08:55 GMT25 January 2021
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    Bahraini Attorney General Ahmad al-Hamadi charged nearly 170 people on Tuesday over allegations they were trying to form a Hezbollah branch in the kingdom.

    One hundred and eleven people have been detained, while 169 are facing charges for "forming a terrorist organization" with the help of Iranian intelligence.

    Bahraini authorities have blamed Iran for backing the "Bahrain Hezbollah" group, and Hamadi said some of the defendants were trained in Iran to use weapons and explosives.

    Hezbollah, which gained international notoriety when it helped beat back Israel after that country invaded Lebanon in 2006 and more recently for its role in securing a victory for Bashar Assad's government of Syria, is potentially the best trained and armed non-state group in the world. But, as The Times of Israel notes, analysts are doubtful of Iranian and Hezbollah involvement in Bahrain, as the weapons used to conduct violence in the country are typically of a shoddy and makeshift nature including the throwing of stones, "firebombs at police patrols or planting crude pipe bombs."

    Bahrain's Sunni monarchy has experienced mostly small-scale but persistent unrest since the Arab Spring protests in 2011, when the country's majority-Shia population was brutally suppressed as it took to the streets to call for a prime minister and constitution. Shia leaders in the country have been banned from government and imprisoned.

    Earlier in September, when the US State Department accused Iran of being the world's leader in state sponsorship of terrorism, America claimed that Iran was trying to foment violence in Bahrain, among other countries in the Middle East. 

    In Bahrain, "the United States is supporting a dictatorship that has crushed the popular will," Professor Mohammad Marandi at the University of Tehran told Sputnik News at the time. "The Saudis, in order to prevent the fall of the regime and the family dictatorship, they occupy the country."

    "It's obvious who is carrying out terror, who is shooting people in the streets, who is killing protesters, who is murdering people under torture: the Bahraini regime with the Saudi regime and the United States backing them," Marandi said.


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