Archive | Bahrain

Bahrain to jail Qatar sympathisers

NOVANEWS
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Middle East Online 

Zio-Wahhabi family of Bahrain Thursday followed the United Arab Emirates in announcing that expressing sympathy for Qatar over sanctions imposed by its Gulf neighbours was an offence punishable by a lengthy jail term.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on Monday cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations that the emirate is a champion of extremist groups in the region.

Qatar firmly denies the allegations.

“Any expression of sympathy with the government of Qatar or opposition to the measures taken by the government of Bahrain, whether through social media, Twitter or any other form of communication, is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine,” a Bahraini Zio-Wahhabi interior ministry statement said.

Zio-Wahhabi family  UAE on Wednesday announced a similar decision, warning that offenders could face between three and 15 years in prison and a fine of 500,000 dirhams ($136,125, 120,715 euros) should they criticise the decision to boycott Qatar.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been rocked by unrest since security forces crushed Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

The authorities accuse Iran of backing the protesters and aiming to incite unrest in Shiite-majority Bahrain, a charge Tehran denies.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain’s strict cyber crime law prohibits the expression of dissent online, including via social media.

Nabeel Rajab, one of the country’s most high-profile activists, is currently on trial for a series of tweets criticising a Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led Arab military campaign in Yemen.

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Hezbollah: Qassem’s jail a ‘state crime’ by Bahrain regime

NOVANEWS
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Press TV 

Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has lambasted a suspended jail term given by a Bahraini regime court on Sunday to the country’s Shia majority leader Sheikh Isa Qassem.

The court convicted the spiritual leader of illegal collection of funds and money laundering and sentenced him to one year in jail suspended for three years. It also ordered him to pay $265,266 in fines.

“This sentence is a new crime added to a series of crimes against humanity perpetrated by the [Bahraini] regime,” a Hezbollah statement said.

The charges emanate from the collection of an Islamic donation called Khums, which in Shia Islam is collected and spent by a senior cleric in the interests of the needy.

Qassem also faces expulsion from the kingdom after authorities revoked his citizenship last year. His defense lawyers refused to attend the hearings, which they saw as an attack on the country’s Shia Muslims.

Since 2011, the kingdom has been the scene of peaceful anti-regime protests against the systematic abuse of the Shia population and discrimination against them.

The Bahraini regime has responded to the protests with excessive and lethal force, which has drawn international criticism.

​Bahrain’s perennial rulers are allies of the West, including the US which has its Fifth naval fleet based in the tiny Persian Gulf country.

On Sunday, hundreds of protesters marched in the capital Manama after the verdict was issued against Sheikh Qassem.

Qassem’s residence in his native village of Diraz is under siege by regime forces in the face of a sit-in held outside the building ever since the regime revoked his citizenship.

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FIFA boss rigs vote for the Nazi regime at last minute

NOVANEWS

FIFA boss rigs vote for Israel at last minute

Palestinian Football Association head Jibril Rajoub speaks, in a screenshot from the livestream of Thursday’s FIFA Congress in Bahrain. A motion on Palestinian football rights was abruptly withdrawn by FIFA bosses, a move the Palestinians denounced as illegal.

There were dramatic scenes at the FIFA Congress in Bahrain on Thursday as delegates prepared to vote on a motion on Palestinian rights violated by Israel.

At the last moment, FIFA boss Gianni Infantino intervened over objections from the Palestinian Football Association to replace the motion with a proposal to yet again delay action for almost another year.

The Palestinian Football Association has denounced the move as illegal.

Infantino’s heavy-handed move followed a personal phone call in recent days from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Earlier this week, the FIFA Council, the executive body of the world football organization, had already capitulated to Israeli pressure and ruled out a vote sanctioning Israel for allowing its league to include teams based in West Bank settlements.

All of Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law.

Moving goal posts

But there remained on the agenda a motion calling for “official recognition of the Palestinian Football Association’s entitlements to all of its rights as described in the FIFA Statutes.”

FIFA rules bar national associations from holding matches on the territory of another member without permission – as Israel does in the West Bank without Palestinian permission – so this motion would still have highlighted the Israel Football Association’s complicity in the military occupation of the West Bank.

The heads of the Palestinian and Israeli football associations made speeches for and against the motion. Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, at one point held up a photo he said showed Israeli soldiers preventing Palestinians from playing.

But after Rajoub spoke, Infantino surprised the Palestinians by substituting their motion with a new one calling for any decision to be delayed until “before end of March 2018”:

The Palestinian Football Association’s lawyer stood up and objected. He said that Infantino’s action violated FIFA rules and that if the council wanted to change the motion they would have to propose an amendment following normal parliamentary procedures.

But Infantino overruled the objection and called a vote on his substitute motion. He also promised verbally that action would be taken by October.

The motion to delay passed by 138-50.

Palestinian Football Association vice president Susan Shalabi told Al Jazeera that FIFA’s action was illegal.

“It illegally blocked the motion which was proposed in accordance with FIFA’s statutes,” Shalabi said. “It is an illegal act by the highest body in FIFA.”

“We’ve also seen clear intervention by the [Israeli] government in the business of the Congress,” Shalabi added. “FIFA has suspended member states in the past due to government interference and now it has allowed Israel to do exactly the same.”

Delays and excuses

Infantino had also claimed that action was not possible now because the report from a special monitoring committee on Israel and Palestine was not ready. But this is a gross mischaracterization.

Although the report of the two-year old committee headed by South African anti-apartheid struggle veteran Tokyo Sexwale had been repeatedly delayed, it was indeed presented to the Palestinian and Israeli football associations in March, and each had been given a month to respond.

The only reason it had not been finalized is because the Israelis adamantly rejected it.

In its response to the report, leaked to The Electronic Intifada earlier this week, the Israel Football Association outright denies the existence of an Israeli military occupation and accuses the Sexwale committee of anti-Israel bias.

On Wednesday, Palestinian Football Association head Rajoub wrote to FIFA bosses expressing dismay at the council’s decision to defer any vote on Israeli settlement teams and urging support for its motion.

“The Palestine FA has submitted a proposal about basic rights,” the letter states. “Why this proposal is under such vehement attack by non-football entities raises so many questions by what I am sure forms a majority of the FIFA members.”

Bahrain deports human rights defender

The term “non-football entities” certainly refers to the Israeli government and its intense efforts to pressure FIFA to block action on its violations.

While Israeli officials have been given a free hand to lobby FIFA directly – including the personal intervention with Infantino by Netanyahu – the scale has been weighted against those advocating for Palestinian rights.

Bahrain detained and deported Human Rights Watch staffer Omar Shakir who was traveling to the Gulf country to advocate for action on Israel’s violations at the FIFA Congress:

Human Rights Watch has detailed in a report how FIFA and the Israel Football Association jointly profit from Israel’s illegal colonization of the West Bank and the settlement teams that play there.

The Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz called the high-level maneuvers that resulted in Israel once again avoiding any accountability a “win for Israel.”

In a tweet, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel accused FIFA bosses of “working against Palestinian rights,” adding that the congress had been “hijacked by Israeli bullying tactics.”

It appears that at FIFA, as in so much of its campaign against Palestinian rights, Israel only wins when the referees are on its side.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, BahrainComments Off on FIFA boss rigs vote for the Nazi regime at last minute

The UAE’s Zio-Wahhabi family Deals With the Nazi regime

NOVANEWS

Open Secrets: The UAE’s Deals With Israel

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by Mohamed K. Mohamed

After 69 years of occupation, oppression, and exile, the overall situation for Palestinians on the ground remains bleak, if not worse than before. On the other hand, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement has made significant progress in recent years by encouraging economic, academic, and cultural boycotts of Israel. These high-profile BDS campaigns helped convince major international companies and investors to divest from the Israeli market.

But, as people from Europe all the way to New Zealand begin to disassociate themselves from Israel, Arab Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seem to be regressing in the opposite direction.

This week, the UAE participated inIniohos 2017,”a joint military exercise with the air forces of Greece, Italy, the United States, and Israel. This is not the first time that Emirati pilots have flown alongside Israelis. Last year, the UAE also participated in the Red Flag” exercise in Nevada, and it is reportedly taking part this year too.

The UAE’s collaboration with Israel goes beyond these multiparty training exercises. In 2015, Israel established its first diplomatic mission in the UAE in order to represent itself at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is based in Abu Dhabi. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that this office is strictly for IRENA related activities, and that its establishment does not represent a change in policy towards Israel, which the UAE refuses to recognize.

Considering that in 2009 Israel supported the UAE’s bid against Germany to become the headquarters of IRENA, it is quite clear that UAE policy has in fact shifted, albeit unofficially. It is extremely unlikely that Israel provided its backing without prior guarantees from the UAE.

Also, despite what the UAE claims, it is likely that this unconventional diplomatic mission will engage in activities unrelated to IRENA and will serve to narrow the gap in communication between the two countries. Given that Israel has engaged in extensive spying against its number one ally, it is safe to say that the Israeli mission in Abu Dhabi will not hesitate to provide at least some kind of support for Mossad agents plotting in the UAE.

Furthermore, trade between the two countries is an open secret. According to a 2012 report, the UAE’s Critical National Infrastructure Authority has made business deals with several Israeli firms. This includes an $800 million contract with AGT, which is a Swiss-based company owned by Israeli businessman Mati Kochavi.

This deal provided “Falcon Eye,” a comprehensive surveillance and security system to protect the UAE’s “strategic infrastructure and oil fields.” A Middle East Eye analysis of publicly available flight data revealed that a private jet is secretly flying between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, with a brief stop in Amman. The company that operates the jet, PrivatAir, is based in Geneva, so it is possible that Mati Kochavi is the secret Israeli guest of the UAE.

These secret ties with Israel are believed to be cultivated with the help of Mohammed Dahlan, a former strongman of the Palestinian Authority living in exile in the UAE since 2011, currently acting as security adviser of the UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Dahlan is a shady figure in Palestinian politics accused by many of financial corruption and collaboration with Israel. Given that Avigdor Lieberman prefers Dahlan as successor to Mahmoud Abbas, it seems quite likely that Dahlan is indeed the primary connection between the UAE and Israel.

So far, the UAE has engaged Israel quietly and under the table, with intermediaries and indirect transactions serving as cornerstones of the relationship. This gives the government a degree of plausible deniability to avoid facing serious criticism from the Emirati people, who are supportive of the Palestinian cause.

At the same time, it seems as if the UAE is subtly signaling to its people and to the region that normalization of relations with Israel is coming and has already started. The fact that the Emirati flag appears on the Iniohos 2017 insignia along with the Israeli flag suggests that the UAE is not too concerned with the backlash of public opinion. Of course, it is helpful that these events are censored by the Gulf Arab media (at quick glance, Al Mayadeen and RT Arabic are the only major Arabic-language outlets that mentioned the military exercise).

In November, UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed stated that, “We in the UAE commit to continue our solidarity and our political and economic support to the Palestinian people, based on our belief in their just cause.” If this is true, then why does the UAE purchase Israeli security technologies, which have been developed and tested on the backs of the Palestinian people and are directly involved in their oppression? This is a far cry from the legacy of the UAE’s founder, Sheikh Zayed, who actively provided humanitarian, political, and moral support to Palestinians.

The UAE’s underhanded dealings with Israel, aided by Mohammed Dahlan and facilitated by countries like Jordan, provide a sobering and disappointing reminder that Palestinians are being betrayed by some of the people closest to them.

Photo: An F-22 Raptor participating in the 2016 Red Flag exercise

Mohamed Mohamed is the Executive Director of The Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, where he majored in Political Science and completed his senior thesis on statelessness and its practical implications on Palestinians living in the refugee camps of Lebanon. He also earned an M.A. in International Relations and an M.S. in International Political Economy from the University of Texas at Dallas.  He has written articles about Palestine issues that have been featured on Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada, and others. Prior to joining The Jerusalem Fund, Mohamed campaigned and worked for a Palestinian-American city councilman and mayoral candidate in the city of Richardson, Texas.

Republished, with permission, from The Jerusalem Fund.

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Zio-Wahhabi war in Yemen مع شعب اليمن في الذكرى الثانية للعدوان السعودي، وضد الارهاب الذي يستهدف الآمنين  

NOVANEWS

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العصابة الخليفية تعلم ان القضية في البحرين لا تنحصر بالانتهاكات الفظيفة لحقوق الانسان، بل تتصل بالتحول السياسي نحو نظام حكم يلبي مطالب الشعب ويمنحه حق تقرير مصيره واختيار النظام الذي يناسبه. وتعلم ايضا انها لا تستطيع البقاء في الحكم بدون ممارسة الانتهاكات بدون توقف. وتعتقد ان القمع هو السبيل للبقاء في الحكم، وبدونه ستتصاعد ثورة الوطن ضدهم حتى تسقطهم. ويعلم العالم كذلك ان الاستبداد لا يمكن ان يحترم حقوق الانسان، فهو عدو للانسانية والاخلاق والحياة. فالطاغية يستضعف البشر ويضحي بهم من اجل ان يبقى.

