BAHRAIN AND THE WEST - unpublished letter to Irish Times, 220412.


there are three key aspects of the Bahraini uprising that must be known:
Firstly, the uprising is hugely significant in proportion to the uprisings in neighbouring countries. Eighty people have been killed out of a small population of just over 1.2 million (0.6 million of these naturalised expatriates). This is equivalent to over 5000 dead in the Egyptian revolution. Nonetheless, the proportion of the population who are demonstrating has not elicited any serious expressions of concern from western powers nor serious coverage by the western media.
Secondly, the Bahraini authorities are playing the sectarian card against the protesters – invoking yet again, as occurred previously in Iraq, a conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslim, and the demonisation of the perceived regional evil - Iran.
The protesters on Pearl Roundabout in March 2011 were mainly Shia, due to the awful discrimination in all aspects of work and cultural life against this larger demographic group by the ruling Sunni elite. Yet many Sunnis were prominent amongst the protesters last year, including those arrested.
Thirdly and most importantly, the brutal suppression of the uprising in March 2011 by the Bahraini security forces was assisted by the western-backed Saudi military.
Western leaders have an appalling record of supporting and arming the despotic regimes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain Activist May Die from Hunger Strike

Bahrain Activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja May Die from Hunger Strike 
Bahraini democracy activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja may soon die in prison from a self-imposed hunger strike in the quest for the freedom of his country. Isn't it time you stood up for his freedom?
Demand the release of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, who is now on his 55th day of a hunger strike and may soon die from organ failure.
See here: Jailed Bahraini activist on hunger strike may die | AFP
Amnesty urges Bahrain to free activist on hunger strike | BBC
Bahrain hunger striker's life in danger, daughter says | CNN

Occupy Bahrain: The largest demonstration in Bahrain. We are the 99%


Bahrain - Link to great Al Jazeera video

Bahrain - Link to great Al Jazeera video

"This would be the beginning of our #revolution." How the hopes of #Bahrainis were shattered by government bullets |

Bahrain receives military equipment from UK despite violent crackdown

Bahrain receives military equipment from UK despite violent crackdown
Britain sold over £1m worth of weapons including rifles and artillery to Gulf kingdom during last year's unrest

Richard Norton-Taylor, Tuesday 14 February 2012 15.49 GMT
Article history

Bahraini security forces in Manama during clashes with protesters. Photograph: Mazen Mahdi/EPA
Britain has continued to sell arms to Bahrain despite continuing political unrest in the Gulf state, new official figures disclose.

According to the figures the government approved the sale of military equipment valued at more than £1m in the months following the violent crackdown on demonstrators a year ago. They included licences for gun silencers, weapons sights, rifles, artillery and components for military training aircraft.

Also cleared for export to Bahrain between July and September last year were naval guns and components for detecting and jamming improvised explosive devices. No export licences were refused.

Security forces in Bahrain fired teargas and stun grenades at protesters in pre-dawn skirmishes before Tuesday's first anniversary of the uprising in the Gulf kingdom. Armoured vehicles patrolled the capital, Manama, in a security clampdown after protesters flung volleys of petrol bombs at police cars. There was also a massive police presence in Shia Muslim villages ringing Manama, with helicopters buzzing overhead, underlining the concerns of the Sunni-Muslim-led monarchy about a new explosion of civil unrest by Bahrain's disgruntled Shia majority.

After the exposure a year ago of Britain's approval of arms sales, including crowd control equipment, guns, and ammunition to Bahrain, Libya and Egypt, the government revoked 158 export licences, including 44 covering military exports to Bahrain.

Isn't it time we backed Bahrain's revolution? New Statesman - 120212.

Isn't it time we backed Bahrain's revolution?
Posted by Sayed Mahdi Al-Modaressi - 12 February 2012 09:05
As the first anniversary of the uprising approaches, it is time for the west to reassess its support for the regime.

Protesters clash with police in Bahrain, 23 December 2011
"The she-camel has been impregnated" goes the old Arabic saying, suggesting a looming (usually disastrous) outcome which is all but inevitable. For the past 12 months, Bahrain's ruling monarchy has tried to abort a pregnancy which began in the frenzy of the Arab Spring - but the foetus has proved too mature. The country's mass uprising which began a year ago, on 14 February 2011, was the result of many decades of abuse.

Medieval-style absolutist rule in this island nation was never going to last forever, but the regime's stubbornly uncompromising approach to the Bahraini people's grievances is ensuring an accelerated downfall for the Al Khalifa family's 230-year old dynasty. A year on since the uprising began, just after that in Egypt, and despite the brutal crackdown, the prognosis for the Bahraini regime is bleaker than ever.

Three months after the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report found a systematic policy of abuse, torture and discrimination on the basis of sectarian affiliation, the regime of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah has failed to implement any tangible reforms to satisfy the opposition. The government's well-documented brutality, coupled with a sense of hopelessness, has resulted in an escalation of protests and almost total loss of authority over several key areas of the small Gulf kingdom. Townships such as Bani Jamrah (one of the country's fiercest anti-regime hotspots) is completely out of regime control after dark. The key suburb of Sitra, dubbed "capital of the revolution", is also a no-go zone for representatives of the government.

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