May 1, 2013 No Comments
The forces used live-ammunition and birdshot pellets aiming directly at bodies and resulting in three serious injuries which need urgent medical treatment.
Bahrain: regime causes serious injuries among pro-democracy protesters
16 March, 2013 – ABNA
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – Over ten citizens have sustained different injuries after the regime forces in Bahrain opened fire on pro-democracy protesters. The forces used live-ammunition and birdshot pellets aiming directly at bodies and resulting in three serious injuries which need urgent medical treatment.
The forces have also used gas grenades as live-ammunition aiming at the upper parts of the protesters’ bodies in attempt to kill, leaving many injured, with two injuries to the face and head that also need urgent medical treatment.
The regime forces’ use of toxic gas grenade as live-ammunition has previously killed tens of citizens. Last February, Bahrain lost two young men (Mahmmod Al-Jaziri and Hussain Al-Jaziri) both fired at directly at close range by the regime forces.
The ongoing killings perpetrated by the regime forces reflect a clear systematic policy carried out under high official orders to use violence against peaceful pro-democracy protesters.
March 21, 2013 No Comments
2 March, 2013 – FARS
TEHRAN (FNA)- A large number of Bahrainis staged a rally in the western part of capital Manama, and condemned the al-Khalifa regime for refusing to hand over the corpse of an activists killed by the security forces to his family.
The participants in the rally which was titled ‘Democracy Is Our Demand’ stressed the necessity for democratic changes and an end to the dictatorship in the country.
They also condemned the al-Khalifa regime for neglecting humane values, including its refusal to hand over the corpse of martyr Mahmoud Issa, who was killed by the security forces one week ago.
Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty’s over-40-year rule.
Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011 to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.
So far, tens of people have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured. …source
March 13, 2013 No Comments
28 January, 2013 – ABNA.co
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – On 25 Jan 2012 hundreds of Bahrainis took the streets in the capital Manama and peacefully protested to demand rights, including the right to self-determination, despite restrictions. The Ministry of Interior set up security checkpoints and road blocks on streets leading to the capital to restrict access. Despite the restrictions, people managed to get into Manama, and were violently attacked by a large number of security forces with tear gas and stun grenades, which also impacted people passing by and the shop keepers in the old market. Tear gas was shot from close distance on the people in the narrow allies of Manama crowded with protesters and shoppers.
The Ministry of interior has called the protest “illegal” in a statement, criminalizing freedom of assembly, at a time when Bahraini law only requires a notification rather than authorization for rallies.
Members of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights have recorded at least two cases of injuries from stun grenades, one male victim who was shot in his leg, and one female who was shot in her shoulder from the back.
A policeman was caught on video slapping a Bahraini citizen, Abdulla Alsaba’a, who is a member of a political opposition society in Bahrain, before he got arrested.
Reporters of international media covering the protest were not saved from assaults and harassments. Mazen Mahdi, EPA photojournalist reported that he was hit by a police sound grenade which was thrown blindly into the crowd. He sustained a minor injury. In addition he was stopped twice for ID check in Manama by the same security unit, in what appeared to be an attempt to hamper his work.
Mass arrests were conducted by riot police accompanied with dogs. According to lawyer Reem Khalaf who was present at AlHoora police station, 43 people were arrested including a Saudi man and an injured man. All of them were held overnight. 15 detainees were interrogated at the public prosecution on Saturday, and the rest were interrogated on Sunday. They all received a 45 day detention order pending investigation on charges of “illegal gathering”, “participating in an unauthorized demonstration” and “disobeying the authorities when asked to disperse”.
Among the detainees is a blogger and activist Nader Abdulemam (@NaderAbdulEmam) who was threatened with arrest few days ago over twitter from a pro-government anonymous user. In addition to the above-mentioned charges, Nader is also accused with incitement to participate in unauthorized march.
Faisal Mushaima was arrested and taken to the Bahrain-Gateway (Bab AlBahrain) police station. When his brother, Abdulhadi Mushaima, an elderly man and the father of Ali Mushima, the first victim of extra judicial killing by police on Feb 14, 2011, went to check on him, he was also arrested and told that he is “wanted” by the police. He was kept in detention for several hours and he was moved to the clinic at the ministry of interior as he suffered from a high level of diabetes. He was later released due to his health deterioration.
