Bahrain has reasserted its claim to the long disputed Hawar Islands and town of Zubarah. Bahrain’s state-run news agency has published a press release claiming that the disputed lands were “forcibly” taken from them. The November 4 press release was released amid the Qatari blockade, which has been going on for six months.
From the mid-1900s onward, the Bahrain-Qatar border dispute has been a serious issue. The countries, on the verge of armed conflict, brought the disagreement to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1991. The issue was seemingly resolved by 2001, with Bahrain receiving the Hawar Islands, and Qatar receiving Zubarah and the Janan Islands.
This past weekend, however, the Bahrain News Agency asserted that Bahrain, “has endured the intolerable and conceded many of its internationally documented historic rights in order to distance the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] from bilateral differences.”
In the middle of a Qatari boycott, the Bahraini government has released numerous statements attesting to the legitimacy of its claims to various disputed territories. Claiming that the concessions of the Janan Islands and town of Zubarah were made in the interest of unity within the Gulf, Bahrain has now issued a statement saying that the nation “has every right to claim what was cut off forcibly from its land and to dispute the legitimacy of the Qatari rule.”
These statements came one week after Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, called for Qatar’s GCC membership to be revoked. Declaring that it will not attend
December’s GCC summit if Qatar attends, Bahrain has now escalated its anti-Qatar stance by reigniting its historic claims to various disputed territories.