Archive | Bahrain

UK covered up intelligence training with Bahrain’s police, amid death sentence

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UK authorities trained Bahrain’s police how to gather intelligence on protestors, and then tried to cover up the scheme, international human rights group Reprieve has found. The project took place after protestors in the Gulf kingdom were rounded up and sentenced to death.

Britain’s Foreign Office paid for half a dozen Bahraini police officers to visit Belfast in August 2015, where the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) shared its expertise on gathering intelligence ahead of demonstrations.

Protestors in Bahrain, such as Mohammed Ramadan, have been targeted by police and tortured into falsely confessing to capital crimes. Mr Ramadan, a father of three young children, is now on death row and could be executed at any time.

The training, which also included sessions on water cannons, dog handling and public order tactics, was kept secret. The UK government has repeatedly denied providing public order training to Bahrain.

The Cabinet Office claimed that “The UK does not fund any programmes in Bahrain focused on public order”. However, documents obtained by Reprieve show that Bahrain’s police received an “Introduction to Combined Operational Training with a focus on Public Order.”

The training was prepared by Northern Irish police officers during a week-long “scoping visit” to Bahrain over April-May 2015, where they assessed Bahrain’s public order systems. The Stormont-owned company NI-CO played a key role in organising all the training.

It has also emerged that Bahrain’s Chief of Police and his deputies visited Belfast in June 2014. The itinerary included another session with the PSNI on “Community Intelligence”. The police chief attended a “demonstration of PSNI Public Order systems” and received a “Tour of North and West Belfast ‘Flashpoints’ with 2 or 3 PSNI Armoured Vehicles”.

Bahrain’s Chief of Police had to postpone a visit to Belfast earlier in 2014 because there was a “security emergency in Bahrain at the moment and it is felt that the Chief of Police and other senior officers cannot leave the country at this critical time.” This was a month after death-row prisoner Mohammed Ramadan was tortured. “The situation on the ground is becoming increasingly tense”, an email explained.

Bahrain’s Chief of Police has command level responsibility for violations carried out by lower ranking officers. Months after the police chief visited Belfast for training, teenager Ali al-Singace was arrested and tortured by Bahrain’s police with electric shocks, until he made a false confession to a capital crime. He was executed by firing squad in January 2017.

Commenting, Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said:

“It is outrageous that the government has covered up this project, which risks supporting the execution of protesters in Bahrain.

“Bahrain is notorious for arresting, torturing and sentencing to death people involved in protests – such as Mohammed Ramadan, a father of three who is held on death row and faces execution at any moment.

“By training Bahrain’s police how to gather intelligence on protesters, there is a serious risk that Britain is helping them arrest and execute people who are guilty of nothing more than calling for reform.  It is scandalous that the Government has sought to sweep this under the carpet.”

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UK think tank covertly funded by Bahrain royal family

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The International Institute of Strategic Studies, an influential UK diplomacy and security think tank run by prominent military, political, and business figures, has received over $38mn in secret donations from Bahrain.

Bahrain, a former British colony and oil-rich Arab country which accommodates the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, had secretly donated more than $38 million (£30 million) to the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), a reputed UK think tank which positions itself as a leading global military and security research consultancy, according to human rights group Bahrain Watch.

The donations, which the IISS received over the course of five years, were said to form around a quarter of the think tank’s budget, or over $7.6 million (£6 million) per year, Bahrain Watch said citing confidential documents it obtained in cooperation with the Guardian.

Money from the Bahrain government was received in large part under a secret memorandum of understanding (MoU) between IISS head John Chipman and Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who had previously served as ambassador to the UK.

The IISS and Bahrain agreed to “take all necessary steps to keep confidential all classified information which is disclosed or obtained in relation to this MoU, and neither shall divulge such information to any third party.”

The leak comes amid UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s two-day trip to Bahrain to discuss post-Brexit trade with Gulf leaders. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is also expected to arrive in the Bahraini capital Manama on Friday to address a Middle East-related conference organized by the IISS.

