Revoking Qassim's Nationality
11 May 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
In my opinion, punishing criminals is far better than revoking their
citizenship and sending them to exile, taking punitive measures against
offenders will prohibit them from exploiting podiums abroad. Moreover, after
being convicted, foreign forces would avoid taking advantage of the felon.
Keeping their citizenship also allows the government to put the delinquent up
for national prosecution.
However, some believe that stripping the citizenship of felons is a legal
expression denouncing the criminal's actions and avoids any legal national
responsibility to the felon's crimes abroad. Revoking the citizenship of
proxies also sends a strong message to other extremist leaderships.
Saudi Arabia, back in the 90's, revoked Osama bin Laden's citizenship; at the
time many western governments and institutes criticized the measure taken.
The reason behind revoking bin Laden's citizenship was to end his hostile
activities staged against Egypt and the U.S. at the time. Not to mention that
Osama was establishing al Qaeda back then– after losing citizenship he was
given Asylum in Sudan.
Five years later the September 11 attacks took place- Riyadh's decision turned
out to be righteous and has proved it clear from Osama's crimes.
Revoking citizenship has become better accepted among analysts and researchers
working for legal solutions against extremist groups. Despite that France put
its bill on revoking the citizenship of all violence-involved extremists on
hiatus; it will be put back to discussion as soon as public rage is spotted.
As for why elect this penance specifically?
I believe that the reason is that revoking the citizenship of a felon sets of
the alarms of those who promote violence; given that they too enjoy the
privileges offered by the countries they seek to throw into chaos.
Many countries resort to withdrawing citizenship as a punitive measure,
especially against naturalized citizens or those holding dual citizenship. One
should also mention that in the U.S., not only is the citizenship of
terrorists revoked, but also that of those who prove affiliated. Australia,
Singapore, India and Israel are all systems who employ citizenship revoking.
Issa Qassim is a cleric who embarked on political activity against the
Bahraini government, like many other clerics across the Arab region, who had
been tempted by the Iranian experience- the Iranian ''revolution'' proved that
clerics can take over the government.
But I can safely say that I do not know a Muslim cleric, Shi'ite or Sunni,
among political activists who truly believed in the freedom of expression and
rights of those who oppose them.
All that is promoted by religious philosophers has nothing to do with the
reality of practice, not even with internal establishment of the movement. The
religious Bahraini opposition does not believe in any rights or freedoms which
do not agree with its own rights and freedoms— it takes an epitome in Iran's
To all those who wish to argue that such is the case in Saudi Arabia and many
other countries in the region that do not provide a democracy and are against
political diversity, their argument is true. Nevertheless, those countries
never falsely claimed that its regime provides a democracy or western
Moreover, the opposition in Bahrain wishes to replace an excessively lenient
royal order, with an extremist Shi'ite regime which tails behind Iranian
Furthermore, it wishes to pledge allegiance to Iranian Governance of the
Jurist (otherwise called the Vilayat-e Faqih) which is equal to ceding
national sovereignty to Tehran's Ulama-led government.
On the other hand, when Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force
Major General Qassim Soleimani straightforwardly threatened the Bahraini
government with armed operations staged against its authority, all of which
inspired by the withdrawal of Issa Qassim's nationality, it only added to
Bahrain's argument and stood against the Iranian notorious military commander.
What is happening in Bahrain is not a national opposition, which could be
answered to in the name of national interest; it is made up of bigoted
Iran-affiliated bands! The statements made by sectarian militias and the
so-called Lebanon-based Hezbollah group against Bahrain prove it. What we
desire is for Bahrain to set free from this extended crisis in which Iran, for
over a decade now, works incessantly to dominate opposing political activity
Whatever may be the arguments set for confrontation, there are three important
principals the opposition must take into consideration. Which are: keeping
away from a violence-fueled approach, avoiding sectarian incitement and not
resorting to a foreign regime such as Iran. Breaking any of those principals
directly grants certitude to any regional authority to use force against the
Iran is the last country which should be allowed to defend the rights of any
allegedly ''oppressed'' group and for any given reason. Iranian authorities,
until today, still hold two Islamic reform preachers in custody, who are Mehdi
Karroubi, Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Mousavi's wife Zahra Rahnyfrd, has also been
put in custody for five years now.
Scores of the likes of Issa Qassim have been held for years in Iranian
prisons. So after saying such, are Bahrain's decisions considered
sectarian-based? At the very least one must credit Bahrain for treating all
convicts equally. Within the same week of Qassim losing his citizenship, 13
extremist Sunni Bahrainis were stripped from their citizenship as well.
Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly
magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of
Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass
communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is
currently based in Dubai.