A member of the Bahrain Society for Human Rights, Hussain Radhi, was arrested while he was monitoring the protests and documenting human rights violations.
A member of the Islamic Scholars Council, cleric Fadhil AlZaki was also arrested. …more
January 28, 2013 No Comments
January 14, 2013 No Comments
December 14, 2012 No Comments
Activist: Establishment of Democracy only Way to Restore Security in Bahrain
1 December, 2012 – FARS
TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior member of Bahrain’s Islamic Action Society slammed the Bahraini regime for continuing detention and torturing of activists even 18 months after the start of popular protests across the country, and warned that establishment of democracy will be the only way to restore security and tranquility in the country.
“Without establishment of full democracy in Bahrain, security and calm will not be materialized, and security officials have no other way but to reconsider their decisions and correct their way of interaction with the people,” Hisham al-Sabbagh, a senior member of Bahrain’s Islamic Action Society told Iran’s Arabic-language news network, Al-Alam, on Saturday.
He further blasted the al-Khalifa regime for his hostile approach to the Bahraini people, apprehension of activists and opposition figures, killing and cracking down on citizens and villagers and launching night raids on their houses.
The Bahraini government, facing protracted unrest by an overwhelming majority of the people, has resorted to any harsh measure to suppress popular protests and arrest political activists. It also revoked the nationality of 31 men on charges of harming national security earlier this month.
The men include London-based dissidents Saeed al-Shehabi and Ali Mushaima, the son of jailed opposition leader Hassan Mushaima, as well as clerics, human rights lawyers and activists.
Also on the list published by Bahraini News Agency (BNA) were two former parliamentarians from the leading Shiite party Wefaq, Jawad and Jalal Fairooz.
Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty’s over-40-year rule, end of discrimination, establishment of justice and a democratically-elected government as well as freedom of detained protesters.
Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar – were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.
So far, tens of people have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured.
December 1, 2012 No Comments
12 November, 2012 – Al Akhbar
A leading Kuwaiti opposition figure on Monday asked a court to allow him to travel for medical treatment ahead of his trial this week for “insulting” the emir, as tens of thousands continue to demonstrate against changes to the country’s voting law.
The request came during the first hearing in former Islamist MP Musallam al-Barrak’s trial where he faces charges of making public remarks deemed offensive to the Gulf state’s ruler, who under Kuwaiti law cannot be criticized.
If convicted, he faces a jail sentence of up to five years.
A mix of Islamist supporters, lawmakers, tribal groups and youth activists packed a square across from Kuwait’s parliament on Sunday in a peaceful rally against a new amendment to the elections law which favors pro-government candidates.
The demonstration also coincided with the 50th anniversary of Kuwait’s constitution.
It was the first in a series of recent protests against the voting amendment to take place without incident.
Last week, police locked down Kuwait City to prevent a massive rally from taking place, but demonstrators reassembled on the outskirts of the city where riot police attacked them with tear gas and sound grenades.
Dozens have been injured in other anti-government demonstrations, since the emir of Kuwait, Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, dissolved parliament on October 1 and proposed changing the voting rules.
Previously, registered Kuwaiti voters could select up to four MPs for each voting district, but the decree changed the elections process into a one non-transferable vote per voter.
The opposition, a loose coalition of Islamists, tribal factions, and various youth groups, have vowed to boycott the December 1 Parliamentary elections unless the government reverses its changes to the law.
Aside from Barrak, five other opposition MPs have been arrested on similar charges.
Falah al-Sawwagh, Khaled al-Tahus and Bader al-Dahum are to appear in court on Tuesday for allegedly insulting the emir. A fifth former lawmaker is to appear in court on November 26 while a sixth ex-MP is facing similar charges but no date has been set for his trial.
The al-Sabah family has ruled Kuwait for over 250 years. The emir, crown prince, prime minister and key cabinet ministers all hail from the ruling family. …source
November 12, 2012 No Comments
October 29, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain’s delusional ‘Parliament’ spins tales of ‘democracy’ while Champions of Democracy held in Prisons
By Mohammed Al A’Ali – 15 October, 2012 – Gulf Daily News
BAHRAIN’S legislative authority has to ensure the country’s democratic progress continues as new constitutional amendments come into effect, said a top official.