The event itself, called the Manama Dialogue, was financed by Bahrain’s ruling family, which is paying for all the delegates to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the report said. Since 2011, the ruling family has donated $19 million (£14.9 million) to fund the conference, which is attended by influential figures from the Gulf and western nations, among others, the leaked papers show.

In a statement to the Guardian, the IISS said its agreement with the Bahraini rulers “expressly gives the IISS full freedom to develop the agenda and invite participants in line with priorities it judges to be important to encourage strong debate on regional issues and facilitate important diplomatic contacts.”

“The IISS for a number of years has received funding from a wide range of governments for conferences and major international summits,” it added.

“The Bahraini government is willing to spend so much on the IISS and the Manama Dialogues because they allow the government to portray itself as modern, liberal and business-friendly, in contradiction to the evidence of torture, abuse and political disenfranchisement,” Bahrain Watch said in turn.

In April, a report for the Foreign Affairs Select Committee blasted Bahrain’s poor human rights record, not least during the violent suppression of the Arab Spring protests, with direct support from another controversial UK ally – Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, Amnesty International accused London of “whitewashing” Bahrain’s record in the United Nations, having never condemned the country’s human rights abuses. The Bahraini royal family has enjoyed a close relationship with the British monarchy for several decades.

In mid-November, a new Royal Navy base in Bahrain was inaugurated by Prince Charles, with construction mostly funded by the Bahrainis. The US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) is also headquartered in the country, guiding the operations of the Fifth Fleet.

The IISS advisory board features high-ranking Western military brass, politicians, and business leaders, including George Robertson, former secretary-general of NATO, Field Marshal Charles Guthrie, former chief of the UK General Staff, Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, Amos Yadin, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, as well as Carl Bildt, Sweden’s ex-foreign minister.

Founded in 1958, the IISS describes itself as a primary source of information on international strategic issues for “politicians and diplomats, foreign affairs analysts, international business, economists, the military, defense commentators, journalists and academics.”

Apart from the Manama Dialogue, the institute hosts the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual meeting of Asia-Pacific region defense ministers in Singapore.

It also publishes ‘The Military Balance,’ a comprehensive annual assessment of each country’s military capabilities. A 2015 Global Think Tank Index compiled by the University of Pennsylvania ranked IISS as the fourth-best non-US research institution.

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UK to open permanent military base in Bahrain



Britain’s then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond boards a UK military ship docked in Manama, Bahrain, in November 2015.
Press TV 

The United Kingdom will open a massive permanent military base in Bahrain and deploy warships in the Persian Gulf, a new report has revealed.

The military base, which is the first such facility being opened by Britain in 40 years in the Persian Gulf region, will be launched next month, Britain’s Express newspaper reported on Saturday.

Britain will station around 600 military forces at the Royal Navy Facility and will deploy its warships to patrol the surrounding waters and guard oil and gas shipments in the waters.

The base located in Bahrain’s Mina Salman Port, will also be used by Special forces, Navy destroyers and frigates to launch operations against the Daesh takfiri terrorist group in the region, according to the report.

“The project could save the Ministry of Defense millions because they won’t have to travel back to the UK,” the newspaper quoted unnamed diplomatic sources as saying.

The base, which will be used as a weapons store, will allow Britain to take part in any possible emergency operation if any country tries to block UK commercial ships from passing through the Strait of Hormuz, said a navy source.

“If we miss out on too much oil and gas then the lights will start to go out,” the source added.

When Britain kicked off the project in 2014, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon described it as “a permanent expansion of the Royal Navy’s footprint” in the Persian Gulf.

“It will enable Britain to send more and larger ships to reinforce stability in the [Persian] Gulf,” he said.

Critics, however, raised concerns over the legality of the base, saying the project had not been discussed in Bahrain’s parliament.

Human rights campaigners criticized the plan at the time, arguing that the Royal Navy named HMS Juffair, is reminiscent of the colonial era because it’s named after a previous naval base, Britain maintained in the country during colonial times.

Opposition activists also said Britain’s move strengthens the ruling al Khalifa family which, has long been carrying out crackdown on human rights activists in the kingdom.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the Bahraini crackdown on the anti-regime activists, who have been holding protests on an almost daily basis since February 14, 2011.

