…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
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Bahrain leftists head to talks, but fear crisis – they make an effort , substaintial diagoue cannot happen without freedom for leadership in torturous prisons

Bahrain leftists head to talks, but fear crisis
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Reuters Manama Bahrain

A leader of Bahrain’s second largest opposition group said the party would join a national dialogue next week but a sectarian crisis was inevitable unless talks led to genuine political reform.

Four months after Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim rulers quashed pro-democracy protests led by the Shiite majority, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has set July 1 as the start of a national dialogue to discuss economic, political and social reforms.

The opposition has said only deep political reform, not mere dialogue, can permanently end popular unrest.

“The government needs to develop progressive solutions. This crisis is political,” Radhi al-Mousawi told Reuters in an interview. “Without a permanent solution to reforming the constitutional monarchy, the crisis will return in a few years.”

Mainstream opposition groups such as Waad seek a more representative parliament with legislative powers that are not weakened by an upper Shura council appointed by the king.

The government has said all types of political, economic and social reform can be discussed but the opposition is suspicious that the wide variety of issues will diminish the chances of agreeing on real democratization.

Participants in the dialogue will send their proposals for approval to Bahrain’s ruling family at the end of the talks.

Waad, a secular leftist party run by Sunnis and Shiites alike, was the worst-hit during unrest this year. Both of its offices were repeatedly set ablaze and the government banned its operations, a decision it reversed just last week.

Waad members believe their non-sectarian voice made them a target by hardliners in support of the government, who they accuse of stoking sectarian tensions in the Gulf island kingdom.

“The government cannot gain victory over people by sewing sectarian divisions. Sectarianism could destroy us. The wars in Lebanon and Iraq have shown us that,” Mr. Mousawi said as he examined the charred walls of Waad’s offices in Manama. …more