Bahrain’s foreign minister has a pointed message for President Obama: You’ve denounced Iran’s plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington and warned that Iran “will pay a price.” But what is the U.S. actually going to do about Iran to show that it’s serious?
“We’re asking the U.S. to stand up for its interests and draw the red lines,” Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifa, the Bahraini foreign minister told me. He referred to Iran-sponsored attacks on American forces in Lebanon and Iraq and asked: “How many times have you lost lives, been subject to terrorist activities and yet we haven’t seen any proper response. This is really serious. It’s coming to your shores now.”
Khalifa’s worries about American power echo what you read these days in the Arab press, and hear privately from Arab officials. But the Bahraini official, who’s in Washington this week talking to U.S. officials, was unusually blunt in the interview at his hotel suite.
To underline what he saw as the seriousness of the Iranian threat in the Gulf, Khalifa noted that Bahraini intelligence was familiar with the activities of Ali Gholam Shakuri, a Quds Force operative who was indicted last week for his alleged role in the assassination plot.