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Bahraine: Zionist puppet praise for Nazi Peres



Zionist puppet Bahrain Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa

Zio-Wahhabi Bahraini foreign minister’s surprising tribute to former Nazi president Shimon Peres who died Wednesday has triggered a wave of outcry in the region where he is known as a criminal.

“Rest in Peace President Shimon Peres, a Man of War and a Man of the still elusive Peace in the Middle East,”  Zio-WahhabiKhaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa posted on his Twitter account.

The tribute drew the ire of many online users as well as opposition figures, given that a large number of Arabs view Nazi Peres as the man responsible for the successive wars that have rocked the Middle East.

“The foreign minister is paying tribute and praying for the Zionist terrorist and the killer of children,” complained former opposition lawmaker Jalal Fairooz.

Another critic, Khalil Buhazaa, tweeted, “Diplomacy does not mean rudeness.”

Manama does not have diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv but some Arab states, chiefly Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime, have recently moved to warm relations with the Nazi Jewish regime.

Bahrain Zio-Wahhabi regime is under the heavy influence of Saudi Arabia which is spearheading the push for rapprochement with the Nazi regime of ‘Israel’.

Among Arab Zionist puppet leaders, only Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Ab-A$$ has offered condolences to Peres’s family, describing him as a partner in peace.

However, many across the world would remember Peres as a “war criminal” especially in light of the 1996 Qana massacre. In that Nazi attack on a southern Lebanese village, at least 106 people were killed. Nazi Peres was then prime minister.

Born in Poland in 1923, Nazi Peres emigrated to what was then British-mandated Palestine when he was 11. He joined the Zionist movement and met David Ben-Gurion, who would become his mentor and Nazi first prime minister.

Nazi Peres became director general of the nascent ministry of military affairs at just 29. He was also seen as a driving force in the development of the Nazi undeclared nuclear program.

Palestinians say Peres has their blood on his hands. Like other Zionist leaders, Peres also allowed illegal Nazi Jewish settlement construction to take place in Palestinian land during his years in leadership positions.

The impoverished Gaza Strip witnessed two full-scale wars under Nazi Peres’s tenure as president, which claimed the lives of more than 3,700 Palestinians in total.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called on Palestinians to hold a “Day of Rage” on Friday which will coincide with the funeral of Peres.

The call is meant to mark the one-year anniversary of the beginning of what is described as the third Intifada throughout the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds.

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Bahrain: Canadian firm sells Zio-Wahhabi regime software to censor Internet


A Canadian company has sold Zio-Wahhabi regime of Bahrain technology used to block opposition websites and human rights content on the Internet, Canadian activists say.

Specialists from internet watchdog Citizen Lab said in a report that Canadian Netsweeper website-blocking applications had been identified on nine internet service providers (ISPs) in Bahrain.

The report further disclosed that testing on the ISP of the state-run Bahrain Telecommunication Company (Batelco) showed that at least one of the Netsweeper installations was in use in the small Persian Gulf kingdom.

Citizen Lab researchers highlighted that the installations appear to have become active between May and July of this year.

That is “a few months after the release of a public tender by Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in January 2016 indicating Netsweeper won a bid to provide a ‘national website filtering solution.’”

The contract is worth either 1.1 million or 3.1 million dollars, the researchers said.

Citizen Lab said, “The sale of technology used to censor political speech and other forms of legitimate expression, to a state with a highly problematic human rights record, raises serious questions.”

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling on the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.

Zio-Wahhabi regime has been relentlessly cracking down on dissent. Saudi Zio-Wahhabi Troops and the United Arab Emirates have been deployed to the country to assist in the crackdown on peaceful protests.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the Bahraini crackdown on the anti-regime activists.

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Putin and the Zio-Wahhabi of Bahrain

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zio-Wahhabi Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, of Bahrain, discussed military-technical cooperation issues during the latter’s visit to Russia earlier this week, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

“Military-technical cooperation issues were actively discussed with the Russian side on several occasions, including contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin during King of Bahrain’s recent visit, Peskov said, when asked if Russia might sell its air defense systems S-400 to that country.

