Bahrain preparing for
a U.S.-Iran war

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

ABU DHABI Bahrain has reported preparations for a war between Iran and the United States.

Bahraini officials said the Gulf Arab kingdom has been working with Western allies to protect strategic sites from Iranian missile strikes amid any war with the United States. They said Bahrain has been introducing measures to protect against Iranian infiltration and respond rapidly to any missile or insurgency strike.

On April 25, Al Khalifa was quoted as telling the official Bahrain News Agency that the kingdom established a committee to plan for war, Middle East Newsline reported. He said the panel would prepare for emergency supplies and strategic facility protection.

"We at the Interior Ministry have made plans to deal with the possible threats," Bahraini Interior Minister Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said.

Al Khalifa said he hoped that Iran would not be attacked. At the same time, the interior minister said Bahrain applied for membership of the International Atomic Energy Agency in an effort to acquire early warning of a nuclear threat.

In late April, Bahrain and the United States conducted the largest emergency response exercise in the Gulf Cooperation Council state. The exercise envisioned an Iranian missile strike on the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which contains about 3,000 sailors and Defense Department staffers.

Later, Manama hosted a four-day seminar on maritime security in an effort to ensure regional planning. More than 60 representatives from the six GCC states as well as Britain, the United States, Iran, Pakistan and Yemen attended.

"There is no such thing as purely internal security anymore," Al Khalifa said. "All security is a global issue. There has never been a time when cooperation has been more important in this area. We all need to work together to find ways of making our countries more secure." Meanwhile, the Bush administration is seeking to reassure the Gulf states of the U.S. commitment to the region.

Vice President Richard Cheney's trip to the region is meant to reaffirm U.S. commitment to Gulf and Arab security.

Cheney plans to meet UAE President Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Saudi King Abdullah, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah. Officials said the trip was decided in late April amid tension with the Saudi leadership.

Officials said the vice president's trip would be to clarify issues with Riyad amid the kingdom's increasing cooperation with Iran. They said American relations with Saudi Arabia have been strained, highlighted by the king's calling the U.S. military presence in Iraq a "foreign occupation."

"I'll let the vice president and the Saudis have their conversations privately, and to the extent that he wants to read those out, I'm sure he'll provide information to you," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on May 4.

Copyright 2007 East West Services, Inc.

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