يخوض الطغاة الحروب بابناء غيرهم، اما هم وابناؤهم فيعيشون في ابراجهم العاجية بعيدا عن هموم الناس ومصائبهم. في السابق كان الحاكم العادل هو الذي يتقدم الصفوف مدافعا عن الدين والوطن والشعب، هذا ما كان يفعله رسول الله محمد عليه افضل الصلاة والسلام، الذي كان يتقدم الجنود ويقاتل اعداء الله، حتى قال علي عليه السلام: كنا اذا اشتد الوطيس لدنا برسول الله. وعلي هو الآخر كان قائد المعارك ضد المشركين. يتصدى لمقاتلي المشركين ليحمي بيضة الاسلام. لم يتخلف علي عن معركة قط في عهد رسول الله وحتى عندما كان خليفة للمسلمين. اما حكام اليوم فيخوضون الحروب بأبناء غيرهم، ويستخدمون اموال الناس لاستقدام المرتزقة الذين يضطرون للتضحية بارواحهم للاسترزاق لعيالهم. هؤلاء مستعدون لارتكاب جرائم الحرب تنفيذا لاوامر الطغاة والديكتاتوريين. فالسعوديون يستاجرون شباب السنغال لاستخدامهم ادوات لقتل اليمنيين. ثم يقدمون المال لديكتاتور السودان العسكري ليبعث بشباب ذلك البلد لكي يخوضوا حروب غيرهم في مقابل الحصول على المال. ويشن حكام الامارات الحروب الجائرة على الآخرين ليحققوا لانفسهم انتصارات زائفة، يدفع ثمنها الآخرون بارواحهم.

في عالم يمتهن حقوق الانسان ويستخدمها دعاية اعلامية لنظام عالمي يقوده الغرب ضد الشعوب الاخرى. والخليفيون الذين بعثوا بابناء غيرهم الى اليمن والى شوارع القرى والمدن البحرانية انما يمارسون تلك المهمة القذرة لكي يحافظوا على الحكم الذي اغتصبوه من الشعب البحراني الاصلي (شيعة وسنة) بقوة غيرهم. ومن يحضر الى جنيف يشاهد مرتزقة الطغاة الخليفيين والسعوديين يقدمون شهادات الزور لنظام مجرم ارتكب ابشع الجرائم بحق الوطن والشعب، مستغلا الاموال التي نهبها من بطون الجياع.

يسعى الخليفيون المجرمون لاستبدال شعب البحرين بغيره، بعد ان وضعوا ايديهم على امواله ومقدراته، واستخدموها لقتله وابادته واستبداله بالاجانب. في جنيف يتجسد الزور الخليفي بابشع صوره واشكاله، مستفيدا من قوة المال النفطي السعودي الذي يستخدم لشراء مواقف الدول الا خرى وشهادات الزور بهتانا وظلما. ويشعر نشطاء حقوق الانسان انهم يخوضون معارك لا يضمنون نتائجها.

فالحقوقيون البحرانيون ممنوعون من حضور دورات مجلس حقوق الانسان، باوامر رسمية، ومن يخاف ذلك يعتقل بعد عودته. وهذا ما حدث للناشطة الحقوقية السيدة ابتسام الصايغ التي اعتقلت مطلع هذا الاسبوع لدى عودتها من جنيف. فقد تعرضت للاعتقال وسوء المعاملة والتهديد بالانتقام من عائلتها مع سحب جواز سفرها ومنعها من السفر لجنيف مستقبلا. وما تعرضته له تلك السيدة اصبح ممارسة للعصابة الخليفية المجرمة مع نشطاء حقوق الانسان البحرانيين. انه فصل آخر من الصراع بين السكان الاصليين (شيعة وسنة) مع هذه العصابة المجرمة التي تمارس العدوان بحق الشعبين اليمني والبحراني.

ومن الضرورة بمكان استحضار معاناة الشعب اليمني في الذكرى الثانية للحرب المفروضة التي يشنها السعوديون ومرتزقتهم على ابناء اليمن منذ 26 مارس 2015. عامان من العدون الذي تقوده السعودية كانا الاشد عنفا في التاريخ اليمني الحديث، لكنهما واعدان بسقوط قوى البغي والعدوان طال الزمن والقصر. لقد استغرب العالم من صمود اهل اليمن امام العدوان الذي تشارك فيه قوى كبرى طالما خدعت العالم بمقولات الديمقراطية وحقوق الانسان، بينما تشارك في ابشع حرب عرفتها المنطقة في السنوات الاخيرة.

وازاء هذا العدوان يقف العالم مدانا بالتواطؤ في العدوان، والصمت على المجازر التي يرتكبها السعوديون وعصاباتهم المجرمة التي لا تعرف الرحة ولا مكان للاخلاق في قاموسها. انها نسخ من العصابات التي تصدت لرسول الله وسعت للقضاء على رسالته واستئصلا دينه، ولكن كان الله لها بالمرصاد. فتصدى لها ابطال الاسلام وفي مقدمتهم محمد بن عبد الله وابن عمه علي ابن ابي طالب، وهزموا فلولهم مرارا وسحقوا رموزهم وارسلوهم الى مزبلة التاريخ.

ان قصة الاسلام عنوان للصراع بين الحق الالهي الذي تمثله الرسالات السماوية وآخرها الاسلام المحمدي، والشر الذي تمثله قوى الطغيان وآخرها التحالف القبلي الذي تصدى لذلك الدين. خمسة عشر قرنا مرت على ذلك الصراع وما تزال اطرافه في مواقعها، فلم يهزم الاسلام او يتقهقر ولم تنتصر قوى التحالف القبلي التي تعادي قيم الدين المتمثلة بالايمان والحرية والعدالة. مع ذلك فاتباع محمد بن عبد الله الداعون الى تلك القيم يعانون اليوم، كما عانى بلا وسلمان وعمار وسواهم في مطلع عهد الرسالة. ما تزال “شورى التجار” حسب المصطلح الذي استخدمه الشاعر مظفر النواب تحارب حملة راية الحق ودعاة الايمان والحرية والعدالة. وهيهات تهزم رايتهم، او يتلاشى وجودهم او يتصدع صفهم. فهم يحملون رسالة الله الى البشر ويدافعون عن تلك القيم لكي يحرروا الانسان “يضع عنهم إصراهم والاغلال التي كانت عليهم

وفي الذكرى الثانية للعدوان على اليمن، تتضح حقيقة القوى التي تمارس العدوان، ويتضح عداؤها للقيم التي طرحها الاسلام وروجها محمد واصحابه. وقد تحالفت الاحزاب مجتمعة على الباطل ليقتلوا اهل اليمن، ولكن ما ابعدهم عن النصر واقربهم للهزيمة. شعب البحرين وقف مع اهل اليمن، وشجب ابناؤه تلك الحرب الجائرة، وغضب الخليفيون المشاركون في ذلك العدوان الاجرامي، وسجنوا من انتقد ذلك العدوان، واولهم المناضل فاضل عباس الذي حكم الطاغية الخليفي عليه بالسجن خمسة اعوام لانتقاده الحرب على اليمن. ونبيل رجب هو الآخر، يدفع ثمن مواقفه الرافضة للحرب. مع ذلك هزمت الاحزاب المعتدية، وبدأ الوعي العالمي يتصدى لعدوانها، ويضغط على الحكومات الغربية لوقف السلاح عن السعودية، رأس الحربة في المشروع العدواني البغيض.