Putin and the King of Bahrain met in the Kremlin on September 6.

The two leaders discussed ways of struggle against terrorism, the situation in Syria and trading and economic cooperation.

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Bahrain: Zio-Wahhabi regime بداية التغيرات الاقليمية الممهدة لسقوط الاستبداد



تطورات كبيرة تحدث في المحيطين العربي والاسلامي يمكن اعتبارها تأسيسا للتغيير الذي طال انتظاره. واذا كان الطغاة يعولون على امكاناتهم المادية فحسب، فان المظلومين المدافعين عن انفسهم والمطالبين بحقوقهم يبذلون جهودا مضنية لتحقيق التغيير ويؤمنون بوجود مدد غيبي من الله سبحانه تدعم جهودهم وتضاعف آثارها، وتضعف شأن الظالمين وتكسر اسلحتهم. ويمكن استعراض بعض التطورات ذات الصلة بحتمية التغيير في ما يلي:
اولا: ان السعودية التي يعتبرها الخليفيون الداعم� الاساس لها تضعف يوميا، خصوصا مع مرض الملك سلمان بن عبد العزيز واقتراب الاستحقاق الوراثي في مجال الحكم، وما سيصاحبه من لغط سياسي واختلافات داخل البيت السعودي نفسه. فقد هزمت في اليمن اخلاقيا وسياسيا وعسكريا واقتصاديا، واصبحت اصابع الاتهام توجه لها بارتكاب جرائم حرب على نطاق واسع. وقد سحبت الامارات قواتها من اليمن، فاصبحت السعودية متهمة بكافة جرائم الحرب التي ترتكب هناك. فالسعودية متهمة باستهداف المستشفى الذي تديره منظمة “أطباء بلا حدود” وقتل وجرح العشرات من المرضى والاطباء والممرضين، وهي متهمة كذلك باستهداف مدرسة للاطفال وقتل عشرات منهم في واحدة من اشد المجازر الوحشية التي ارتكبتها السعودية. وقد هدد بان كي مون باعادة السعودية لقائمة الدول التي تنتهك حقوق الطفل. وهذا يعني ان السعودية ليست في وضع تحسد عليه، بل ان ظروفها السياسية والاقتصادية اضعفت موقها كثيرا، خصوصا مع تسليط الاضواء على معاملة المرأة وغياب الحريات واستمرار اعتقال الكتاب والنشطاء مثل رائف بدوي وغيره.
ثانيا: بيان خبراء الامم المتحدة حول اوضاع البحرين، يعتبر فريدا من نوعه، خصوصا لجهة اختياره الكلمات والمصطلحات. فقد شجب البيان سياسات طاغية البحرين الذي يستهدف السكان الاصليين في وجودهم وعقيدتهم. وعبر عن ذلك بمصطلح “الاضطهاد” وهي سابقة لها مضمونها الخطير على العصابة الخليفية. فالاضطهاد احد انواع الجرائم ضد الانسانية، لانه يتضمن استخدام القوة في غير مكانها ولتحقيق اهداف غير مشروعة، وبهدف تركيع الطرف الآخر او القضاء عليه او اهانته او استعباده، وجميع ذلك جرائم ضد الانسانية. وما تمارسه العصابة الخليفية هذه الايام من استهداف مباشر للعلماء باعتقالهم والتنكيل بهم وسحب جنسيات بعضهم، ومنعهم من امامة صلاة الجمعة، كل ذلك يؤكد الاضطهاد الخليفي الذي يعتبر احدى وسائل الابادة. يضاف الى ذلك ان الحصار المتواصل على منطقة الدراز هو الآخر جريمة ضد الانسانية، فسكان الدراز محاصرون ويتعرضون يوميا للاهانة والاستعباد من قبل القوات الخليفية التي تتكون في اغلبها من المرتزقة الاجانب. الشيخ عيسى احمد قاسم، رمز الوطن والدولة الحديثة ودستور البلاد الشرعي مهدد بالسجن والابعاد بعد قرار الديكتاتور سحب جنسيته قبل محاكمته. وجسد الشيخ كرامة الشعب والوطن وشموخ الاحرار برفض حضور المحكمة الخليفية التي اصبحت بوقا قبيحا لديوانه، وانحصرت مهماتها بنقل قرارات جلاديه ومعذبيه للضحايا تحت سقف القضاء. وقد جاء تصريح الخبراء الخمسة صفعة قوية ليس للخليفيين فحسب، بل داعميهم في لندن وواشنطن، لانه كشف بوضوح ليس فيه لبس او غموض بان الخليفيين يضطهدون السكان الاصليين بشكل متعمد ومتواصل.
