Bahrain is reported to be planning to throw out thousands of Lebanese Shiites on suspicion of links to Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, based on American, French and Bahraini intelligence suggesting that those groups are coordinating the protests against the regime.
Ninety Lebanese Shiites arrested during the recent crackdown on protesters will be deported immediately, and the Bahraini government is “examining the status” of 4,000 more resident Lebanese families. Diplomatic sources quote high-ranking Bahraini officials as saying, “No Lebanese Shiite linked to or suspected of being associated with Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards will remain in the Gulf.”
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah recently offered unspecified assistance to protesters attempting to bring down the Sunni leadership in Bahrain, prompting Bahraini FM Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization and submit a formal complaint to the Lebanese government. Bahrain has also withdrawn its diplomats from Teheran and suspended all flights to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.
During the speech that caused all the tumult, Nasrallah criticized those Arab states that backed the Bahraini government against the protesters, a direct reference to Saudi Arabia (which is nervous already). He also made the point that the head of the Bahraini opposition, Hassan Mushaimaa (now under arrest), stopped in Beirut before returning to Bahrain from his London exile. After his arrival in Bahrain, Mushaimaa altered the protesters’ message from advocacy of a constitutional monarchy to a demand for the overthrow of the ruling Al Khalifa family.