For some time, regional and international efforts to find a comprehensive political solution to Yemen crisis have been stepped up, and even reports talk about tangible results from the negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Ansarullah. However, sporadic and occasional clashes on the border with Saudi Arabia still occur, and sometimes they leave casualties. Meanwhile, what has captivated the attention over the past few days is the death and injuries of a number of Bahraini military forces that is unprecedented in the past months. Confirming the reports, Bahrain Defense Ministry said that a soldier wounded in clashes in border city of Jizan died of injuries on Saturday.
Last week, Bahrain accused Ansarullah resistance movement of attacking by drone the positions of Bahraini forces participating in the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen, leading to death of 3, including a high-ranking officer. With the Saturday death report, the total number of the Bahrain army’s dead personnel in a week in Yemen reached 4.
After this claim, the Sputnik news agency, quoting a security source in the National Salvation Government (NSG) of Yemen, reported that Sana’a had no role in this alleged attack, and it is possible that during Yemen’s negotiations with Saudi Arabia, a third party such as the US or another Arab country carried out the attack to damage the talks.
Over the past decade, Bahrain has shown that it is obedient to the orders of Saudi Arabia in its foreign policy and has followed every action of Riyadh in the region. When Saudi Arabia waged war on Yemen, Bahrain immediately supported the Saudi-led coalition and published official and political positions on the importance of the military campaign against Ansarullah from the first hours of the Operation Decisive Storm.
Bahraini official news agency, citing an official source in the Bahrain military, reported that a squadron of 12 warplanes belonging to the Royal Bahraini Air Force participated in the Saudi campaign in Yemen. This Bahraini source said that this was a “commitment to collective efforts” to maintain the national security of the member states of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council. Although no figures about the number of the Bahraini forces participating in Yemen war have not been published, documents from 9 years war show that Bahrain deployed hundreds of troops and officers for fighting alongside Emirati and Saudi forces and mercenaries.
Also, in October 2015, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa reported participation of two of his sons, Naser and Khaled, in the two Arab coalition’s mission. Images published by the country’s news agency showed them on the battlegrounds.
After the start of war in Yemen, Ahmad bin Ibrahim Al-Molla, speaker of Bahraini parliament, claimed that the Operation Decisive Storm was a “decisive response to the Houthis who have acted against Yemen’s military and political legitimacy and a clear message to Iran’s occupation and expansionist plans and interference in the affairs of Yemen.”
Bahraini rulers have always looked at Yemen war like a war of theirs and therefore they look at the mercenaries sent to Yemen as fighters of the homeland. Bahraini king’s son Naser in August 2015 in a visit to the solders injured in the fighting said that in revenge to death of any Yemeni soldier, five Yemenis should be killed. In August 2017, he made a magnificent reception ceremony for forces coming home from Yemen fronts.
The subservience of Al Khalifa to the Saudis comes as some coalition countries including Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan, and even the UAE distanced themselves from the battle after failure of the coalition to meet its goals. But Bahrain is still standing by the Saudis and has not intention of exit from Yemen yet.
Al Khalifa returns Saudi favor
Al Khalifa owes their throne to the military supports of the Saudis in 2011, the year Riyadh sent thousands of forces to Bahrain under Peninsula Shield Forces to quell a popular revolution in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom. So, after relative restoration of calm, Bahrain tried to return the favor of the Saudi masters with participation in the war. As official Bahraini news agency cited defense ministry, the deployment of military support to Yemen was within the Peninsula Shield agreement.
The Peninsula Shield is intended to prevent and respond to military aggression against each of the member states of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, and in the Yemen war, the Arab countries of the region declared Ansarullah’s rise to power as a threat to their security, and with this excuse, they waged a cruel war against the Yemenis.
The country has so far sustained heavy losses in the war against the Yemenis. Although there is no precise figure of their human and financial losses, according to reports, in August 2015, following a missile attack on a military base in Ma’rib province, 4 Bahraini and 45 Emirati troops were killed. Also, a Bahraini fighter jet in December 30 of the same year was shot down in Yemen.
Bahraini people stand with Yemeni people
As much as Al-Khalifa supports the Saudi aggression that kills Yemenis, the people of Bahrain have also supported the oppressed nation of Yemen and in recent years have repeatedly expressed their anger at the crimes of the Saudis and their allies in Yemen. The Bahraini public, who have been struggling against Al-Khalifa for 12 years, use every opportunity to voice their opposition to the policies of this regime, and the war in Yemen is no exception.
Since the day one of the war, Bahrainis took to the streets and protested the aggression. The rallies continued for several consecutive days. At the time, the Twitter page of the king’s son, Khaled, was hacked and hackers posted: “Picnic is over. God, please grant victory to Yemen over its enemies and occupiers.”
Haq Movement of Bahrain at the time asserted the need for breaking the silence with expanding the protests that condemn the Saudi and American aggression against the Yemenis. A statement released by the Bahraini opposition condemned the Al-Khalifa regime’s participation in the coalition against Yemen and said that this regime itself lacked legitimacy.
Also, thousands of Bahraini people in January 2021 protested the war and siege of the Yemeni people and highlighted the right of the Yemeni people to defend themselves and the sovereignty of their country. In October 2021, a large number of Bahrainis expressed their opposition to the war against Yemen in a demonstration despite the strong crackdown from their rulers.
Over the past three years, the Bahrainis over and over held protest gatherings to condemn the normalization with the Israeli regime. They continue this their protests despite iron clad clampdown in place by the government. Being of the world’s most despotic regime’s, Al Khalifa regime is among the lowest in the human rights organizations’ rankings when it comes to global standards, drawing criticism of the UN and Western rights groups.
According to the figures, Al Khalifa prisons hold over 5,000 political prisoners, with conditions of over 2,000 of them reported deplorable and hundreds are held in custody without any charges and any arraignment. According to reports recently published by rights activists and organizations, a large number of Bahraini political prisoners under psychological pressures have gone ill and are facing a slow death. Providing proper food and health services are the basic rights of the prisoners. However, Bahraini prisoners whose only guilt is opposition to the dictatorship are deprived of the basic services, something running counter to the principles and conventions protecting rights of prisoners.