Labour promises to stop arming Saudis, Alkhalifa torture intensifies

Human rights and anti-war activists have welcomed the commitment by the Labour Party to ban exports of British-made weapons to all members of the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Yemen, Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow minister for peace has told Middle East Eye. “We should not be selling weapons to any state that uses, or could potentially use, weapons we supply for internal repression or for foreign wars,” said Fabian Hamilton MP in his first major interview since he was appointed shadow minister for peace and the Middle East last year. Hamilton said that the Labour leader’s recent calls to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its bombardment of Yemen would be widened to include all nations involved in the bloody conflict. It would be the first move by a future Labour government that would overhaul the arms sales regime to ensure exports would only be made to “states with a long history of using weapons solely for defensive purposes”. On the sales of arms to the Saudi-led coalition engaged in the bombardment of Yemen, he said: “I don’t believe we have any business providing weapons of war for proxy wars.”

The Saudi-led aggression in Yemen is beginning to hurt the people of the countries involved in this illegal war. Two days ago two UAE pilots were killed when their Apache helicopter crashed in a raiding mission. While Sudan lost several of its fighter aircrafts and more than 400 troops, both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are losing soldiers and mercenaries on daily basis. Alkhalifa tribal rule of Bahrain has also lost at least one F16 aircraft and several mercenaries. Al Qa’ida is expanding its influence in the areas under the Saudi control and is prepared to wage terrorist attacks on the West.

On a parallel track many have been disgusted by the Trump administration’s decision to supply Alkkhalifa tribal dictatorship with 16 fighter aircrafts at a cost of $3.8 billion. Bahrain’s annual budget is $9.6 billion. The deficit is $6.6 billion and the state’s debts are put at $23.6 billion. This means that the regime would spend more than the annual revenue on arming itself against the people. The intended F16 deal is thus intended to kill the people in three ways; bombing them, subjecting them to hunger due to lack of funds, and buying off any international negative reaction to the regime’s crimes.

The situation on the ground in Bahrain is extremely alarming. As the human rights crisis in Bahrain intensifies the regime is resorting to more vicious methods of revenge from the natives. This week young native, Mahdi Ahmad Meftah,16, has been enduring merciless torture to the extent that he had to undergo an emergency operation to remove one of his testicles. The use of electric torture on his private and sensitive parts has been so severe that it turned that part into burnt out chunk, threatening his life. His case has now become the latest in the most severe torture cases in recent times.

The phenomenon of the “disappeared” is escalating. In addition to the hundreds of detentions last year the number of those who are considered “disappeared” has reached 18. Nothing is known of those who had been snatched by masked members of the Death Squads over the past 12 months. For two weeks now, no news has been heard of Hassan Jaffar AlAbu. He was arrested at the beginning of October and taken to unknown location without any trace or contact. On 13th October two cousins; Mohammad Ali AlAmm and Khalil Ibrahim Al Amm were detained in a dawn raid on their home at the town of Aali. From Malikiya town, two youths were also detained; Ammar Hani and Sayed Ali, 18. They were severely beaten at the scene before being transferred to unknown location.

On Monday 16th October, regime’s Death Squads attacked the cells of the Bahrain 13, the leaders of the people, intimidating them, searching their belongings and threatening to impose more draconian measures against them. The leaders have been denied family visits for more than eight months. They receive minimum medical care and are subjected to continuous attacks and threats by the regime’s agents. Almost all international human rights bodies as well as the Bissiouni Commission have called for their release, but they have remained behind bars for the past seven years.

Ibrahim Sharif, the former secretary General of Wa’ad Society, has been summoned to appear before Alkhalifa prosecution office to answer for a tweet about the economic and political disasters committed by the regime. Tweeting comments that are not in line with the ruling tribe is now considered a crime. The trial of Sheikh Mohammad Saleh Al Qash’ami and his family has been postponed until 30th October. The whole family of this elderly native was snatched from their home at Barbar Town in February for sheltering a peaceful protester. They include his son, daughter and four other women.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
18th October 2017 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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