ثالثا: التغير في الجغرافيا السياسية في إثر المحاولة الانقلابية الفاشلة في تركيا التي استهدفت حزب العدالة والتنمية الحاكم، واسقاط رئيسه المنتخب، رجب طيب أردوجان. صحيح ان الانقلاب فشل، ولكن صفحته لم تطو بعد، بل ان تبعاتها ستلاحق القوى التي شاركت في التخطيط له ودعمته. وهنا لا تبدو السعودية والامارات والبحرين جهات بريئة، بل انها متهمة بدعم الانقلاب، كما فعلت في مصر، بدعم الانقلاب العسكري الذي قام به عبد الفتاح السيسي واسقط به الرئيس المنتخب، محمد مرسي، وضرب به جماعة الاخوان المسلمين بدون رحمة. الانقلاب التركي كسر التوازن السياسي القائم في المنطقة منذ سنوات، وأسس لتحالفات جديدة ليست لصالح السعودية وحليفاتها. كما انه ليس لصالح القوى الغربية التي لم تقف ضد الانقلاب عندما حدث، بل كانت تصريحاتها تتضمن قبوله وعدم الاعتراض عليه. ولذلك كان الغضب الذي انتاب اردوجان وحزبه فظيعا لانه شعر بموقف خياني ممن كان يعتبرهم حلفاء له سواء في الازمة السورية ام على صعيد حلف الناتو او في اطار الاتحاد الاوروبي. ووفقا للمعلومات التي رشحت فان الايرانيين والروس اكتشفوا المخطط الانقلابي قبل وقوعه واخبروا الحكومة التركية به فكانت مستعدة له. ومن المؤكد ان تغييرا كبيرا طرأ على قناعات الساسة الاتراك، فاصبحوا اكثر تقاربا من ايران وروسيا، وما يزالون يضغطون على الولايات المتحدة لتسليمها المعارض التركي المتهم بالتخطيط للانقلاب، فتح الله غولن. ان هذا تغير استراتيجي في المنطقة سوف ينعكس سلبا على الوضع السعودي بشكل كبير ويوفر بديلا “سنيا” لها بعد ان احدثت شرخا كبيرا في جسد العالم الاسلامي وبثت الطائفية والمذهبية بوتائر غير مسبوقة. وليس مستبعدا ان يكون تغير الموقف التركي بداية النهاية للهيمنة السعودية على العالم الاسلامي لانه سيؤدي الى تعرية الحكم السعودي ويعيد التوازن الى الموقفين العربي والاسلامي، ويضعف تحالف قوى الثورة المضادة الذي تتزعمه السعودية و “اسرائيل”.
رابعا: ان الوضع في البحرين بلغ ذروته في الاستقطاب، فما عاد هناك الا فريقان: الشعب البحراني الاصلي، من الشيعة والسنة، والعصابة الخليفية واذيالها من المنتفعين والانتهازيين والمتسلقين. ولم يكن هذا الاستقطاب يوما واضحا كما هو عليه اليوم. فالصراع يدور بين الشعب والعائلة� الخليفية المدعومة من الخارج. وحتى الذين كانوا ينتهجون منهجا “وسطيا” بمعنى القبول بالحكم الخليفي في مقابل الحصول على بعض الحقوق، ادركوا عدم جدوى تلك السياسة، لان الخليفيين يريدون كل شيء ولا يسمحون لاحد بشيء. في مملكة الصمت والمنع ومصادرة الحريات ودولة القبيلة الواحدة والحاكم المتسلط على الناس بالمرتزقة الاجانب، اصبح التعايش مع منظومة الحكم مستحيلا. فحتى الجمعيات السياسة ادركت عدم جدوى التعويل على العمل داخل تلك المنظومة، فهي ممنوعة من العمل السياسي الحر، وقد اعتقل الامناء العامون للجمعيات السياسية الاربع لانهم عبروا عن آراء ومواقف لا تنسجم مع ما يريده الديكتاتور الذي اصبح ذيلا للسعوديين بعد ان سلمهم السيادة على البلاد. هذه الجمعيات فقدت مبررات وجودها بعد ان تعذر عملها واصبحت اسيرة للقوانين الخليفية التي تمنع العمل السياسي الحر وتصادر الحريات، وترفض منح هذه الجمعيات ترخيصا بتنظيم مسيرة او احتجاج. هذه الحقائق تؤكد صحة موقف الثوار الذين اخذوا على عاتقهم مسؤولية التغيير بالاساليب السلمية والعصيان المدني، ودعوا علنا باسقاط نظام الحكم الخليفي، ورفضوا تكرار تجربة الماضي بتمكين السفاحين الخليفيين من رقاب الشعب مرة اخرى. ان هذه التطورات تشير الى تبلور واقع اقليمي جديد تتلاشى فيه الهيمنة السعودية وتسقط فيه انظمة الاستعباد والقهر والديكتاتورية، وهذا ما سيحدث بعون الله تعالى
اللهم ارحم شهداءنا الابرار، واجعل لهم قدم صدق عندك، وفك قيد أسرانا يا رب العالمين
حركة احرار البحرين الاسلامية
19 اغسطس 2016

