Syrian FM defends deployment of ‘Peninsula Shield’ in Bahrain


In his first official reaction to the deployment Peninsula Shield forces to Bahrain, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper , that these forces are not forces of occupation and they acted within the framework of their  GCC agreement .

“The agreements that established the Peninsula Shield Force between the GCC countries forms the legal basis for the deployment , and the “consent of the Kingdom of Bahrain over the entry of these forces confirms their legitimacy .”

About the possibility that the Syrian position on this issue could adversely affect its relations with Iran , particularly since the latter opposed the deployment of the Peninsula Shield forces in Bahrain, the Syrian minister said : “We are part of the Arab nation and have been working for better relations between Iran and the Arab world. For this reason we have to be very clear about our own position and at the same time respect the Iranian position. ”

He described Syrian relations with Saudi Arabia as “strategic”, stressing that the understanding between President Bashar al-Assad and King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, was the “cornerstone of stability in the region.”

Moallem praised King Abdullah for his positive efforts in calming the situation in Lebanon.

Moallem traveled to Tehran last Thursday to discuss the situation in the region and specially Bahrain

At the request of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates sent about 500 police officers while Saudi Arabia sent about 1000 soldiers .

Hezbollah’s position

Hezbollah’s position over the deployment of the Peninsula Shield forces in Bahrain is like Iran’s .

During a televised speech on Saturday evening Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called the events in Bahrain a “special injustice”. Nasrallah asked whether Arab silence about the repression of protests there is due to sectarian prejudice against the Shiite-majority opposition.

“I ask some in the Arab and Islamic worlds: Why have you remained mum over the tyranny against our people in Bahrain, is it only because they are Shiites?”

He added :

A Bahraini Shiite holds a crossed-out picture of King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa during the funeral of two protesters in the village of Sitra.

” They sent troops to Bahrain to defend a regime which no one is threatening to topple (See photo). The opposition in Bahrain is purely peaceful and yet Arab armies are being summoned to confront it. This is a bizarre paradox.”

Peninsula Shield Force

According to a report by Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper , the Peninsula Shield Force represents the main safeguard against any political unrest or security violations in any GCC member-state.

The Peninsula Shield Force is based on the principle of collective and integrated security and defense, with each GCC member-state pledging to protect and defend the mutual security and interests of GCC member-states, as well as their territory and sovereignty.

The GCC Peninsula Shield Force was established during the third GCC summit held in Manama in 1982, with GCC member-states agreeing to establish a “Peninsula Shield” made up of joint-military forces from GCC member-states.

One of the main objectives behind the establishment of the GCC in 1981 was protection from the threat posed by the Iran – Iraq War, and Iranian inspired Islamist activism.