National Assembly and Parliament chairman Dr Khalifa Al Dhahrani said increased powers for both MPs and Shura Council members meant they had a major task ahead of them, as they attempt to heal rifts and enhance economic growth following last year’s unrest.
It follows 19 constitutional amendments being signed into law by His Majesty King Hamad in May, which gives more powers to the National Assembly and has been seen as a major step in Bahrain’s reform process.
Dr Al Dhahrani was speaking yesterday at the inaugural ceremony of the assembly’s third legislative term in the presence of King Hamad, His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, government officials and dignitaries at the Isa Cultural Centre, Juffair.
“We have listened to His Majesty King Hamad’s speech and agree that national unity is the only factor that can make a difference in how the country moves forward,” he said.
“No one can deny that His Majesty’s initiatives, measures and reforms, ever since the unfortunate incidents began (last year), has helped protect the country.
“It has also helped develop the Kingdom’s political and human rights practises and legislations, which has brought it international recognition.”
Dr Al Dhahrani also emphasised that dialogue was the only way forward.
“Our national duty has always been our guide in our work and we pledge that people’s power will continue to be the slogan for true reform,” he added.
“This country is no place for those who don’t believe in its importance – it is only a place for those who feel it is where they belong.”
He said membership in the assembly continues to be an honour.
“Whether appointed or elected, we are proud to serve the people.
“It is an honour that as legislators, we have the opportunity to represent a democracy and fight all agendas or attempts to disharmonise the community,” he said. …source
October 15, 2012 No Comments
Democracy burning – what if they threw a revolution and it was a lie? Rage On my Brothers, Rage On my Sisters
Arab Spring Countries Take Stock After Violent Anti-American Protests
by Mike Giglio – 17 September, 2012 – The DailyBeast
Farah Hached, a prominent lawyer in Tunisia, thought the authorities would be ready if the anti-American unrest came her country’s way. It had started last Tuesday, when protesters at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo stormed the 12-foot concrete walls and replaced the American flag with an Islamic one, while armed men in the Libyan city of Benghazi took advantage of a similar protest to attack the consulate there and kill the U.S. ambassador. The demonstrations spread as far as Yemen, Iran, and Iraq over the next two days. “The government had three days to prepare. They should have been ready,” says Hached, who runs Laboratoire Démocratique, a human-rights NGO in Tunis.
Instead, protesters breached the U.S. Embassy in Tunis on Friday, lighting fires and tearing down the flag. A venerable American school was also attacked, its students sent home early before the building was ransacked. Yet another cornerstone of the Arab Spring—the country that lit its fuse, in fact—had become engulfed in the furor over an anti-Islam film that gripped some of the same streets across the region last week that were claimed by pro-democracy protesters last year. “People are shocked,” Hached says.
Over the weekend, the United States pulled its nonessential diplomatic staff out of Tunisia, citing security concerns, and urged all Americans in the country to leave. It did the same in Sudan, where 5,000 people reportedly rallied at the U.S. Embassy on Friday. Marines have been sent to protect diplomatic sites in Libya and Yemen, while protesters attempted to storm the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, on Sunday. And the leader of Hizbullah, the militant group based in Lebanon, called for the U.S. government to be “held accountable,” encouraging protests next week.
But the unrest that swept across the Muslim world last week—sparked by a low-budget, Islam-bashing film made by provocateurs in America, excerpted on YouTube, and recently dubbed into Arabic—largely seemed to have calmed. As the violence ebbed, some turned their attention to what had happened and why, questions that seemed especially pressing for residents of the Arab Spring countries that are still working to find their footing after decades of authoritarian rule. …more
September 17, 2012 No Comments
August 14, 2012 No Comments
6 August, 2012 – eurasiareview
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has lashed out at the West for manipulating the concepts of human rights and democracy to achieve its political objectives.
“The West talks of human rights, but has kept silent on the killing of the people of Palestine and Bahrain; and wherever there is a terrorist incident, the footprints of Western intelligence organizations can be traced,” said Mehmanparast.
“The Americans abuse the concept of democracy,” he noted.
The Iranian diplomat lashed out at the Western double standards on democracy, saying the West only lends support to democratic rights wherever its interests necessitate.
