Bahrain; Third anniversary of Saudi occupation to be marked with defiance

As the third anniversary of the Saudi occupation of Bahrain approaches there have been frantic activities inside and outside the country. There are calls for the immediate withdrawal of the Saudi troops from that country because the native population are wholly against it. The Saudi forces invaded Bahrain on 14th March 2011 and participated in heinous crimes. The UK Government was informed of the invasion in advance but did not oppose it. In Bahrain the Revolution has been intensified against the ruling Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship which is accused of treachery. The dictator, Hamad bin Isa Alkhalifa, is accused of treason for inviting or accepting the Saudi occupation, compromising Bahrain’s sovereignty and seeking foreign and mercenary forces to kill Bahrainis. The killing last week of three mercenaries in an unexplained explosion has exposed the reality of the occupation by Saudi and Emirati forces.

The policy of kidnapping citizens and torturing them has continued unabated. On the eve of the National Day of Resistance Against Saudi Occupation at least 13 Bahrainis have been detained and 17 houses raided.  Aseel Ali and Hassan Abdul Karim were snatched from their homes at Al Qurayya Town by members of Alkhalifa Death Squads. They have been taken to an unknown destination and fears are growing for their safety. As the kangaroo courts pursued their policies of exacting revenge on Bahrainis, three youth were sentenced to three years imprisonment for taking part in anti-regime protests. Mohammad Mahdi, 19, Yousuf Al Sayegh, 17 and Yousuf Abdul Hadi, 16, were tortured and abused before their court appearance. From Al Ekr town, Ali Hassan Al Mughanni was arrested today from his home. Three others were arrested from Nuwaidrat: Ilias Hassan Marhoon, Ahmad Abd Ali Jum’a and Jaber Hilal. Mahmood Abdul Redha Al Shahrakkani was arrested at a check point in Jufair.

As the American president prepares to visit Saudi Arabia, pressure is mounting on USA to come clean of its immoral links to the Gulf dictatorial monarchies. Twenty eight American Middle East experts have signed a letter to Mr Obama urging him to raise the case of Bahrain with the Saudi king during the visit. Washington has been reluctant to support pro-democracy calls in that region and has been accused of adopting double standards in dealing with the world. Its silence on horrendous human rights abuses by the GCC dictatorships has been condemned by political and human rights activists, at a time when the GCC itself is fragmenting from within.

In London the Bahraini opposition block has undertaken several activities to mark the occasion. On Monday 10th March a Press Conference was held by Lord Avebury, the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee. Several speakers participated including Dr Mahmood Al Fardan who outlined the attack on the medical profession after the Saudi invasion. Rori Donaghy of the Emirates Centre for Human Rights outlined the serious abuses by the regime of that country against political activists. He said 128 political prisoners are languishing behind bars. Raza Kazmi, of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, presented grim picture of the serious human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday night, a gathering was held to mark the Saudi invasion and occupation of Bahrain. Anti-war and anti-arms trade activists pledged support to the Bahrainis who are resisting foreign occupation.

Mr Obama’s visit to Riyadh has prompted calls from human rights activists as well as academics to be more pro-active and work to alter the course of the American policy in the Gulf. On 10th March, The Policy Outlook website published an important article by Frederic Wehrey entitled: “A New US Approach to Gulf Security”. The author said that ”The United States must focus more on promoting political and security sector reforms in the Gulf that are critical to long-term regional stability by better integrating its use of military and diplomatic tools.”. He added further: “U.S. relations with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf are strained by divergent policies toward a changing Middle East, the Gulf countries’ fears of being abandoned by the United States, and unprecedented intra-Gulf tensions. Washington has attempted to reassure Gulf partners of the strength of the security alliance while calling for liberalizing reforms. Increasingly, however, the Gulf states’ domestic policies have put them at odds with these calls. Contrary to some assumptions, the goals of reassurance and reform need not contradict one another: underscoring the urgency of much-needed institutional changes reinforces the U.S. commitment to durable regional security.”

Bahrain Freedom Movement

12th March 2104

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