-government protests in 2011, which were later suppressed by Bahraini police and a Saudi-led GCC military intervention force.
It claimed that Qatar’s former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani was in contact with Ali Salman, the leader of al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest opposition group which was later banned by Manama.
He allegedly asked Salman to encourage supporters to take to the streets and pressure the government.
Salman was jailed in 2014, while the al-Wefaq party was dissolved by the government, with scores of supporters and protesters arrested, tortured or killed after 2011.
A court order, carried by state news agency BNA, said attorney general Ali al-Bouainen had launched an investigation into a series of phone calls.
Salman and Sheikh Hamad reportedly agreed to “work together to escalate unrest so as to harm the interests of the nation and undermine its stability, which are tantamount to the crime of communicating with a foreign state with the intention of harming national interests”.
Bahrain’s Information Minister Ali al-Rumaihi said this showed “Qatari conspiracy” against Bahrain.
Gulf states have accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups and being allied to Iran, which supported the Shia-led protests in Bahrain.
It announced a blockade on Qatar in an attempt to force Doha to submit to a list of demands.
Qatar said these demands infringed on the country’s sovereignty.
Bahrain has a history of disputes with Qatar over Gulf islands and reefs.
Bahrain witnessed mass protests in 2011 by Bahrainis demanding an elected government.
Many of the anti-government demonstrators were from Bahrain’s Shia-majority who have long complained of persecution by the Sunni-monarchy.
Bahrain has also accused Iran of stoking tensions and supporting Shia militant groups.