Mehmanparast pointed to the US invasion of Afghanistan under the pretext of countering terrorism and noted that Afghanistan is still grappling with the issue of terrorism in spite of the fact that over 110,000 Afghans have lost their lives over the course of the US-led war in the country.
He warned of Washington’s media tactics aimed at achieving its hegemonic objectives, saying, “If the US seeks to invade a country, it will first take the preliminary measures in the media; [therefore] we should not allow the Western media to distort the realities of the world.” …source
August 7, 2012 No Comments
Yes, Secretary Clinton, democracy and liberty takes time and even with the US as an impediment, its time is now in Bahrain
May 25, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain, a testament to America’s lost claim on democracy – Neoliberal Economics as the Betrayal of Hope
Henry A. Giroux: The Occupy Movement and the Politics of Educated Hope
18 May, 2012 – By Henry A. Giroux – Truthout
American society has lost its claim on democracy. One indication of such a loss is that the crises produced on a daily basis by crony capitalism operate within a discourse of denial. Rather than address the ever proliferating crises produced by market fundamentalism as an opportunity to understand how the United States has arrived at such a point in order to change direction, the dominating classes now use such crises as an excuse for normalizing a growing punishing and warfare state, while consolidating the power of finance capital and the mega-rich. Uncritically situated in an appeal to common sense, the merging of corporate and political power is now constructed on a discourse of refusal – a denial of historical conditions, existing inequalities and massive human suffering – used to bury alive the conditions of its own making. The notion that neoliberal capitalism has less interest in free markets than an enormous stake in the dominance of public life by corporations no longer warrants recognition and debate in mainstream apparatuses of power. Hence, the issue of what happens to democracy and politics when corporations dominate almost all aspects of American society is no longer viewed as a central question to be addressed in public life.(1)
As society is increasingly organized around shared fears, escalating insecurities and a post 9/11 politics of terror; the mutually reinforcing dynamics of a market-based fundamentalism and a government that appears immune to any checks on its power render democratic politics both bankrupt and inoperable. The hatred of government on the part of Republican extremists has resulted not only in attacks on public services, the cutting of worker benefits, the outsourcing of government services, a hyper-nationalism and the evisceration of public goods such as schools and health care, but also in an abdication of the responsibility to govern. The language of the market with its incessant appeal to self-regulation and the virtues of a radical individualization of responsibility now offer the primary dysfunctional and poisonous index of what possibilities the future may hold, while jingoistic nationalism and racism hail its apocalyptic underbelly.
The notion that democracy requires modes of economic and social equality as the basis for supportive social bonds, democratic communities and compassionate communal relations disappears along with the claims traditionally made in the name of the social justice, human rights and democratic values. Entrepreneurial values such as competitiveness, self-interest, deregulation, privatization and decentralization now produce self-interested actors who have no interest in promoting the public good or governing in the public interest.(2) Under these circumstances, the 1 percent and the financial, cultural and educational institutions they control declare war on government, immigrants, poor youth, women, and other institutions and groups considered disposable. Crony capitalism produces great wealth for the few and massive human suffering for the many around the globe. At the same time, it produces what João Biehl calls “zones of social abandonment,” which “accelerate the death of the unwanted” through a form of economic Darwinism “that authorizes the lives of some while disallowing the lives of others.”(3)
As market relations become synonymous with a market society, democracy becomes both the repressed scandal of neoliberalism and its ultimate fear.(4) In such a society, cynicism becomes the ideology of choice as public life collapses into the ever-encroaching domain of the private, and social ills and human suffering become more difficult to identify, understand and engage with critically. The result, as Jean Comaroff points out, is, “In our contemporary world, post 9/11, crisis and exception has become routine and war, deprivation and death intensify despite ever denser networks of humanitarian aid and ever more rights legislation.”(5) In addition, as corporate power and finance capital gain ascendancy over society, the depoliticization of politics and the increasing transformation of the social state into the punishing state has resulted in the emergence of a new form of authoritarianism in which the fusion of corporate power and state violence increasingly permeates all aspects of everyday life.(6) Such violence with its ever expanding machinery of death and surveillance creates an ever-intensifying cycle, rendering citizens’ political activism dangerous and even criminal as is obvious in the current assaults being waged by the government against youthful protesters on college campuses, in the streets, and in other spaces now colonized by capital and its machinery of enforcement.(7)…more
May 23, 2012 No Comments
Obama anti-democracy support of al Khalifa facilitates crisis of anti-US sentiment by democracy seekers
May 17, 2012 No Comments
May 12, 2012 No Comments
April 19, 2012 No Comments
April 16, 2012 No Comments
16 April, 2012 – by: Anonymous
What happened to all the optimism of the last election season, all that business about hope and change? For decades, we’ve pinned our hopes on one candidate after another, but now it seems like people are finally giving up on the whole charade. The only ones who still take it seriously are the protesters playing democracy in the street.