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UK police under fire for training Bahraini forces


A British parliamentary committee has criticized UK police for training Bahraini forces who are accused of ruthlessly suppressing public protests and dissent.

Under a confidential agreement in 2015 obtained by the Observer, the UK’s College of Policing agreed to train forces of Bahrain’s Zio-Wahhabi Interior Ministry.

The deal, however, does not mention human rights issues.

The UK parliament’s home affairs select committee has slammed the college’s agreements with Zionist puppet regimes that have poor human rights records. The committee also blasted UK’s Foreign Office for refusing to disclose such contracts.

The committee said “opaque” agreements with foreign governments, which have been criticized for human rights abuses, “threaten the integrity of the very brand of British policing that the college is trying to promote”.

A law firm representing a tortured Bahraini activist has written a letter to the Foreign Office, saying the agreement with Bahrain raises concerns about the UK’s commitment to protecting human rights.

“We know the college provides a wide range of training programmes domestically that are of potential concern, such as the use of communications data obtained by telecoms operators, the use of interception material, surveillance and undercover policing, and the scope of its courses to overseas customers is not limited in any accountable way,” said Daniel Carey, of DPG Law.

He also argued that the college must have acquired the parliament’s approval for its profit-making activities. “The College of Policing is doing something unusual for government in selling services overseas.”

Anti-regime protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis since February 14, 2011, calling on the Zionist puppet Al Khalifah regime to relinquish power.

Troops from Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime and the United Arab Emirates — themselves repressive Arab regimes — were deployed to the country in March that year to assist the Manama government in its crackdown on peaceful and pro-democracy rallies.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in Manama’s crackdown on the anti-regime activists.

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Bahrain: Zio-Wahhabi regime Strips Leading Shia Cleric of Citizenship


_90037993_mediaitem90037992Zionist puppet-ruled Bahrain has deprived leading Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim of his citizenship, media reported Monday.

According to the BBC, Zio-Wahhabi regime in Bahrain stripped Qassim, who is the spiritual leader of Al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s biggest opposition group, and holds the senior religious title of Ayatollah, of his citizenship.

On June 14, Zio-Wahhabi Court of Cassation ruled to close all offices of Al-Wefaq in a response to an appeal lodged by the country’s Ministry of Justice.

Al-Wefaq has organized mass protest rallies against the current constitutional monarchy in Bahrain. Al-Wefaq’s leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to four years in prison for inciting hatred and disobedience as well as insulting public institutions in 2015. Earlier in June, the court decided to increase the sentence to nine years.

