Violence continues across Bahrain

Also see this article by Marc Lynch on the Bahraini government use of sectarianism as a counterinsurgency tool.

Bahrain’s largest opposition group has urged Saudi Arabia to withdraw its forces and called for a UN inquiry into the the government’s on-going crackdown.

Clashes between security forces and anti goverment protesters continue, spilling into villages across the country.

Our special correspondent, whom we are not naming for security reasons, filed this report.

The US-Saudi-Khalifa Alliance

Following the surprise visit of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates to Bahrain, home of the American Fifth Fleet, tanks and troops of the Saud family dictatorship have crossed the causeway and are now occupying Manama. The film below shows Bahraini police tactics against unarmed protestors before the Wahhabi goons were called in. Meanwhile, the Khalifa regime is urgently recruiting more mercenaries.

This is an Arab 1848

by Tariq Ali

revolutionary murals in Cairo
Revolutionary murals on the walls of newly established toilet facilities for protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP

The refusal of the people to kiss or ignore the rod that has chastised them for so many decades has opened a new chapter in the history of the Arab nation. The absurd, if much vaunted, neocon notion that Arabs or Muslims were hostile to democracy has disappeared like parchment in fire.

Those who promoted such ideas appear to the most unhappy: Israel and its lobbyists in Euro-America; the arms industry, hurriedly trying to sell as much while it can (the British prime minister acting as a merchant of death at the Abu Dhabi arms fair); and the beleaguered rulers of Saudi Arabia, wondering whether the disease will spread to their tyrannical kingdom. Until now they have provided refuge to many a despot, but when the time comes where will the royal family seek refuge? They must be aware that their patrons will dump them without ceremony and claim they always favoured democracy.

If there is a comparison to be made with Europe it is 1848, when the revolutionary upheavals left only Britain and Spain untouched – even though Queen Victoria, thinking of the Chartists, feared otherwise. Writing to her besieged nephew on the Belgian throne, she expressing sympathy but wondered whether “we will all be slain in our beds”. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown or bejewelled headgear, and has billions stored in foreign banks.

Continue reading “This is an Arab 1848”

When Revolution Becomes the Only Choice

by Ali Jawad

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has graphically chronicled the heart-wrenching realities that have shrouded over Manama in recent days. Whilst there may be criticisms of a sometimes de-contextualised narrative, his articles are nevertheless sufficient to shed light on the fundamental grievances that have spurred the popular protests across Bahrain. There is more than enough in his articles to evoke the deepest emotion and sympathy for unarmed civilians being systematically crushed under the juggernaut of a western-armed foreign mercenary force doggedly determined to maintain the vestiges of a brutally authoritarian regime.

Officials at the Pentagon have surely read some of Kristof’s reports by now, and have no doubt made note of the striking similarities between the Al-Khalifa regime and its ousted Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts. The intelligence services and their head, Leon Panetta, are also acutely aware – no doubt – of the voluminous grievances held by the vast majority of Bahrainis towards a ruling monarchy that is increasingly acquiring the “illegitimate” prefix; this in addition to a growing view amongst Bahrainis equating the Al-Khalifa regime as the prime obstacle to serious democratic change. In spite of this however, the placid petulance that has characterised the statements of the US Secretary of State has served to further underline to the lay Arab citizen that despite its mendacious, last-minute attempts to embrace the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, the US remains firmly committed to the vocation of bolstering tyrants and dictators – only opting to disown them as the latter partake in their final rites.

Continue reading “When Revolution Becomes the Only Choice”

Bahrain Uprising

Press TV: Bahrain has been the latest country to feel, what can safely be described as, the domino effect of Tunisia’s revolution. Egypt received so much attention, as it was followed second by second. We have seen less focus on the uprising in other regional countries in the mainstream media, including Bahrain. This small country, a cluster of 33 tiny islands, is geo-strategically important and a neighbor to Saudi Arabia, it is home to the US navy’s 5th fleet. But right now it has been hit by protests, and has responded with a violent crackdown.

To discuss Bahrain uprising, Nargess Moballeghi is joined by Rania al-Masri, Christopher Walker and Nabeel Rajab.

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US wavers on Middle East

Barack Obama, who even today was lecturing Iran in the obnoxious school-masterly tone which American presidents feel obliged to adopt in their declamations, once again turns a blind eye when the violence is pepetrated by a friendly despot.

The US and president Barack Obama continue to waver in their position regarding the unrest sweeping through the Middle East. The country says it will not dictate events in the region. But Obama has criticised the Iranian government’s violent response to protests there, while at the same time maintaining a more neutral tone with Bahrain. Many find the US’s response disappointing, and some feel the White House will only react strongly to those governments it does not have a stake in.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports.

And this is the kind of violence that is being wrought by this ‘reliable ally.’

Bahrain Rising

On the tiny island state of Bahrain an intelligent, highly politicised Shia majority is ruled by an actively sectarian Sunni ‘king’ and his mercenary police force. To ensure minimum fraternisation, and to shrink the Shia majority, Sunni Arabs from such countries as Syria, Jordan and Yemen are awarded citizenship after loyal service in the police.

Bahrain was known to Sumerians as Dilmun, a possible location for the Garden of Eden. Today it’s known to Americans as the home of the Fifth Fleet, one of the more essential bases for guarding the Gulf. It’s linked by causeway to Saudi Arabia, which provides it with security and thousands of drunk young men on Thursday nights. It is likely that Saudi Arabia would intervene if Bahrain went the way of Egypt.

Unlike other Gulf countries, Bahrain has always been notable for its angry mass demonstrations against assaults on Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. Not surprising, then, that February 14th’s Day of Anger attracted a wide section of Bahraini society, including Sunnis. There’s nothing sectarian about the protestors’ democratic demands – one of their chants is Not Sunni Not Shii Just Bahraini – but we can expect sectarian mobilisation by the regime and Saudi-owned media if protests continue, as they doubtless will. The Bahraini people will be described as an unwitting front for Shii-Persian assault. For this reason, the Iranian leadership would do well to remain silent as events unfurl (Iran’s comments on the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, after all, have been inaccurate and propagandistic.)

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