Bahrain, “The Island of Torture” enjoys Prince Andrews admiration

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/13/the-island-of-torture/

“…he [Prince Andrew] said: “I believe that what’s happening in Bahrain is a source of hope for many people in the world and a source of pride for Bahrainis.””
“This is very strange, as the island kingdom of Bahrain has a proven record of jailing and torturing protesters demanding democratic rights for the Shia majority…”

“the government in Bahrain crushed the Bahraini version of the Arab Spring, treating protesters and anybody associated with them, such as doctors who treated injured demonstrators, with extreme brutality. The Bahrain independent commission of inquiry, set up by the Bahraini government itself, described at least 18 different techniques used to mistreat or torture detainees including electric shocks, beating on the soles of the feet with rubber hoses, sleep deprivation and threats of rape. More than 30 Shia mosques, religious meeting places and holy sites were bulldozed on the pretext that they had no planning permission.”

Bahrain: police fires teargas directly at people’s heads. Overall, 39 deaths due to use of teargas.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/29/bahrain-teargas-stockpile-plan-campaign

Activists and human rights watchdogs, however, say the gas is used indiscriminately and lethally against demonstrators.

Pressure to prevent deliveries has been growing since the publication of a leaked document showing that Bahrain is seeking to purchase more teargas canisters than its entire population, of 1.2m.

Samira Rajab, a government spokesperson, was quoted as saying that police would have been justified in using live fire,…

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said the Bahraini security forces have “repeatedly used teargas disproportionately and sometimes unlawfully in suppressing anti-government demonstrations” since 2011, when protests against the western-banked Sunni monarchy erupted as part of the wave of Arab spring uprisings.

Teargas misuse has been implicated in more than a dozen deaths and serious injuries, HRW says.

Police also fire the canisters directly at people’s heads, which has caused serious injuries and deaths.

Overall, 39 deaths in Bahrain have been attributed to teargas, according to Physicians for Human Rights.

The US and Britain have urged Bahrain to implement political reforms and address the grievances of the country’s Shia majority, which has long faced discrimination.

Who is the opposition in Bahrain? Well, Shiites and Sunnis!

The attitude – that Bahrain’s problems exist primarily between its own people – is an attempt to deflect responsibility away from the government and to play up the false idea that this conflict is sectarian. The fact that half the opposition delegates who attended the first dialogue session were Sunnis shoots this argument to pieces.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/13/bahrain-time-to-act-change

How Bahrain’s Monarchy changes the country’s demography to support its apartheid politics

The monarchy imports Sunnis from Pakistan, Syria and other countries and gives them citizenship in order to change the country’s demography:

Any solution to the current crisis in Bahrain needs to address the distortions of the island nation’s political economy.

This exploding population is confined to less than half the land mass, since vast royal properties and local and international military facilities are off-limits to ordinary Bahrainis (see figure 4). The result is acute overcrowding and housing shortages.

Any solution to the current crisis in Bahrain needs to address the distortions of the island nation’s political economy.


In a 2011 Gallup poll, 41 percent of Bahrainis said they had lacked the money to provide adequate shelter for their families over the previous twelve months. Extended Bahraini families are forced to pile into a single apartment—three or four brothers and their wives and children bunking with grandparents, one room per nuclear family.Check the source and read more about corruption in Bahrain.

Source:

http://carnegieendowment.org/2013/02/13/bahrain-s-shifting-sands/fg62

What does Bahrains opposition demand?

The mainstream opposition al-Wefaq is taking part in the talks. It wants a constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister to replace King Hamad’s uncle – in the job for an extraordinary 42 years. Equally threatening for the Al Khalifa dynasty, it is demanding a redrawing of gerrymandered constituency boundaries and equal access to government jobs for Shias, who face discrimination that sometimes borders on apartheid. State media has whipped up anti-Shia prejudice.

Wefaq also insists that the results of the dialogue be put to a referendum rather than be submitted to the king for approval – a crucial difference. Under pressure from the west Hamad did appoint a commission of enquiry into the 2011 events but he has yet to implement key recommendations.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/on-the-middle-east/2013/feb/13/middleeast-bahrain-saudi-gulf

Bahrain – clearly sectarian acts of the regime and their saudi helpers

Repression is across the board. Sometimes the masked security men who raid Shia villages at night also bulldoze Shia mosques and religious meeting places. At least 27 of these have so far been wrecked or destroyed, while anti-Shia and pro-government graffiti is often sprayed on walls that survive.