Since 2011, Zionist puppet-ruled regime in Bahrain became locked in a struggle with an opposition movement led primarily by Shiites, who form a majority in the country. The protesters were calling for political freedom, equality and a parliamentary system that operates independently of Bahrain’s Zio-Wahhabi royal family.


UK ‘Unconditional Ally’ of Bahrain Despite ‘Inhumane Human Rights Record’

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Dismantling Civil Society in Bahrain

Formula One in Bahrain
By Rannie Amiri 

Like a vise which first grips its object and then slowly, deliberately and inexorably crushes it, the al-Khalifa regime has done similarly to civil society in Bahrain. It did not stop when peaceful, pro-democracy, reform protests erupted in 2011 and were violently put down by government forces aided by an invasion of Saudi troops in March of that year. Indeed, the vise continues to close and relentlessly so.

Nationalities have been revoked, mosques razed, citizens deported, human rights activists imprisoned on flimsy charges of insulting the monarchy at the least or plotting its overthrow at worst, and the most perfunctory of dialogues with the opposition abandoned. By smothering the figures and institutions who dare challenge the authority of the ruling dynasty in the most benign of fashions – a tweet, waving the country’s flag, tearing up a photo or merely questioning the tenure of the world’s longest serving prime minister – the Bahraini regime and its Gulf allies would like to believe monarchal rule has been preserved. Such desperate measures however, only speak to its precarity.

The stalwart activist Zainab al-Khawaja was given a sentence of three years and one month in Dec. 2014 for (again) tearing up a picture of King Hamad. She refused to be separated from her infant son whom she took with her to prison. Al-Khawaja has just been released on “humanitarian” grounds after serving 15 months in jail.

Her father though, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, remains imprisoned serving a life sentence on trumped-up charges of attempting to topple the government. While authorities may have set Zainab al-Khawaja free, they simultaneously doubled the sentence of Sheikh Ali Salman, head of al-Wefaq, an opposition political party. Initially given a term of four years incarceration for alleged incitement against the regime, it was increased to nine years on appeal. The unflinching President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab, remains banned from leaving the country despite the need to secure medical treatment for his wife.

Busy highlighting the nation’s cordial relations with the United Kingdom and United States, the latter of which headquarters its Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the capital Manama, the Western media has largely ignored the plight of Bahrain’s ordinary citizens. The arrest and torture of disabled youth has now been documented by the BCHR. Indeed, for more than a decade, the Center has meticulously chronicled the dismantling of Bahrain’s civil society in all its forms by the al-Khalifa regime.

Most recently, with the passage of a law preventing any religious figure from joining political societies or engaging in political activities, the BCHR issued a statement condemning, “… the Bahraini parliament and Shura Council’s passage of amendments to the Political Societies Law, which places a ban on participation in political decision-making based on discriminatory religious grounds. In defense of this draft amendment, lawmakers supporting this motion argued it would prevent religious acts from being politicized. This decision restricts people’s ability to freely engage in religious practices, as those members willing to join political activities pertinent to the legislative process in Bahrain would now need to refrain from any activities carrying religious connotations.

In the face of widespread and open abuses in civil society, lack of proportional parliamentary representation, curfews, detentions, and imprisonment and torture of those who dissent, these practices have nonetheless failed to adversely impact the ties enjoyed between Bahrain and the United States. But when a regime becomes alienated from those whom it rules and for example, gives lengthy jail sentences for tweets it finds offensive, it speaks to a tenuous reign.

The pillars of civil advocacy in Bahrain – Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Maryam and Zainab al-Khawaja, Abduljalil al-Singace (sentenced to life in prison for participating in pro-democracy protests), Naji Fateel, Hussain Jawad and countless others both named and unnamed – have consistently engaged in purely secular, non-sectarian activism. Unlike the practice of the regime, the designations Sunni and Shia need not be applied when discussing the ongoing struggle for legal, political and socioeconomic rights in Bahrain. The people have waited too long for the West to recognize their demands are not based on sect, but on equity.

Despite an oppressive regime and the long shadow cast by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, resilient Bahrainis remain unintimidated.



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