Why has democracy failed us? Is it the Electoral College, voting machines, gerrymandering—the sort of thing that could be remedied by electoral reform? That wouldn’t explain why we’re still disappointed with the results even when our favorite candidate gets in.
Is it corporate influence perverting politicians’ agendas and controlling the media? Sure—but when power is distributed according to who rakes in the most profit, that can’t help but affect politics. As long as private property exists, the rich will always have more leverage over our society, whether or not they can literally buy votes.
Is it just a matter of scale? Would the same procedures work if we only practiced them at town hall meetings and general assemblies? Anybody who has lived in a small town knows that while small-scale politics may be more personal, that doesn’t keep them from being alienating. Likewise, letting an arbitrarily constituted general assembly determine what you can and can’t do feels even more ridiculous than getting bullied by cops and tax collectors.
Maybe the problem has to do with democracy itself. Honestly, when has it fully delivered on its promises? In ancient Athens, when women and slaves were prohibited from participating? In the days of the Founding Fathers, some of whom also owned slaves? Today, when everyone supposedly has a say but self-determination feels further out of our hands than ever?
We keep blaming specific politicians and political parties, as if it were just a matter of personal failings. But any system that doesn’t work unless the people using it are perfect is a bad system. What if some politicians really do mean well, but there’s nothing they can do? All the good intentions in the world won’t help if the structure is broken.
So let’s try another question:
Why do we talk about changing our rulers when we really want to change our lives?
The answer is obvious: because our rulers have more control over our lives than we do. But changing rulers isn’t going to fix that. Is getting to choose the lesser of two evils really the best of all possible worlds?
Imagine if we could have complete control over our own lives. That’s something that will never appear on a ballot. What kind of decisions can be made by voting—and what kind of structures does it take to impose them?
Think about what goes on in the Pentagon and the Kremlin and the offices of every town hall. Those day-to-day activities are the same under Democrats as under Republicans; they’re not much different today than they were a hundred years ago. Whoever happens to be operating it, the machinery of the state imposes its own logic: administration, coercion, control. Politicians promise us the world, but their job is to keep it out of our hands—to govern it.
Our ancestors fought hard to overthrow the kings who ruled them. When they finally succeeded, they kept the structures the kings had established—the same ministries and courts and armies—imagining that these could be run for the common good. But whoever is on the other side of that apparatus—be it a king, a president, or an electorate—those on the receiving end of governing experience the same thing. The laws, administrators, and police of a democracy are just as impersonal and coercive as the laws, administrators, and police of a dictatorship. The problem is the institution of government itself, which keeps the governed at a distance from their own power. …more
April 16, 2012 No Comments
15 April, 2012 – Paul Benedek – Sydney
The NSW Parliament passed a motion on April 4 in support of pro-democracy protests in Bahrain.
The motion condemned the Bahrain government’s repression of protesters, attacks on doctors, killing of 60 protesters by security forces, destruction of 40 Shi’a mosques, expulsion of journalists, and widespread use of torture.
Bahraini democracy supporters ― including a doctor abducted for treating pro-democracy protesters and a former opposition MP ― were present for the vote. A forum organised by the Bahrain Australian Youth Movement was held in the parliament’s theatrette later the same day.
Doctor Nabeel Ali gave a moving account of going from health worker to tortured prisoner.
“When the protests began we received patients flooding the hospital with gun wounds, with horrendous injuries we had never seen before,” Ali said. “We did our duty, the doctors tried to save several patients, unfortunately some we could not.
