Bahrain Opposes UN Resolution Condemning Hamas, Denounces Hezbollah — on Same Day
In what may well turn out to be a first for an Arab country, the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain publicly opposed a UN vote to condemn Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group, while publicly supporting an Israeli military operation against Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group — all on the same day.
While the US-sponsored resolution at the UN General Assembly on Thursday condemning Hamas won a historic 87 votes in favor, Bahrain was among the 57 countries to vote against it. That in itself was not unexpected, as all of the Arab and most of the Muslim member states — including those with burgeoning behind-the-scenes ties with Israel, like Oman and the United Arab Emirates — opposed the US draft.
But what did raise eyebrows was the tweet issued earlier in the day by Bahrain’s foreign minister that denounced Hezbollah — Iran’s Shi’a proxy in Lebanon — as a “terrorist” organization.
أليس قيام حزب الله الإرهابي بحفر الإنفاق عبر حدود لبنان هو تهديد صريح لاستقرار لبنان وهو شريك الحكم فيه ؟ من يتحمل المسؤولية حين تأخذ الدول المجاورة على عاتقها مهمة التخلص من هذا الخطر الذي يهددها ؟
— خالد بن أحمد (@khalidalkhalifa) December 6, 2018
“Is it not Hezbollah’s terrorist campaign to dig tunnels across Lebanon’s borders that is an explicit threat to Lebanon’s stability?” wrote Khalid al-Khalifa on his Twitter feed, in a reference to Israel’s “Operation Northern Shield,” launched this week, to destroy Hezbollah’s tunnel network.
“Who bears responsibility when neighboring countries (ie. Israel) take on the task of getting rid of this threat?” Bahrain’s top diplomat pointedly asked.
In contrast, the US-backed resolution condemning Hamas — like Hezbollah, an ally of Bahrain’s arch-foe, the Iranian regime — did not describe the Palestinian organization as a “terrorist” group, but simply deplored its repeated firing of missiles into Israel, as well as its stubborn refusal to reconcile with the West Bank-headquartered Palestinian Authority — another policy supported by Bahrain.
Notably, two countries with Muslim-majority populations — Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina — voted in favor of the resolution.
Russia, which has heralded its closer ties with Israel in recent years, nevertheless joined those countries who voted against.