Bahrain reorganises its intelligence apparatus

by The Region   Reuters  


Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued a decree on Tuesday reorganising the National Security Agency and appointing Lieutenant General Adel bin Khalifa Al Fadhel as its new president, effective immediately, the state news agency said.

The NSA has for decades been central to the Sunni Muslim-ruled kingdom's efforts to overcome protests by members of the country's Shi'ite Muslim majority.

The king also issued a decree appointing Sheikh Talal bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa as deputy interior minister.

In August, three Bahraini human rights groups accused the Gulf Arab monarchy's NSA of the systematic use of censorship, torture, and sexual violence towards female detainees.

A security official said at the time it would investigate the allegations, but subsequent actions by Bahrain, including threats to take Qatar to the ICC, indicated that they felt the allegations were part of a joint conspiracy from Qatar and Iran.

In 2011, Bahrain put down an uprising by pro-democracy activists, many of them Shi'ites. The monarchy believes the opposition seeks to overthrow it by force and accuses Iran of aiding in deadly militant attacks on security forces. But the opposition believes that such claims have been consistently used as an excuse to prevent the legitimate demands to reform the country from coming into fruition. 

Home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, Bahrain denies opposition claims that it marginalises Shi'ites economically and in government representation.