“Because we tried to save them, and tried to voice our concern at what was happening, we were targeted.
“They came to our houses in the middle of the night. Some were jailed, others were persecuted professionally, they were laid off. A total of 500 medical staff were targeted, 200 were stopped from working, more than 80 were thrown in prison.
“Of those, nearly 30 doctors were tortured, also ambulance drivers, paramedics, nurses.
“Torture was humiliation. They make you stand for three or four days without allowing you to sit. A colleague was forced to stand for 13 days, continuously, without sleep.
The faces of the prisoners were full of fear when the cell doors opened. Every time guards opened the door, it’s torture time ― time to be insulted, time to be beaten.
“We lived like that for nearly three months. Not just me ― 3000 prisoners suffered the same or worse treatment, and there are still 600 in prisons now.”
Former Shia Opposition MP Matar Matar, who was the country’s youngest parliamentarian before resigning early last year to protest the regime’s crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, revealed the repression in Bahrain has increased one year on from the uprising.
“The death rate is higher than before,” said Matar, who was jailed and tortured after resigning from parliament. “But the level of violence always depends on the level of international attention. Australians can play a major role in isolating the Bahrain government.”
SBS Dateline journalist Yaara Bou Melhem, who compiled a feature investigation on the violent repression of the democracy movement in Bahrain, spoke on the struggle for journalists trying to get the truth out about the uprising.
“Two local journalists died last year in detention…foreign journalists were beaten up, arrested, attacked at protests,” Melhem said.
NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge, who hosted the forum and sponsored the parliamentary motion, told the forum: “This is a genuinely grassroots movement for democracy in Bahrain, being met by those in power brutally repressing.
“Bahrain has been forgotten, in the Western media, in Australia, and this is a crime of omission … it is complicity with torture.”
The meeting also expressed solidarity with Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, a co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, who has been on a hunger strike for over 62 days and is reportedly close to death. …source
April 16, 2012 No Comments
March 16, 2012 No Comments
February 26, 2012 No Comments
November 1985 – Bruce Cockburn
Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor
Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom
Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament –
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’
Idolatry of ideology
North South East West
Kill the best and buy the rest
It’s just spend a buck to make a buck
You don’t really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery
See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello
And they call it democracy
See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution
IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt.
February 23, 2012 No Comments
14 February, 2012 -nsnbc – By Pepe Escobar
How poignant that the first anniversary of a true Arab pro-democracy movement in the Persian Gulf – then ruthlessly crushed – falls on February 14, when Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the West. Talk about a doomed love affair.
And how does Washington honor this tragic love story? By resuming arms sales to the repressive Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty in power in Bahrain.
So just to recap; United States President Barack Obama told Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to “step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately” while King Hamad al-Khalifa gets new toys to crack down on his subversively pro-democratic subjects.
Is this a case of cognitive dissonance? Of course not; after all.
Syria is supported by Russia and China at the United Nations Security Council while Bahrain hosts the US’s Fifth Fleet – the defender of the “free world” against those evil Iranians who want to shut down the Strait of Hormuz.
A year ago, the overwhelming population of Bahrain – most of them poor, neglected Shi’ites treated as third-class citizens, but also educated Sunnis – hit the streets to demand the ruling al-Khalifas allow a minimum of democracy.
Just like Tunisia and Egypt – and unlike Libya and Syria – the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain was indigenous, legitimate, non-violent and uncontaminated by Western or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) infiltration.
The response was a major crackdown plus a Saudi Arabian invasion over the causeway to Manama. That was the tacit result of a deal struck between the House of Saud and Washington; we give you an Arab resolution allowing you to go to the UN and then launch the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s humanitarian bombing on Libya, you leave us alone to smash this Arab Spring nonsense (see Exposed: the US-Saudi Libya deal Asia Times Online, April 2, 2011.)
The Obama administration took no time to preempt the “celebration” of Bahrain’s crushed democracy push by dispatching a State Department honcho to Bahrain.
As reported by the Gulf Daily News, the so-called “Voice of Bahrain” (more like the voice of the al-Khalifas), US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman widely praised King Hamad’s steps to “diffuse tensions” – such as “the release of political prisoners, a partial cabinet reshuffle and the withdrawal of security forces”. …more
February 15, 2012 No Comments