Bahraini militia reemerges to threaten new attacks

Logo of Katibat al Haydariyah

Katibat al Haydariyah, a small militia within the pro-Iran “Islamic Resistance” branding of Bahraini opposition groups, has reemerged on social media to threaten new attacks on the island.

After decrying the actions of the Bahraini government “in front of the gaze of the world,” the militia states that “we will not retreat from our goals of the downfall of the Al Khalifa entity.”

In a separate message, it ominously states that “soon, guns will open their mouths and they will hear the whiz of bullets.”

Yesterday’s vague statements are the first sign of life for the small outfit since October 2015. That month, it claimed a bombing on Bahraini forces in the Al Juffair region of the capital Manama.

According to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal, it has only claimed three other bombings in its existence with only one being a confirmed attack. Bombings on Aug. 22 and 24, 2015, in Muharraq and on Sept. 10, 2015, in Al Khamis were also claimed by the group.

It should be noted that it is unclear if Katibat al Haydariyah is its own distinct organization.

Both the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom have listed the name as an alias for the larger Saraya al Ashtar (or the Ashtar Brigades).

This is not unlike another Bahraini group, Saraya Waad Allah, which is also believed to be a front for Saraya al Ashtar. In July of this year, Waad Allah also promised more offensives on Bahraini forces. However, this has not yet come to fruition.

Saraya al Ashtar itself threatened increased attacks in Bahrain earlier this year. However, this threat has also yet to fully materialize.

Only one strike has been claimed since Ashtar’s message – an unconfirmed bombing on Feb. 10 claimed by a group called Saraya Thair Allah (God’s Revenge Companies).

Despite the relative ineffectiveness of these militias as compared to their counterparts in other areas of the region, these threats are still taken seriously.

Earlier this year, an Israeli delegation publicly canceled a visit to the island after Saraya Waad Allah threatened the meeting with a menacing video and reported harassing emails to family members of the delegation. Though, the Israeli delegation did secretly attend.

It is also clear that with increased activity both online and on the ground in the last year by elements of the “Islamic Resistance in Bahrain” that they seek to continue their operations on the island.

And pro-Islamic Resistance events sponsored by Iran and its proxies across the Middle East make it clear that the Islamic Republic still sees Bahrain as a viable target.

Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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