Peninsula Shield Force to Sue News channels
Manama, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Command of the Peninsula Shield forces that are presently based in Bahrain has disclosed its intention to sue a number of satellite TV channels for propagating lies and allegations about the Peninsula Shield forces that entered Bahrain in line with the census reached at the Gulf Cooperation Council’s resolution on the matter.
This followed persistent claims by these channels about the Gulf forces strafing demonstrators by warplanes and destroying mosques, despite assurances by those responsible for the forces that their entrance into Bahrain was intended to secure its borders against any aggression or foreign intervention and to confront any related emergency circumstances.
Staff General Mutlaq bin Salem Al-Azima, commander of the Peninsula Shield forces, told Asharq Al-Awsat exclusively that, “The facts on the ground, the conclusive evidence, and all the concerned organizations have proved the truth of what we said about our mission in the Kingdom of Bahrain and denied what is being said on the satellite channels of animosity, falsifications, and sectarianism that are circulating lies about the Peninsula Shield. We shall act to sue them and those who stand behind them. We have taken the initial steps to do so. As to our presence, we are working in our States at present and we are not present only in Bahrain now but also in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. We are working at the orders of our commanders and we need no permission from anyone to operate or be present in our homelands, neither do we expect a welcome from whoever does not like us, and we do not need their welcome. The love of our indigenous people and their welcome is enough for us”.
The suit the Peninsula Shield forces are preparing relates to what these channels have reported regarding the Peninsula Shield forces having killed and strafed demonstrators by use of military jets and that consequently a number of mosques were destroyed, along with other charges that are still being circulated by these channels.
Al-Azima pointed out that all such reports and charges are false and based on the lies that these channels disseminate. He said the Peninsula Shield forces did not interfere in the internal affairs of Bahrain in any way, did not harm any citizen whoever he may be, and were not present in the first place within the cities or the populated areas. He said that the Peninsula Shield undertakes tasks that concern deterring any foreign interference or aggression and defending strategic establishments and locations while the Bahrain forces are preoccupied with restoring security, order and stability in the country.
Concerning the insistence on continuing this malicious campaign, Al-Azima said: “The security that we are living and the development whose wheel is turning in the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] member States anger the envious, bothering them and embarrassing them before their peoples. This is the explanation for this incitement and for concocting the charges. As for us in the Peninsula Shield forces, and in the forces of all the GCC States, we have our special characteristic which is that we exercise military professionalism within the framework of the teachings of our sacred religion and our genuine values. No military commander or any high-ranking officer can direct a word which carries the least insult to the lowest rank in the military, and therefore we have lived and live with dignity and pride”.
He added: “Even when it comes to our enemies, we fight them in a manly manner and we respect their humanity. This happened when we fought to liberate Kuwait when the brethren Iraqis chose to turn themselves in to the sons of the GCC States because they knew that we treat them in a manner that safeguards their dignity. So is it logical that he who respects those who fight him would harm the sons of his homeland? That is not possible, even though we have been very tough and tenacious in war throughout our history”.
On the latest incidents that Bahrain witnessed during which the demonstrations and protests reached the commercial malls and markets, General Al-Azima said: “The Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the impregnable castles of the GCC. It possesses a disciplined security force, a strong army, and a loyal people of integrity. Wisdom and patience are what characterizes strong regimes that have faith in God, like the leadership in Bahrain which by God’s help will not be anything but Arab, Gulf, and Khalifa as long as their cousins in the [Arabian] Peninsula and the Gulf remain. As to the regimes that crush their peoples under their tanks, these are the scared, worried regimes which are supported by no one but the satellite channels that carry a strange contradiction and a state of ethical schizophrenia when they tirelessly pile non-stop lies and falsehoods against the Peninsula Shield forces. At the same time, they support and justify the slaughter of the Muslims in another part of the Arab world. This indeed is a strange contradiction”.
Concerning the continuity of the presence of the Peninsula Shield forces in Bahrain, he said: “The advance command in Bahrain is staying, and we are ready to open other commands in other GCC States in line with developments of the situation and what is needed. As to military cooperation, this is proceeding with studied steps and in a manner that ensures the security of our homelands and does not harm our neighbours. We hope that the rivalry and the race in our region would be in the number of universities and scientific, health and development centres, not in the number of rockets and instruments of destruction. We should suffice with what is needed to defend our homelands and our gains”.
The Peninsula Shield forces entered Bahrain last March at the invitation of the Bahrain Monarch whose country is a founding member of that force and is consequently entitled to enlist its help to bolster its defences and deter any outside interference. The decision was taken because of preoccupation with domestic affairs to the backdrop of the disturbances that Bahrain witnessed since last February, leading to tensions and to undermining security in the country.
Media outlets have often claimed interference by the Peninsula Shield forces in the internal affairs of Bahrain and their confrontation of the demonstrators with arms. The Peninsula Shield forces have always denied this, stressing that their mission was restricted to defending vital establishments and to protecting Bahrain against any foreign aggression.