وقد فات هذه الدول ان دعمها انما هو دعم للارهاب الذي ضرب اليمن والعراق وسوريا وليبيا، ثم امتد الى فرنسا وبلجيكا، ووصل الآن الى لندن. هذا الارهاب الذي تأسس على الفكر الوهابي الذي يتبناه آل سعود ويوفرون الملياات لنشرة، مدعوم كذلك بسياسات الرياض التي استخدمته سلاحا ضد مناوئيها. وما الاعتداء على البرلمان الذي يعتبره البريطانين رمزا لديمقراطيتهم، الا حلقة اخرى ضمن المشروع السعودي الذي يرى في الديمقراطية تهديدا للحكم القبلي الذي يقوم على اساسه. فليس من الاسلام في شيء استهداف الابرياء وقتل المدنيين ونشر الرعب بين البشر، فذلك فساد في الارض يمقته الله ورسوله وكل من لديه ايمان او انسانية او اخلاق.

لهذا يصر شعبنا على مواصلة ثورته المظفرة باذن الله، ليشارك في تحقيق التغيير المنشود الذي يستبدل الحكم القبلي بحكم عادل بايدي الشعب، ويمنع الفساد ويتصدى للارهاب والاحتلال� ويسعى لاقامة نظام سياسي على اسس العدل والمساواة. تلك هي رسالة شعب البحرين في الذكرى الثانية للعدوان السعودي الاجرامي على اليمن، وسيواصل لتحقيقها معتمدا على الله وعلى نفسه وصابرا محتسبا حتى يأتي الله بأمره.

اللهم ارحم شهداءنا الابرار، واجعل لهم قدم صدق عندك، وفك قيد أسرانا يا رب العالمين

حركة احرار البحرين الاسلامية

24 مارس 2017

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Please Boycott UB40

NOVANEWS

Tom Jones and UB40 to perform in Bahrain despite Zio-Wahhabi crackdown

British musicians and Latin Pop superstar Enrique Iglesias to perform in Bahrain despite calls from human rights activists to cancel their shows

A Bahraini woman poses for a selfie during a concert of US singer John Legend in 2015 (AFP)

A string of high-profile musicians, including Enrique Iglesias and Tom Jones, are set to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars by performing in Bahrain despite Zio-Wahhabi regime brutal crackdown on dissent, Bahraini rights activists denounced on Thursday.

Welsh superstar Jones and British reggae act UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue are set to perform at the state-backed Spring of Culture festival in Bahrain Harbour, which is organised and part funded by the Bahrain Zio-Wahhabi regime for ‘Culture and Antiquities’, the country’s ministry of culture.

UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue is set to take to the stage on Friday night while Jones, who is known for his full-throated baritone and has sold more than 100 million records, will perform at the festival’s “electrifying finale” on 7 April.

Spanish artist Iglesias, known as the King of Latin Pop, is set to play a week after Jones at the controversial Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix.

However, campaigners in the country have attacked the musicians for agreeing to put a “superstar face on authoritarianism” at state-backed events in Bahrain, where the Zio-Wahhabi-dominated government has been accused of widespread human rights abuses, including the use of excessive force against protesters, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention and torture.

The planned performances by Tom Jones and UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue come after an outcry over a performance by John Legend at the same festival in 2015. Middle East Eye can now reveal that the American star was paid $435,000 for that performance, which was backed and promoted by the Bahraini Zio-Wahhabi regime.

Bahraini women hold flags and posters during a demonstration to mark the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising, on February 12, 2016 (AFP)

Bahrain treasures its close relationships with London, and this year’s festival includes not only a number of UK acts, but a celebration of 200 years of British-Bahraini ties. A spokesperson for Amnesty International said the concert was part of the “Bahraini government’s ongoing efforts to polish Bahrain’s image in yet another PR stunt and gloss over the reality that Bahrain is a place where even a tweet will land you behind bars.”

Maryam al-Khawaja, a Bahraini exile and spokesperson for campaign group Bahrain Watch, told MEE that the musicians should “reconsider going to Bahrain” as their presence is “helping the Bahrain regime whitewash the ongoing human rights crimes”.

She added that by performing in the country they were saying that the “voices of the Bahraini people struggling for human rights and democracy… do not matter.”

‘The Bahraini government  (…) are enlisting foreign celebrities like Tom Jones to put a fun, “superstar” face on authoritarianism’

– Husain Adbulla, ADHRB

Zio-Wahhabi regime of Bahrain is accused of expanding a human rights crackdown amid calls for the release of Nabeel Rajab, a human rights activist who helped lead 2011 protests in the country.

Rajab, whose trial has repeatedly been delayed, awaits sentencing on a charge of spreading “false news” via Twitter over his posts about the ongoing Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led war in Yemen, which is backed by Bahrain, and allegations of torture by authorities at a local prison.

Since the start of the most recent crackdown nearly a year ago, scores of activists have been imprisoned or forced into exile. Bahrain’s main Shia opposition group has been dismantled and lawmakers recently approved military trials for civilians, amid reports of frequent low-level clashes in Shia areas.

“The Bahraini government has taken some of the most spectacularly repressive measures we’ve seen in years, such as pushing military trials for civilians, restoring arrest powers for the secret police, and even executing torture victims. Now the authorities are predictably trying to distract from these severe abuses with a different kind of spectacle, enlisting foreign celebrities like Tom Jones to put a fun, “superstar” face on authoritarianism,” Husain Adbulla, executive director of American for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, told MEE.

Bahraini protesters sit on the sidewalk during clashes with riot police following a demonstration to mark the fifth anniversary of the Bahraini uprising (AFP)

In an interview with MEE, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) called for Tom Jones to cancel his visit. He said: “There is no worse a time for him to perform there. People are being tortured, sentenced to death and executed in Bahrain. Innocent family members are arrested to blackmail critics, and a de facto martial law has been passed. Music should never be used to please dictators and airbrush repression.” 

Alwadaei is a regular critic of the Zio-Wahhabi regime in Bahrain and earlier this month Human Rights Watch reported that members of his family in Bahrain had been detained “as part of a campaign of retribution in response to his human rights work.”

The call for a boycott from Alwadaei was also joined by Jawad Fairooz, a former Bahraini MP and political exile in London. He said that the Welsh singer, who also appeared as a judge on the BBC television show The Voice, should “play a song from the distance in symphony and support of all victims of Bahraini tyrant regime.”

