By Saagar Enjeti
Sunday, 2 April 2017
The Islamic Republic of Iran is supplying weapons to terrorist groups in Bahrain to destabilize the government and target U.S. troops, the Washington Post reports.
U.S. and European investigators have increasingly found advanced explosive technology among Bahraini terrorists that they believe was supplied by Iran. Bahrain is a majority-Shiite country, ruled by a Sunni family. The country has been roiled by domestic political turmoil since the governments crackdown on the majority-Shiite opposition, some of whom are backed by Iran.
Bahrain is also home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet and thousands of U.S. naval personnel. “We are seeing more evidence of an Iranian destabilization effort,” a U.S. intelligence official told WaPo. The Department of State also believes Iran is providing weapons, training, and funding to Bahraini militants in a possible effort to target U.S. personnel.
A U.S. review of seized explosives reveal Iranian markings on explosives, technology, and other materials that could be used to construct large improvised explosive devices (IEDs). “This dramatically upgrades Bahraini terrorist capabilities to conduct more lethal and effective attacks,” the report said. These particularly strong IEDs could even be used to “inflict grave damage to U.S. forces and facilities.”
Iran’s supply of advanced IED technology to Bahraini militants fits with its overall pattern to undermine the U.S. and its allies in the region. Iran supplied similar technology to shiite militias during the U.S. mission in Iraq which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. soldiers.
“I know the total number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that were killed by Iranian activities, and the number has been recently quoted as about 500,” Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress in 2015.