Shirazi-Movement 39ivptyh

After the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, Bahraini Shia militants became even more active, hijacking religious processions and public events, with the aim of furthering their agenda of an Islamic republic in Bahrain.

Iran’s revolutionary government adopted the policy of “spreading the Islamic revolution” and through its “Office of the Liberation Movements” in Tehran, revolutionary groups across the Arabian Gulf and Middle East region received generous funding.

The Shirazi Movement in Bahrain through its various front organizations and under the guidance of Hadi al-Mudarrisi was the most active segment of the Shia community which had adopted these revolutionary objectives. As a result of his subversive activities, Al-Mudarrisi was exiled. 

Announcing the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain

On the 2 of September, 1979 Hadi al-Mudarrisi held a press conference from Tehran announcing the formation of the “Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain”. According to Al-Mudarrisi, the Islamic Front wished to overthrow the ruling regime in Bahrain and replace it with an Islamic Republic.

The “Islamic Front” was a new name, but the institutional and ideological framework of the Islamic Front were already several years in the making, through clandestine efforts of figures like Hadi al-Mudarrisi, Mohammed al-Mahfouz, Jaafar al-Alawi and Mohammed al-Alawi.

So the Islamic Front emerged from pre-existing groups that had been active in Bahrain throughout the 1970s, like the Social Hussaini Fund,the Islamic Action Organization and the Islamic Guidance Society.

Islamic Front aims and ideology

The Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain’s Iranian inspiration, affiliations and support were obvious. The IFLB’s aims for Islamic Revolution were transparently Iran-inspired and it took its spiritual leadership from Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Shirazi; hence, those associated with the Islamic Front became known as the “Shirazi” faction.

Iran supported the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain and its Tehran office was very active, producing many publications which promoted the Islamic Front and Iran’s philosophy.

The activist Issa Marhoun stated: “We believe that the popular revolution is the best choice, and it is the best and quickest road by which to overthrow the reactionary regime in Bahrain.”

Iran’s influence was further obvious in the Islamic Front’s call for the “unification of all Islamic forces in the Gulf”. The Front stated that its aim was the “uprising of all Muslims under Imam Khomeini”.

In addition to heading the Islamic Front, Hadi al-Mudarrisi served as Khomeini’s “personal representative” in Bahrain.

The “Islamic Revolution Organization to Liberate the Arabian Peninsula,” in Saudi Arabia held the similar objectives to the Islamic Front and was just one of the many entities in the Gulf at that time, funded and directed by Iran.

As we shall see; it was only as the Iran-Iraq war increased in intensity in the early 1980s that Iran sought to fully exploit the potential strategic impact of these revolutionary movements to try and change the course of this regional war.

 

Origins of the Bahrain opposition: Other sections

Part 1

A major divide within Shia Islam: Al-Da’wah and the Shirazis

Al-Da’wah and the Shirazis in Bahrain

Part 2

The Da’wah current in Iraq

The Da’wah current in Bahrain

Why do Al-Da’wah & the Islamic Enlightenment society matter?

Part 3

Origins of the Shirazi current in Bahrain

Consolidation and radicalization of the Shirazis

Differences between the Da’wah & Shirazi factions in Bahrain

Part 4

Beginnings of labour activism and civil society movements

1953-56 unrest and the Higher Executive Committee

Emergence of left-wing, Marxist and Baathist parties

Whatever happened to Bahrain’s left-wing?

Part 5

Who were the People’s Bloc?

Who were the Religious Bloc?

Part 6

Religious Bloc versus the People’s Bloc in the National Assembly

Eclipse of the left

Part 7

Politicization of Bahraini Shia

The influence of political Islam movements elsewhere

The influence of Ayatollah Khomeini

Politicization of religious festivals

Part 8

The radicalizing influence of Iran’s Islamic revolution

Growing Shirazi radicalism

Exporting Iran’s Islamic Revolution

Part 9

Al-Da’wah contacts with Iran’s revolutionary leadership

Changing Iranian allegiances

Part 10

Saudi oppositionist movements

Part 11

Announcing the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain

Islamic Front aims and ideology

Part 12

1981 coup attempt by Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain

Part 13

Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain after the failed coup

The Shirazi movement loses favour in Iran

Declining influence: The Islamic front in the 1990s

Part 14

Iranian support for Bahrain’s Al-Da’wah movement

Moving into the Iranian ideological orbit

Part 15

What is Welayat Al-Faqih?