“Music should never be used to please dictators and airbrush repression”

– Sayed Alwadaei, BIRD

This isn’t the first time that campaigners in the country have complained of Hollywood and music industry support for Bahrain though; in 2012 they condemned a visit to the country by Kim Kardashian and in 2015 John Legend was attacked over his performance at the Spring of Culture festival, the same festival that Tom Jones and UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue are set to perform at.

John Legend’s post on Instagram after his performance in Bahrain (screen-grab)

Legend’s performance prompted accusations of hypocrisy as it came after he had offered words of encouragement to democracy protesters during his Oscar acceptance for “Glory”, the theme song for the film Selma, about the US struggle for civil rights in the 1960s.

Legend refused to reveal at the time how much he was paid for the performance, but MEE has now seen official Bahraini government documents detailing a payment of $435,000 to the singer.

MEE contacted representatives for Enrique Iglesias, Tom Jones and UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue but did not receive any response.

UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue is one of two bands using the UB40 name and is currently in a legal dispute over the ownership of the name after six of the original band, including Robin Campbell, sought an injunction and damages.

MEE has contacted Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities for comment.

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Bahrain: Zio-Wahhabi regime approves military trials for civilians

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Zio-Wahhabi regime  has approved trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.

The Consultative Council, the upper house of the Bahraini parliament, voted for the measure Sunday, less than two weeks after it was approved by the Council of Representatives, the lower house.

The move saw Manama manipulating part of its constitution, which defines the identities of those who can stand trial at such courts.

Neighboring Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime, whose influence radically sways Bahrain, has likewise redefined its anti-terror laws to expand the powers of its security forces in the face of political dissent.

Bahrain has been witnessing peaceful anti-regime protests since 2011. High-handed suppression of the rallies has led to widespread imprisonments and scores of deaths.

Hundreds of the detainees have already faced summary proceedings at military courts.

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Britain ignores Bahrain’s human rights record to pursue business interests with dictatorship

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By Marwa Osman | RT 

Britain’s multi-million pound trade and aid strategy for programs in Bahrain needs exposed as the tiny gulf kingdom continues its chain of tyranny and torture against the Shia majority.

The British government’s unreserved condemnation of torture and inhumane treatment and punishment seems to vanish when it comes to making more money. As kidnaps, imprisonments and political executions are on the rise in Bahrain, activists and Bahraini opposition figures are troubled by the fact that the UK government is spending taxpayers’ money on these trade and aid programs, especially given the clear risk of complicity in abuse.

Habib Mohamed Habib is the latest Bahraini civilian to be kidnapped from his home the morning of Friday March 3rd 2017 as security forces deployed armored vehicles in and around Diraz, in a continuation of the Al Khalifa Monarchy’s oppression against the Shiite Friday prayers as part of their uninterrupted crackdown on civilians since 2011 in the Bahraini capital Manama.

As Habib’s family struggle to know the whereabouts of their son, traveling in and around Diraz is nothing less than a nightmare with traffic jams at every entry point of the town, which is witnessing an increase in tightened security at its checkpoints.

Meanwhile, since last June the citizens of Diraz have been experiencing an internet blockade every day between 7pm and 1am as a result of a service restriction order from the Bahraini authorities. The citizens of Diraz are increasingly being cut off from the outside world. They cannot even contact emergency services, and if somebody is caught aiding a fellow citizen he/she will disappear like Habib and hundreds of others like him.

Last week alone, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights BHRC documented a total of 17 arbitrary arrests, among whom were six children. In the same week, 129 marches took place in 40 villages in Bahrain to denounce the chain of repressions and kidnappings targeting peaceful protestors and Friday prayers’ attendees. BHRC reported that 26 marches during the same week were attacked by the Bahraini riot police and a total of 19 persons were judged in 6 politically motivated cases.

It is an open secret in Bahrain that after 6 years of constant crackdowns on millions of protestors who clamored for social justice and political self-determination, the ruling Al Khalifa regime has managed to get away with brutalizing, imprisoning, torturing and killing their own civilians under nonsensical pretexts. Although the monarchy has often expressed its desire to negotiate a political solution, promises of change have translated on the ground to a systematic crackdown.

The Al Khalifa regime has utterly failed to bear its responsibility in creating a space of dialogue in order to foster harmony, cohesion and tolerance. Instead of pushing for respect of cultural diversities amongst its citizens as a fundamental basis of democracy and peace-building, the authorities have politicized freedom of religion and successfully used it as a pretext for the incitement of hatred, violence and racial discrimination against groups of individuals and religious minorities.

International community’s deafening silence

Despite the fact that the Bahraini authorities have been only tightening restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and association and continuing to curtail the right to peaceful assembly while detaining and charging several human rights defenders, banning others from traveling abroad, dissolving the main opposition group and stripping more than 80 people of their Bahraini citizenship, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has largely remained silent on the situation in Bahrain.

According to a joint NGO letter to Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council, Bahrain’s courts continued to play a key role last year in issuing repressive orders and granting the authorities broad discretionary powers to revoke Bahrainis’ citizenship, in some cases leaving them stateless.

The ultimate repressive order was issued on January 9, 2017 by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation upheld death sentences against three protestors convicted of killing police including three police officers in a bomb attack.

Sami Mushaima (42), Ali Al-Singace (21) and Abbas Al-Samea (27), who were executed on the morning of January 15, 2017 by firing squad, were reported by Bahrain Center for Human Rights BHRC to have been tortured during interrogation to force them to confess to the bomb attack. According to the BHRC, the lawyers of the executed men were not given access to all the hearings against the defendants, nor allowed to cross-examine prosecution witnesses during court hearings.

The shocking part about the atrocities inflicting the Bahrainis is no longer the blatant violations of the Al Khalifa monarchy as much as it is the international community turning a blind eye to the Bahraini people’s legitimate struggle for democratic rights.

UK government complicit in oppression

The US and the UK are two major western states supposedly committed to supporting human rights, democratic values, free speech and political self-determination, while, at the same time, are flagrantly partnering with dictatorships like that of the Bahraini Monarchy to advance their foreign agenda.

For instance, the government of the United Kingdom signed what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) called a “landmark defense agreement” with the Gulf island kingdom of Bahrain in 2014. Clearly ongoing human rights abuses committed by those partners on their own citizens are not considered a shared strategic and regional threat especially when Bahrain is home to a major Royal Navy base. The multi-million-pound Royal Navy facility in Bahrain, which was founded in November 2016 housing up to 600 UK military personnel, became the staging-post for Britain in the Middle East and is designed to assert influence over the Gulf. Bahrain has paid most of the £30million-plus cost, with the UK contributing around £7.5million.

During the opening of the new Naval Support Facility (NSF) in Manama, Britain’s first permanent military base in the region since 1971, the Telegraph published an OpEd by Fawaz bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Ambassador to London, who claimed that King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa outlined the Gulf Cooperation Council’s interest in a free trade agreement between the UK and the GCC, which would significantly increase the UK’s access to the GCC’s £1.3 trillion market; a market estimated to grow by a further £400 billion by 2020.

