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Saudis, Alkhalifa show signs of political, moral fatigue heralding their defeat

The noose is tightening around the necks of the Saudis, prompting their allies to rush to their aid. As their losses in Yemen mount, it is becoming clearer by the day that the Saudis could not win the war they had launched against Yemen, supported by the US and UK. Yesterday they suffered one of their biggest losses in one day. A Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by the Yemenis, killing at least 12 of their elite forces including senior commanders. It was on combat mission in Ma’rib Province, attacking Yemeni civilians. Also yesterday US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis insisted a political process was the only option to break the stalemate. “Our goal is for that crisis down there [in Yemen] — that ongoing fight — be put in front of a U.N.-brokered negotiating team and try to resolve this politically as soon as possible,” Mattis told reporters aboard a military aircraft Tuesday en route to Riyadh. “It has gone on for a long time.”

Also, in a letter to Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday, Human Rights Watch said the Australian government should immediately halt military sales to Saudi Arabia following numerous unlawful Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen. Australia should also release details about military weapons and material it has sold to other members of the Saudi-led coalition carrying out the Yemen campaign and whether any Australian-made arms have been used in unlawful coalition attacks. In the past year, based on media reports, the Defence Department has approved four military export licenses to Saudi Arabia, but it has not released information on the types or quantities of arms and equipment sold. Since the Saudi-led coalition began its military campaign in Yemen in March 2015, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have documented numerous unlawful coalition airstrikes, some of them apparent war crimes, on homes, markets, schools, and hospitals.

Fears are growing for the safety of most prominent religious figure in the Eastern Province of Arabia who has languished in jail for the past year. His trial begain on Thursday 13th April on terrorist charges. Both Saudi and Alkhalifa regimes use terrorism to justify persecuting their political peaceful critics. Sheikh Hussain Al Radhi was arrested two months after the execution of Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr in January 2016, He had condemned the execution and was banned from leading the mass prayers. He called Al Nimr “the Master of Martyrs” and was abducted in March 2016 as he left Great Prophet Mosque at Al Rumaila town in the Eastern Province.

In a serious political snub to Bahrain’s dictator, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, NASUWT granted a Bahraini citizen its annual award. Mahdi Abu Deeb, President of the dissolved Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA) was given the International Solidarity Award for 2017. NASUWT held its annual conference on Saturday (April 15, 2017) in Manchester and presented the award to Abu Deeb in recognition of his commitment to fighting for the rights of teachers and for quality education in Bahrain. Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Mahdi has faced years of repression, violence and the loss of his liberty simply for standing up for the rights of teachers and challenging the ruling orthodoxy.”

In the week 10-16th April, at least ten citizens were arrested by regime’s forces, including one child. Since his arrest on 10th April, there has been no news of the whereabouts and welfare of 15-year old Mohammad Abdul Hussain Mirza. He was summoned to appear at the most notorious torture authority, the prosecution office on 10th April only to be handed to the torturers. He is another native citizen to be added to the long list of the disappeared Bahrainis.

While continuing their attacks on native Bahrainis, Alkhalifa tribal tyrants are showing signs of political and psychological fatigue, having realised that their situation is untenable. Despite their attempts to pretend business as usual, their failure to function as credible government is working against their interests. In recent days they have been humiliated to take different stands on several cases. First came their major defeat in the case of Sheikh Isa Qassim who remained steadfast in his refusal to recognise their corrupt judiciary. Second was their U-turn on Sheikh Ali Salman’s case. Last week they were humiliated into reducing his prison sentence from nine to four years. Thirdly, their attempt to close down the main liberal political society, Wa’ad, was rebuked by their masters in US and UK. They have now postponed their decision until 30th April. The Bahrainis insist on a new political structure to replace the antiquated tribal rule.

The F1 management team has been heavily criticised for insisting on holding the race in Bahrain. Many natives have been detained to pre-empt serious protests during the event. It has specifically been condemned for ignoring human rights deterioration in Bahrain despite pledging two years ago to take them on board.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

19th April 2017 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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