Breaking with Shia quietism

Ayatollah Isa Qassim and Welayat Al-Faqih

Part 16

A new generation of Shia clerics

Hezbollah in Bahrain

 

 

Major references

(Additional specific references can be found as hyperlinks within the text)

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Husain M.Albaharna, 1968:The Legal Status of the Arabian Gulf States: A Study of Their Treaty Relations & International Problems; Manchester University Press

AliAlfoneh, 2012:Between reform and revolution: Sheikh Qassim, the Bahraini Shi’a, and Iran

Nazih N.Ayubi, 2001: Overstating the Arab State; Tauris

CharlesBelgrave, 1960 Personal Column; Hutchinson

JuanCole, 1987;Rival Empires of Trade and Imami Shiism in Eastern Arabia, 1300-1800; International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2

DavidCommins, 2012:The Gulf States: A Modern History; Tauris

EuropaPublications, 2003Political Chronology of the Middle East; Routledge

ThomasFibiger:The role of shrines among Shi’a Muslims in Bahrain; University of Aarhus

F. GregoryGause, 2009:International Relations of the Persian Gulf; Cambridge

AnissaHaddadi, 2012:Bahrain Uncovered: Divided Political Landscape

Bashar al-Hadi, 2013: Al-judhur al-ta’rikhiyah li-sukan al-bahrain

Bashar al-Hadi, 2005: Ulema’ wa adiba’ al-bahrain; Bait al-Bahrain lil-Darasat wal-Tawthiq

Khair El-DinHaseeb ed. 1998: Arab-Iranian relations: Centre for Arab unity studies

Mohammed GharibHatim, 1997: Ta’arikh arab al-hawala; Al-Maktaba al-Wataniya

CliveHoles, 1987:Language Variation and Change in a Modernising Arab State: The Case of Bahrain

CliveHoles, 2001:Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia; Brill

TimothyInsoll, 2007: Changing identities in the Arabian Gulf:The Archaeology of Identities: A Reader; Routledge

FalehJabar, 2003: Shi’ite Movement in Iraq,Saqi

Mansour al-Jamri, 2010:Shia & the State in Bahrain; Integration & Tension

Mohammad Khalid A. Al-Jassar, 2009Constancy and Change in Contemporary Kuwait City; Proquest

MiriamJoyce, 2012:Bahrain from the twentieth century to the Arab Spring: Palgrave Macmillan

AbdulhadiKhalaf, 1998:Contentious politics in Bahrain: From ethnic to national and vice versa

Abdullah Ibn Khalid AlKhalifa; Michael Rice; 1993; Bahrain through the ages: the history; Kegan Paul International

FuadKhouri, 1980:Tribe and State in Bahrain, University of Chicago Press

JaneKinninmont, 2012:Bahrain: Beyond the Impasse

LaurenceLouer, 2008: Transnational Shia Politics; Columbia University Press

LaurenceLouer,Political Impact of Labor Migration in Bahrain; Centre for International Studies and Research

Abdul-Hameed Salem al-Mahadin, 2007: Min dhakirat al-bahrain; Al-Markaz al-Arabiya lil-Dirasat wal-Nashr

Dr ChristinMarschall, 2003:Iran’s Persian Gulf Policy: From Khomeini to Khatami; Routledge

TobyMatthiesen, 2009:Hizbullah al-Hijaz: A History of The Most Radical Saudi Shi‘a Opposition

Group; Middle East Online

EricMcCoy, 2008:Iranians in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates:Migration, Minorities, and Identities in the Persian Gulf Arab States; Proquest

Falah al-Mdaires, 2002:Shiism & Political Protest in Bahrain

Helem ChapinMetz, ed, 1993:Persian Gulf States: A Country Study:The Constitutional Experiment

YitzhakNakash, 2011Reaching for Power: The Shi’a in the Modern Arab World; Princeton University Press

Khaldoun Nassan Al-Naqeeb, 2012:Society and State in the Gulf and Arab Peninsula; Routledge

KatjaNeithammer, 2007:Avenues of Political Participation in Bahrain

Mubarak Al-Otabi, 1989:The Qawasim and British Control of the Arabian Gulf; University of Salford

Lawrence G.Potter, 2009:The Persian Gulf in History; Palgrave Macmillan

Hassan AliRadhi, 2003Judiciary and Arbitration in Bahrain: A Historical and Analytical Study; Brill

Madawi Al-Rasheed, 2005Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf; Psychology Press

Mohammed Ghanim al-Rumaihi, 1973:Social & Political Change in Bahrain Since the First World War; Durham University

Mohammed al-Rumaihi, 1976: Qadaya al-taghayyr al-siyasi wa al-ijtima’I fi-al-bahrain; Al-Wahdah

A Rush, ed, 1991:The Ruling Families of Arabia

Jean-FrancoisSeznec, 2012:Is Reconciliation in Bahrain Possible?Middle East Institute

FredericWehrey, 2013:Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings; Columbia University Press, Dec 13, 2013

ArnoldWilson, 2012:The Persian Gulf(RLE Iran A); Routledge

Dr Amal al-Zayyani: Bahrain; from political independence to international projection

About Muharraqpdf:http://eprints.port.ac.uk/7687/4/Ch-2_AboutMuharraq.pdf

Bahrain Wikileaks:

Guide to Bahrain’s politics

Reform in Bahrain: Mansour al-Jamri (re. Abdulhadi al-Khawaja)

Wafaa: New Shia rejectionist movement

Bahrain’s Shia opposition: Managing sectarian pressures

Some potential new leadersin Al-Wefaq

Bahrain al-Wefaqhails Iran Supreme Leader’s support

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