Relative to its size, Bahrain already hosts a large number of British companies. The Bahraini Ambassador to London put the figures at “500 British brands, 90 British company branches, and 350 Bahraini-British business partnerships”. These businesses operate in some of Bahrain’s key sectors, including banking, accounting, law and industry. Meanwhile bilateral trade between Bahrain and the UK generated a staggering £432 million in 2015 alone, which would simply explain why the UK would choose to remain silent on all the human rights violations in the tiny gulf kingdom.

These bilateral relations are signed and sealed with Bahraini blood, says Ali Alaswad, former Bahraini Member of Parliament who was elected in October 2010, but resigned in February 2011 in response to the Governments’ crackdown on peaceful democracy protesters.

After his home was targeted by security forces, AlAswad left Bahrain and now resides in London where he continues his political work to achieve a democratic Bahrain. As I spoke with MP AlAswad, he emphasized that the UK’s current disappointing stance towards ignoring the human rights violations in Bahrain provides “a green light to the Bahraini government to abuse the basic human rights of the civilians which permits it to become more violent against the Shia majority and the Bahraini opposition.”

AlAswad told me “it doesn’t matter who you are in Bahrain, if you dare to demand for your basic rights then you will be in grave danger, which is why if the UK government as a strategic ally to the Bahraini government doesn’t use its ties as a strong card to support the oppressed Bahraini people to at least secure their basic human rights as enlisted in the declaration of human rights, then the UK is whitewashing the Bahraini authorities’ shocking human rights record by deliberately blocking official criticism of the Kingdom especially at international forums like the UN”.

The UK government is now seen by human rights activists and Bahraini opposition figures as a complicit in the tiny gulf kingdom’s tyranny against the outcry of the legitimate and basic demands of the Bahraini civilians until an official statement is issued from the UK government to condemn the acts of oppression of the Bahraini monarchy against its people.

“How do you expect the majority of the population to react when they see their leaders and clerics being detained, unlawfully imprisoned and even sometimes deported from their own country?” asks MP AlAswad.

Sheikh Ali Salman, a Shiite cleric and head of the Al-Wefaq opposition party, is now sentenced to serve nine years in jail for allegedly inciting hatred and calling for regime change by force.

The Bahraini authorities then went overboard when they stripped the highest religious authority in the country Sheikh Isa Qassim, a 79-year-old cleric, of his citizenship in June 2016 over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence. This happened a week after the government of Bahrain suspended the Shia opposition group al-Wefaq.

The implications of this arrest is sending shockwaves on the streets of Manama, Diraz, Sanabes, Karbabad, Karzakan and Barbar with protestors refusing to back down. This resistance is prompting even more oppression and kidnapping from the Bahraini authorities.

Earlier this week, Al-Wefaq Deputy Secretary General, Sheikh Hussein al-Daihi, said through his twitter account, that targeting Ayatollah Qassim is triggered by his brave and firm stances, to demand legitimate rights for the oppressed Bahraini people. The deputy SG also stressed that Ayatollah Qassim is a red line, and the repercussions of crossing that line would go beyond the country’s borders.

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BFM Arabic Statement 10th March 2017  

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الحرية والنصر للشيخ عيسى والهزيمة والعار للاحتلال

عندما دعا “علماء البحرين” لفعاليات متميزة في الايام الخمسة التي تسبق 14 مارس، يوم محاكمة سماحة الشيخ عيسى احمد قاسم، وصفوا تلك الايام بانها “استثنائية”. ومن اسباب ذلك ما يعتمل في نفوس البحرانيين من غضب عارم نتيجة الاضطهاد الذي يمارسه الطاغية وعصابته الخليفية المجرمة على الشعب والوطن، وعلى الشيخ عيسى، رمز الوطن والدين والعلم. ايام اسثنائية لانها كشفت عمق المشروع الخليفي لتصفية هوية الوطن الاصلية التي يرون فيها تحديا دائما لوجودهم، فهي هوية التراب التاريخية، وهي الثقافة الموروثة عبر الاجيال منذ اليوم الذي اعتنق فيه البحرانيون دين الله الذي انزله على نبيه الكريم. انها الهوية التي ميزت شعب البحرين وثورته طوال ستة اعوام واثبتت مقولة الشيخ عيسى نفسه: ستعجزون ولن نعجز. لم يترك الخليفيون جريمة الا ارتكبوها في هذه الفترة التي هي الاكثر اضطهادا وظلما ووحشية واجراما في تاريخ الاحتلال الخليفي لهذا البلد الطاهر. الوطن يئن تحت وطأة هذه العصابة المجرمة التي ما فتئت تسجن وتعذب وتغتال وتعدم وتنفي، وما برحت تنكل بالنساء وتستضعف من لا يجد ناصرا الا الله. هذه الزمرة التي ابتلي شعبنا بها انقضت على سيادة الوطن ومزقتها، فجاءت بالاحتلال السعودي والاماراتي، واستقدمت المرتزقة الباكستانيين والاردنيين، وسمحت للاجانب بفتح القواعد العسكرية، وقامت بتمويل بناء القاعدة البريطانية من اموال الشعب المنهوبة. واخيرا جاءت بالقوات التركية لتؤكد هزيمتها الماحقة على مدى ستة اعوام. لو كان الطاغية وعصابته آمنين على نظام حكمهم الجائر، كما يزعمون، لما استقدموا المزيد من المرتزقة الاتراك، ولما ذهب رموزه الى الكويت وقطر لاستجداء المزيد من الاموال لدفع تكاليف المرتزقة الاجانب.