The government is scarcely seeking to conceal the sectarian nature of its repression. Defending the destruction of Shia mosques and husseiniyahs (religious meeting houses) it claims that they were constructed without building permission, but critics point out that one that was demolished was 400 years old. Nor is it likely that the government has been seized with a sudden enthusiasm for enforcing building regulations since the middle of March.

Source:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/05/16/anti-shia-pogroms-sweep-bahrain/

written by the well known journalist Patrick Cockburn, an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent.

Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he has written four books on the country’s recent history. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron Prize in 2006 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009.

Bahrain – How pro democratic peaceful demos where crushed in 2011

The suppression of the protesters came after Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council ? also known as the ‘kings’ club’ of six Gulf monarchs — sent 1,500 troops to Bahrain to aid repression which began on  March 15. It soon became clear that the government is engaged in a savage onslaught on the entire Shia community ? some 70 per cent of the population ? in Bahrain.

First came a wave of arrests with about 1,000 people detained, of whom the government claims some 300 have been released, though it will not give figures for those still under arrest.  Many say they were tortured and, where photographs of those who died under interrogation are available, they show clear marks of beating and whipping.

Facing little criticism from the US, otherwise so concerned about human rights abuses in Libya, the al-Khalifa family is ruthlessly crushing opposition at every level. Nurses and doctors in a health system largely run by Shia have been beaten and arrested for treating protesters. Teachers and students are being detained. Some 1,000 professional people have been sacked and have lost their pensions. The one opposition newspaper has been closed. Bahraini students who joined protests abroad have had their funding withdrawn.

Sometimes the anti-Shia bias is explicit. One pro-government newspaper prominently published a letter that compared the protesters to “termites” and the writer recommends exterminating the “white ants so they don’t come back.”

Al-Jazeera satellite television, based in and funded by neighboring Qatar, which played such a role in publicizing protests and their attempted repression, in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Libya, was initially much more reticent about events in Bahrain. But al-Jazeera revealed this week that the Bahraini police has been raiding girls’ schools, detaining and beating school girls, and is accused of threatening to rape them.

Usually troops and police make their raids on Shia districts at 1-4 am, dragging people from their beds and beating them in front of their families. Those detained face mistreatment and torture in prison. One pro-democracy activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, brought before a military court last week with severe facial injuries said he had suffered four fractures to the left side of his face, including a broken jaw that required four hours surgery.

Source:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/05/16/anti-shia-pogroms-sweep-bahrain/

written by the well known journalist Patrick Cockburn, an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent.

Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he has written four books on the country’s recent history. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron Prize in 2006 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009.

Bahrain – claims of the Bahrain Monarchy

The al-Khalifas are aware that their strongest card in trying to discredit the opposition is to claim it has Iranian links. US embassy cables revealed by Wikileaks show that the Bahrain government has continually making this claim to a sceptical US embassy over the years, but has never provided any evidence. This propaganda claiming Iranian plots is crude, but plays successfully in Sunni Gulf states that see an Iranian hand behind every Shia demand for equal rights and an end to discrimination. It also gets an audience in Washington, conscious that its Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, and fearful of anything that might strengthen Iran.

Source:

Anti-Shia Pogroms Sweep Bahrain

written by the well known journalist Patrick Cockburn, an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent.

Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he has written four books on the country’s recent history. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron Prize in 2006 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009.

Bahrain – the 2011 protests

The original February 14 protest movement was moderate, contained Sunni as well as Shia activists, and went out of its way to be non-sectarian. Its slogans included a demand that Bahrain’s powerful prime minister for the last 40 years, Shaikh Khalifa ibn Salman al-Khalifa, to step down and for fair elections.  It also wanted equal rights for all including an end to anti-Shia discrimination under which the majority were excluded from the 60,000-strong army, police and security forces. Security jobs went instead to Sunni recruits from Pakistan, Jordan, Syria and other Sunni states who were immediately given Bahraini citizenship.

Source:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/05/16/anti-shia-pogroms-sweep-bahrain/

written by the well known journalist Patrick Cockburn, an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent.

Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he has written four books on the country’s recent history. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron Prize in 2006 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009.

Bahrain: yet another country to supply the Syrian Rebels with Salafis

“19-year-old Abdurrahman al-Hamd left Bahrain for Syria, driven by a desire to fight in the jihad and to heed the many calls issued by Islamic centers for people to fight against the Syrian regime. On May 28, Abdurrahman returned home in a coffin.”

“Just a few days passed before further news emerged about the deaths of four more young men, which pushed the death toll to five Bahrainis killed in the span of just one week.”