Monday, 6 February 2012

International Community Silent as Blood is Spilled in the Streets of Bahrain

"In contrast to diplomatic action on Syria, the United States and the international community have been far less vocal about the situation in Bahrain, where human rights groups say detentions, torture and political repression continue. An independent commission of inquiry into the government crackdown released findings in December that documented a pattern of abuses and noted a "culture of impunity." Activists within Bahrain point to key US military installations in the region and Bahrain's close relationship with Saudi Arabia, a US ally, as reasons for inaction. For more, we're joined on the phone from Manama by Nabeel Rajab with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights."

In Contrast to Syria which has seen increased news coverage now that Assad and his Ba'ath party (might as well get the whole set) are starting to wobble. Bahrain whose "Arab Spring" movement took to the streets first and suffered the inevitable tear gas batons and then tanks and machine guns of the ruling regime. That of King Al Khalifa, the government of Bahrain can be described as "little Saudi Arabia" in fact to complete the metaphor the Gulf Island is connected to Saudi Arabia via an "umbilical chord" like King Fahd Causeway. However unlike Saudi Arabia the Royal Family has one constant problem, religion they are Sunni while the majority of the population 75% are Shia. And like most oppressive regimes the majority Shia are either considered secondary or completely excluded in political and social and economic spheres. As we've seen time and again deliberately and blatantly discriminating against any demographic in your society is like giving out free copies of Marx's Manifesto or Paine's Common sense in a package deal with pitchforks and Kalashnikov's, just begging for trouble.

Hence the now common scenes of Arabs battling in the streets and waving flags around and chanting. But due to the quirks of current geo-politics the reason why the Bahraini people are oppressed and fighting to end that oppression is the same reason they're being ignored. The nation with the largest Shia population and is the Islamic Republic of Iran, therefore the "logic" goes in 1979 the Iranian's where Shia Revolutionaries, therefore all Shia Revolutionaries must be allies of Iran.And we can't let Iran spread its influence in the straits of Hormuz now can we? especially when the possibility of another conflict with them gets closer and closer. The entire 5th Fleet is based there just waiting to take the fight to those swarthy Persians.

To be fair though Iran does cultivate links with many Shia movements and armies, Hezbollah, ISCI, but that isn't always certain, the Shia Muqtada Al Sadr for example has no links with Iran, but Iran has been building ties with Hamas whom are predominantly Sunni. Ok so its not a perfect pattern, but these Shia must surely be agitating for closer ties to Tehran right?

Well not according to the Bahrain resistance, apparently they want absurd barbarian ideas like:

"What do we want on February 14?

We want a genuine political life in which the people alone are the source of powers and legislation.

We want a constitution drawn up by the people, and agreed upon, which is the arbitrator and judge in the relationship of the ruler to the ruled.

We want genuine and fair elections based on fair foundations and the distribution of constituencies in which the vote of every individual Bahraini is equal.We want genuine representation, without the accusation of treason whenever we go out to demand our rights.

We want a Council of Representatives that reflects the composition of the Bahraini people, without the majority being a minority and the minority a majority.

We want a government that is elected, based on people’s competencies rather than “loyalties”.

We want to fight corruption and stop the plundering of resources, and achieve a fair distribution of wealth.

We want to stop nepotism, and to prevent recruitment according to affiliation, and to open all sectors, especially the military, to all people.

We want an end to indiscriminate political naturalisation, which has increased the burden on services and oppressed people.

We want true freedom, without a law against “terrorism” and “gatherings”.

We want true media freedom, and the door to be opened for everyone to express their opinions freely and without fear.

We want security in villages and towns, and the release of political prisoners and the reform of prisons, and the end of oppression, torture and intimidation.

We want genuine solutions to the problems of unemployment, housing, education, and health.

We want the police to “serve the people”, and we want the army to be of the people.

This is truly what we want; we do not want to overthrow the regime, as many imagine, and we do not want to gain control of the government, we do not want chairs and seats here or there. We want to be a people living with dignity and rights."

An admirable program I think, apparently though Kalifa's minders in Riyadh and Washington disagree as they continue to support the crackdown. Saudi Arabia even went as far as to loan some soldiers and police, while the good old freedom loving American President stepped up and let arms sales to the government continue, is there to be an arms package to Damascus because if not I call double standard.

Well sadly there's not much we can do all the way over except wish the people of Bahrain well. Oh and I suppose you could sign these petitions and try to raise awareness of what's happening in Bahrain. I personally think any anti Iran war campaigner would find the situation in Bahrain to be very useful.

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