الايام المقبلة ستكون صعبة على الوطن والشعب، لان الطاغية سيعلن قراره بحق سماحة القائد الشيخ عيسى احمد قاسم، في لحظة زمنية كالحة استولى القراصنة فيها على الاحرار، ومارسوا البلطجة بأسوأ اشكالها. ومهما ادعت الابواق الخليفية، فقد بقي سماحة الشيخ طوال سبعة شهور متواصلة، صابرا محتسبا، واثقا بربه وشعبه ونفسه، ومتوكلا على الله لكسر شوكة الطغاة. قضى ايامه ولياليه وهو في الاقامة الجبرية، معلما وقارئا ومصليا، تحيطه قلوب المؤمنين الصامدين الصابرين المرابطين على ثغر من ثغور الدين. اولئك الفتية الذين أمنوا بربهم فزادهم هدى وآتاهم تقواهم، كانوا حاضرين في الميدان بدون خوف او قلق، بل كان ايمانهم حصنا لهم من كل ذلك. ذادوا عن شيخهم وقت الظهيرة حين كانت الشمس تصهر اجسادهم فلا يزدادون الا حمدا لله وشكرا، وايمانا واحتسابا. وعندما حل عليهم الشتاء بزمهريره لم تتزلزل اقدامهم ولم تخفق قلوبهم الا بالعبادة والدعاء. لقد كانوا حقا نعم الصحب، اذ صدقوا ما عاهدوا الله عليه. وكان صمود الشيخ عيسى عاملا جوهريا لصمودهم، استمدوا منه صدق الموقف وثبات الايمان. ويوما بعد آخر تزداد ثقتهم بحتمية انتصار الحق الذي يمثله المؤمنون يتقدمهم سماحة الشيخ عيسى، واندحار الباطل الذي تجسد في الطاغية وعصابته التي غاصت الى راسها في الجريمة والانحراف والفساد. لقد راهن الخليفيون على تراجع اهل الدراز وتململهم في ظل الحصار المقيت الذي لا يرحم صغيرا او كبيرا. ولكن الدرازيين اصطفوا في الطوابير بقلوب ثابتة ورضى عميق بامر الله وقضائه، فالمعاناة على طريق ذات الشوكة حلوة المذاق، والمرابطة على ثغر من ثغور الله عبادة لا يعادلها شيء. لقد صدقوا مع قائدهم وهتفت قلوبهم كل يوم وليلة بالدعاء من اجل الفرج ودحر الظلم والعدوان والاحتلال، فما ازدادوا الا ايمانا وتثبيتا.

الايام القليلة المقبلة سوف يتحدد فيها مستقبل البلد وهويته، وستصل المواجهة بين الحق والباطل ذروتها، وسيقف الاسلام كله بوجه الظلم والنفاق كله. ستكون المعركة حامية الوطيس بين المستضعفين والمظلومين على جانب، والمستكبرين والطغاة والمنافقين وكل قوى الكفر والانحراف والفساد والظلم على الجانب الآخر. فطوبى لمن سيطر على نفسه وتمكن من هواه، ورفض ان يعيش الا حرا، وآمن بالله وحده، وكفر الطواغيت الخليفيين والسعوديين. طوبى لمن هتف بوجه المحتلين القدماء والمعاصرين مطالبا بالحرية لشعبه والاستقلال لبلده. اولئك هم شباب الوطن الذين صمدوا ستة اعوام متواصلة هاتفين بالحرية والاستقلال والكرامة، ورافضين الوصاية القبلية والحمية الجاهلية التي تقمصها اعداء محمد بن عبد الله، ودفعتهم لارتكاب ابشع الجرائم بغرائز شيطانية بعيدة عن قيم دين محمد عليه افضل الصلاة والسلام. تلك القيم التي جاء الاسلام بها واعتبرها مصداقا للاسلام المحمدي الاصيل. واهم تلك القيم الشهادتان اللتان يدخل الانسان بهما الدين ويعتبر بهما مسلما. فهما تعبير عن رفض رموز الشرك القبلي ورفضها ايمانا راسخا بالقلب واعلانا بليغا باللسان وتصديقا عمليا بالجوارح. شعب البحرين آمن بتلك الرسالة وصدقها فاصبحت سمة مميزة لارض اوال الطاهرة. ذلك الايمان هو الذي دفع اجيالا متعاقبة للصمود والنضال للحفاظ على تلك الحرية وضمان نقاء الارض وطهارتها من دنس الشرك القبلي الذي حارب دين محمد ماضيا وحاضرا. هذا الشعب هو الذي وقف شبابه ضد هبل الخليفي واللات السعودي والعزى الاجنبي، وأصر على اعلان كلمة التوحيد على ارضه وفي صلاته واحتجاجاته. لقد قالها المثبطون سابقا لضرب معنويات اصحاب الرسالة: انها قريش ما ذلت مذ عزت، وما��� “. فكان المؤمنون لهم بالمرصاد، فاذا بالقبائل التي حاربت محمدا ورسالته مهزومة ذليلة. شعبنا يسير على خطى اولئك الاوائل الذين لم يستمعوا لاقوال المثبطين والمرجفين والمهزومين، ويصر على الصمود لوجه الاستبداد الخليفي والاحتلال السعودي وشعاره الخالد: هيهات من الذلة.

في ذكرى الاحتلال السعودي الغاشم لبلدنا الذي تخلى الطغاة الخليفيون عن سيادته للاجنبي، يتجلى الايمان بالله ورسوله والحرية والكرامة في مواقف شباب الوطن الذين ما فتئوا صامدين في ميادين الحرية والشرف، يسطرون اروع الملاحم ويصفعون الطغاة والمجرمين والجلادين والمحتلين كل يوم على وجوههم بصلابتهم وهتافاتهم واصرارهم على التضحية والفداء. انها الملحمة التاريخية التي يخوضها ابناء الوطن الاصليون (شيعة وسنة) ضد الاحتلال والعدوان والظلم، ولا يخشون ما يصيبهم: قل لن يصيبنا الا ما كتب الله لنا. ايمان هذا الشعب سلاحه الاول في معركة الوجود التي يخوضها بدون خشبة او كلل. فالعلماء الصابرون المتحسبون ما فتئوا يسطرون المواقف ويرفضون الزيف الخليفي والضلال السعودي والظلم الاجنبي، ويعلنون تضامنهم مع سماحة الشيخ عيسى قاسم والاستعداد للذود عنه كرمز للاسلام المحمدي الاصيل وهوية الوطن المحتل وكرامة الشعب المستضعف. ستكون الايام والاسابيع المقبلة حافلة بالمفاجأت وأهمها دحر العدو الخليفي وهزيمة الاحتلال السعودي وكسر شوكة داعمي الاستبداد القبلي وناهبي ثروات الشعوب بعناوين الامن الاقليمي والدولي. ايام صعبة لكنها واعدة، وظروف مثقلة بالمشقة لكنها حبلى بالآمال الكبيرة والنصر المبين، وليال سوداء قاحلة تنعق فيها البوم وتسرح فيها الثعالب والفئران، لكنها تنبيء بان فجرا مشرقا سيطل على الشعب والوطن معلنا نهاية العهد الخليفي والسعودي الاسود، وبزوغ شمس الحرية على ربوع اوال.

اللهم ارحم شهداءنا الابرار، واجعل لهم قدم صدق عندك، وفك قيد أسرانا يا رب العالمين

 

حركة احرار البحرين الاسلامية

10 مارس 2017

Posted in BahrainComments Off on BFM Arabic Statement 10th March 2017  

Bahrain Regime under Pressure Turns to Executions

 Bahrain Blood 08730

During the middle of the night on January 15 2017, the Bahrain regime executed three political activists by firing squad for the apparent killing of three police officers back in 2014, one of the activists was just 21 years old. The news of their execution led to further massive street protests across the island and resentment from the population of Bahrain which coincides with various reports from human rights groups exposing that the Bahrain regimes security apparatus obtained forced confessions from the 3 activists under torture techniques such as sleep depravity, electrocution, beatings and sexual assault. [1]

Fears have once again been raised with concern that the King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, will approve the executions of Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa, who also face the death penalty for the February 2014 bombing that resulted in the death of security forces. Human Rights Watch analysis of their trial and appeal judgments found that their convictions were based almost exclusively on their confessions, which both men retracted. [2] The treatment of prisoners in Bahrain has led many to fear that peaceful activists may be forced to confess to crimes they did not commit under torture, there confession can, and has already, led to death sentences.

