New Manama-Astana Bond

20 April 2014 | 03:50 Code : 1931729 Interview General category
An interview with Dr. Hermidas Bavand, an analyst of international affairs
New Manama-Astana Bond

Three cooperation agreements have been signed between Bahrain and Kazakhstan during the Bahraini King’s visit to this country. Is there the possibility that, under the shadow of the signing of these security cooperation agreements between the two countries, Kazakhstan would be in charge of providing the security and military needs of Bahrain?

In the past, the survival of the Bahrain Sheikhdom depended on the support of Britain. In fact, they owed their existence to Britain’s interests and Britain did not allow Bahrain to remain a part of Iran and pursue its own special interactions and connections. Following the exit of Britain from the region, Saudi Arabia provided the interests of this Sheikhdom.  After the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, the US’ Fifth Fleet came to Bahrain and one of the reasons that the protests in Bahrain were not transformed into a crisis as was the case in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria was the presence of the US’ Fifth Fleet which prevented the expansion of the crisis and marginalized it. At the same time, 30 to 40 percent of the population of Kazakhstan is Russian by origin. If we consider Kazakhstan as a part of Russia’s circle, neither the Russians, who under the present conditions are involved in the crisis in Ukraine, nor Kazakhstan, which does not have a powerful navy and air force, seeks to establish a military base in Bahrain. Kazakhstan’s navy only has two American ships which were given to it by the US as a gift after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Therefore, I do not believe that such a measure would be taken. Of course rumors could have psychological effects.

The experts state that the visits made by the Bahraini officials to Kazakhstan indicate the special attention that the Arab community is paying to the suitable conditions for investment in Kazakhstan. Why should Bahrain choose Kazakhstan for its investment?

Many countries have invested in Kazakhstan. Even the Sultanate of Oman and Norway have invested in this country in the field of energy. Thus, investment has no relation to military and political issues. Right now, the majority of countries invest outside their own countries. For example, the economy of Norway is mainly based on fishing and cattle farming, but when this country gained access to the oil of the North Sea, it invests the income of its oil sales in a country like Kazakhstan and then injects its benefits inside the country. On this ground, Bahrain could also invest in Kazakhstan.

During the last 15 years, relations between Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan have been expanded, which is indicative of the understanding between the two countries. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is influential in Bahrain’s governing structure and some regard the visits made by the King of Bahrain to be along the same line as Saudi Arabia’s demand. Is this a correct analysis?

It is correct from this angle. Saudi Arabia has been able to establish relations with Russia and has purchased arms from this country. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia left the Security Council because of its problems with the US. Its attempt to get closer to Russia was to provoke the US. Therefore, since Bahrain is a Saudi puppet, it could be stated that the Arab community intends to provoke the US. The US has invested in Kazakhstan in the field of energy. But I do not believe that Kazakhstan intends to establish a military base in Bahrain.

With regard to the issue of the Middle East conflicts, Kazakhstan believes that the satisfaction and agreement of both sides, i.e. the Arabs and Israel, is needed. Thus, the government attempts to provide the grounds for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict in these visits. Does Kazakhstan have the capacity to play the role of a mediator between the Arabs and Israel and were the visits made between the officials of Bahrain and Kazakhstan along this line?

It must be said that right now Israel does not have the needed capability to resolve this issue along the line of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, even though Israel occasionally welcomes the mediation of small countries in this regard. But Israel’s tactic is that, whenever a new administration comes to power, it ignores all the commitments that the previous administration made with the Arabs over the issue of Palestine. The other Israeli tactic is that it never negotiates about the issues on a general basis. This regime negotiates the details of issues and spends some time on them and by the time negotiations reach a final agreement the administration has changed. The new administration ignores all of the commitments made by the previous administration and they restart the negotiations. On one hand, as long as there is a rift between the Arabs and even between the Palestinians, i.e. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority, Israel is interested in continuing the same path. Nevertheless, Israel is not ready to accept the mediation of another country. At the same time, Kazakhstan is not more powerful than the US to play the role of a mediator and I do not assume that it has the status to play the role of a mediator and be accepted by Israel.

tags: the arabs country. kazakhstan bahrain israel


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