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Al-Wefaq opposition group: Appointment of Israeli officer attack on Bahrain’s sovereignty

The headquarters of Bahrain's main Shia opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, is seen in the Bilad al-Qadeem district, west of the capital, Manama, Bahrain. (File photo by Reuters)

Bahrain's main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, says appointing a high-ranking Israeli officer in an official position in Bahrain by the Al Khalifah regime is a flagrant “attack” on the sovereignty of the tiny Persian Gulf country.

Bahrain’s foreign ministry, in a statement on Saturday, confirmed media reports that an Israeli officer would be stationed in the tiny Persian Gulf country, which plays host to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, adding that the appointment would be related to the work of what it called an international coalition of more than 34 countries.

The statement further claimed that the coalition's task included securing freedom of navigation in the territorial waters of the region, protecting international trade, and confronting piracy and terrorism.

The al-Wefaq, which is banned by Manama since 2016, strongly lambasted the appointment in a string of posts on its official Twitter account, stressing that it “is a national and political downfall and an attack on Bahrain’s sovereignty.”

It also said, citing “a Zionist news website”, that the Israeli official is a “high-ranking” one who would occupy “an official position in Bahrain.”

“This step is a national and political downfall, and an assault on Bahrain's sovereignty, history and future. It reveals the extent of the grave sovereign violations carried out by the regime,” al-Wefaq said.

In a US-brokered deal, Bahrain normalized its relations with the Israeli regime in mid-September 2020, infuriating Palestinians, who view the deal and the likes with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sudan and Morocco as a betrayal of their cause.

Palestinians seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip with East al-Quds as its capital.

“It has gone even further when it has impulsively manipulated the fate of an entire country by handing over its national sovereignty and all state institutions to the enemies of Arabs and Muslims,” the Bahraini opposition group added.

The normalization deals have been denounced by the people of the region as “treacherous” and sparked protests in the countries that signed them.

The Bahraini regime, which lacks any popular legitimacy, and controls the citizens with oppression and repression, has exercised all suspicious, non-national and hostile roles against the people of Bahrain,” al-Wefaq added.

Since February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis, calling for the Al Khalifah regime to relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.

“The practices of the Bahrain regime have exceeded all limits, and have been exposed to the fullest extent, as it transcends the national constants of the people, and is selling the homeland, in its quest to obtain a fictitious power from the Zionist enemy,” the al-Wefaq went on to say, stressing that such practices would “only increase its isolation, rejection, and discontent at the popular level.”

The al-Wefaq also stressed that "the whole world should know that the regime in Bahrain does not have any popular legitimacy, nor mandate. Hence, these practices do not express the affiliation of this country, but rather the opposite.”

“The whole world should know that the regime's rush into the arms of the enemy, and exacerbating the country through its relations and policies, and placing it under Israeli guardianship, is a heinous and inhuman crime, which the wicked do not practice,” the al-Wefaq added.

It is the first time an Israeli military official is posted to an Arab country. The provocative move was agreed upon during the Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz’s visit to the Persian Gulf region last week.

The Israeli Navy last week began participating in a massive international exercise - the International Maritime Exercise (IMX) - led by the US 5th Fleet, focusing on unmanned naval systems and the use of artificial intelligence

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