The January executions of Abbas al-Samea, 27, Ali al-Singace, 21, and Sami Mushaima 42, [3] are the only executions the Bahrain regime has carried out since 2010. With Bahrain’s regime coming under more pressure from its constant internal civil unrest, the regime may consider executions as a tactic to try and crush the popular peoples revolution.

The Khalifa Kingdom looks its ideological & economic superior, Saudi Arabia, for leadership. Equally the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has faced similar problems from its own dissident population, mostly located in the oil rich eastern provinces. Similarly, the Saudi King ordered a brutal crackdown, imprisonment and torture of protestors within its borders. A senior Saudi Shi’i religious leader and freedom activist, Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, was imprisoned, tortured and finally executed by the Saudi regime on 2nd January 2016 allegedly “after being convicted of terrorism offences”. [4] The killing of Sheikh Nimr caused massive outrage across the Shi’i world and Nimr has since become a recognizable figure of martyrdom among a large religious community, scattered across the Middle East and Asia, which values martyrdom incredibly highly. Saudi Arabia knew the execution would draw a massive response, yet it continued; now it is likely that Saudi Arabia is encouraging the King Khalifa of Bahrain to follow a similar policy against notable Shi’i activists, regardless of condemnation.
The Background

Since 2011, the overwhelming majority of the people of Bahrain took to the streets to demand political reform. The regime, backed by Saudi Arabia, then launched a crackdown on the peaceful opposition that included conducting thousands of arrests and systematic torture. [5] Since the brutal crackdown the opposition has demanded regime change and fair political representation for the population under a new genuine democracy.

Oppression of the population is nothing new for Bahrain, however, these highly questionable recent executions signal a new turning point in the current standoff between the peaceful opposition of the majority and the authoritarian minority regime which has been looking for new ways to extinguish the escalating opposition pressure.

On 20 June 2016, a week after the government of Bahrain suspended the leading Shia opposition group al-Wefaq, [6] Ayatollah Isa Ahmed Qassim, a senior Shia Muslim scholar and spiritual leader was stripped of his Bahraini citizenship which caused massive public outcry from the overwhelming Shia Muslim majority population. [7] The removal of Al-Wefaq, the arrest and imprisonment of leading political figures and freedom activists such as Sheikh Ali Salman [8] & Nabeel Rajab [9], along with the removal of Ayatollah Qassim’s citizenship are all pre-planned attempts by an increasingly desperate King to hold onto absolute power of the Bahraini people which see him as no more than an evil oppressive tyrant.

Britain’s role

The UK is directly involved in what happens in Bahrain due to a unique relationship between the two Kingdoms which goes back to the days of the British Empire. Nowadays the UK, in a desperate attempt to remain relevant in the Persian Gulf region, is looking to mark its military presence as well as strengthen political relations with the Persian Gulf Arab Kingdoms such as Saudi Arabia & Bahrain. The US already uses Bahrain as a base of operations for the US Navy in the Persian Gulf; the UK is currently building a navy base of its own on the island [10] which is where a major moral problem lies. As a British journalist, it is deeply concerning for me to witness my own government doing so little to help the situation in Bahrain. We have massive leverage over this country and the evidence of human rights violations being committed by the regime is both overwhelming and grossly disturbing. Our government refuses to acknowledge the depth of criminality being committed and it is very rare for any British politician or mainstream media comments or coverage on the situation.

I remember very well the comments made by our dear old ex-prime minister, David Cameron, back in 2011 not long after the Arab spring first began to spread across the Muslim world.

“The Arab spring is a massive opportunity to spread peace, prosperity, democracy, and security.” (David Cameron speaking at the UN.) [11]

The people of Bahrain have been demanding for reforms, fair political representation and for real democracy but have been met with brutal oppression, torture and murder while the great democracies of the west ignore the peaceful struggle of the Bahraini people.

If our government, led by Theresa May and Boris Johnson, wants to keep up its pretend game of ‘Persian Gulf power-brokers’, it must be prepared to stand up for the principles that a true western democracy stands for and come to the aid of any reformist revolution calling for democracy and freedom. Where better to start than Bahrain, however, one thing I have learned from covering the Middle East, democracy is not a high priority for the true holders of power in this oil rich part of the world.

EndNotes

[1] ADAM SCHRECK, ASSOCIATED PRESS (Jan 15, 2017, 2:39 ) Bahrain Executes 3 Over Police Bombing, Triggering Protests, Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/bahrain-police-officer-injured-shooting-tensions-spike-44787990

[2] Human Rights Watch (JANUARY 23, 2017 12:00AM EST) Bahrain: 2 Face Execution Despite Torture Allegations, Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/23/bahrain-2-face-execution-despite-torture-allegations

[3] Marc Jones (January 19, 2017 3.01pm GMT) A triple execution in Bahrain has provoked national outrage – and international silence, Available at: http://theconversation.com/a-triple-execution-in-bahrain-has-provoked-national-outrage-and-international-silence-71367

[4] BBC News (2 January 2016) Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr: Saudi Arabia executes top Shia cleric, Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35213244

[5] Law, Bill (6 April 2011). “Police Brutality Turns Bahrain Into ‘Island of Fear'”Crossing Continents (via BBC News). Retrieved 15 April 2011.

[6] Al Jazeera (17 JULY 2016) Bahrain dissolves main Shia opposition Al-Wefaq party, Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/bahrain-dissolves-main-opposition-party-160717132556468.html

[7] BBC News (20 June 2016) Bahrain revokes top Shia cleric Isa Qassim’s citizenship, Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-36578000

[8] BBC News (16 June 2015) Bahrain opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman jailed, Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-33147198

[9] Amnesty International (23 January 2017, 17:31) Bahrain: Postponement of Nabeel Rajab’s trial for sixth time is blatant harassmen, Available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/01/bahrain-postponement-of-nabeel-rajab-trial-for-sixth-time-is-blatant-harassment/

[10] Jamie Merrill (Sunday 1 November 2015) Royal Navy base construction begins in Bahrain as Britain seeks a return to ‘East of Suez’, Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/royal-navy-base-construction-begins-in-bahrain-as-britain-seeks-a-return-to-east-of-suez-a6716856.html

[11] The Guardian News Blog (Thursday 22 September 2011) Leaders address the UN general assembly, Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2011/sep/22/ahmadinejad-addresses-un-general-assembly

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