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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06MANAMA827 2006-05-10 14:33:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manama
Cable title:  

INTERIOR MINISTER DISCUSSES PROPOSED REGIONAL CT

Tags:   PTER ASEC PGOV PHUM BA 
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DE RUEHMK #0827/01 1301433
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 101433Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4688
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 1213
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 0633
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0807
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 1151
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAMA 000827 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/ARPI, S/CT, DS/IP/ITA AND DS/IP/NEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/10/2016
TAGS: PTER ASEC PGOV PHUM BA
SUBJECT: INTERIOR MINISTER DISCUSSES PROPOSED REGIONAL CT
CENTER, IRAN, DOMESTIC DISTURBANCES WITH AMBASSADOR


Classified By: Ambassador William T. Monroe for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) Summary: Minister of Interior Shaikh Rashid told the
Ambassador May 7 that his Ministry would prepare a concept
paper for the proposed Bahrain-based regional
counterterrorism center, which was announced the day before
at the GCC Summit in Riyadh. He said the paper would be
discussed at the GCC Interior Ministers meeting in Abu Dhabi
on May 23. He described recent detonations and attempted
detonations of small explosive devices as limited minor
incidents, except for one attack on a police car, and he
expected several arrests in the coming days. He expressed
continuing concerns about Iranian activities in Bahrain,
alleging that Iranian Ambassadors were recently tasked with
drawing up lists of which Shia in their countries were with
the Iranian government and which were not. A crisis
management team is being established to deal with emergency
situations (presumably a reaction to the recent dhow accident
that left more than 50 dead). End summary.



2. (C) The Ambassador met on May 7 with Minister of Interior
Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa to discuss
security-related issues in Bahrain. The Ambassador began by
asking about news reports that GCC leaders had agreed the day
before to establish a regional counterterrorism center in
Bahrain. This came as a surprise to Bahrain, Shaikh Rashid
said, as it had not been on the agenda. He first learned of
it when the King called him from Riyadh with the news.
Bahrain has now been tasked with developing a concept paper
for the proposed center, which Shaikh Rashid will present to
his GCC counterparts at their May 23 meeting in Abu Dhabi.
Noting that the idea of a regional center had been raised and
discussed before (presumably referring to the Saudi proposal
last year for an international CT center), Shaikh Rashid said
that "fortunately we have done our homework" on this issue
and that he would be prepared for the Abu Dhabi meeting. He
said that the idea is being developed by the GCC, but it will
not be limited to GCC countries and could include other key
countries in the region such as Jordan. He said that
technical support would be needed, but did not think funding
would be required if the concept is approved by the GCC's
wealthier members. This center is separate from Bahrain's
joint counterterorism center, he added.



3. (C) On Iran, Shaikh Rashid expressed continued concern
about the nationalistic rhetoric coming out of Tehran and
wondered why it seemed that every day President Ahmadi-Nejad
was picking a new fight. He said that there was a recent
meeting of Iranian Ambassadors during which the Ambassadors
were tasked with drawing up lists of those Shia in their
country that were with Iran and those that were not. He
alleged that when Iranian NSC Chief Ali Larijani was recently
in Bahrain, he mysteriously gave a small "chip" to the number
two at the Iranian Embassy, and "we want to know what was on
that chip" (presumably implying that it contained a list of
certain Shia in Bahrain). He said that Iranian diplomats
have become more aggressive in seeking support in the Shia
community in Bahrain.



4. (C) The Ambassador asked about the sporadic protests that
have been occurring in Bahrain in recent weeks, as well as
the recent use of small explosive devices, one of which
detonated in Adliya, an area popular with the Embassy and
expatriate community. The Minister replied that the number
of incidents was relatively small, and that the Ministry was
monitoring them closely. He downplayed the significance of
the small explosive devices, which did not seem to be aimed
at doing much more than making news. Of greater concern and
danger was the recent attack on a police car patrolling in a
Shia village, in which molotov cocktails were thrown into the
car. As it turned out, the injured policeman was a
long-serving Shia, who could not believe that this had
happened to him. Shaikh Rashid said that he has been
heartened by the response from the community to these
attacks, as people are starting to speak out against the
attacks and isolate the perpetrators. He stated that arrests
were expected in the coming days as the authorities
strengthened their criminal case. Chief of Public Security
Gen. Zayani added that the Bahraini police had contacted over
150 commercial establishments following the recent incidents
to reiterate the need to immediately notify authorities in
the event suspicious items were found on their premises.


MANAMA 00000827 002 OF 002




5. (C) Shaikh Rashid suggested that there was a link between
these recent incidents of violence and Hassan Al-Musheima,
founder of the Al-Haq movement, a break-away hard-line Shia
group that has opposed participation in this year's
elections. Even if he is not involved directly, he stated,
the violence seems to go down when he is out of the country
and rise up again when he returns. And his son is a leader
of a small group that has instigated violent protests, he
added.



6. (C) The Ambassador asked about press reporting that the
government planned to establish a new crisis management team.
Shaikh Rashid stated the idea of establishing a national
committee for managing an emergency crisis or emergency
situation has been under consideration for some time and
involves an effort to improve all elements of the Ministry of
Interior. The team would be headed by General Zayani who
would report directly to the Minister and it would be
activated in the case of an emergency. As part of this
initiative, over the last several months police officials
from Britain have conducted area assessments and offered
recommendations in developing such a response team that have
included improved training and operational standards within
the Ministry. (Comment: Although the initiative may have been
under consideration for some time, the recent dhow accident
may have highlighted for Bahrain's leadership the need to
improve the country's crisis response capability.)
MONROE