Aletho News


Bahrain Government Committed Nearly 1,000 Abuses in January: Report

teleSUR | February 10, 2018

The monarchy of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, in Bahrain, committed 995 cases of abuse in January, a new report by the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) has revealed.

The report, published Saturday, states that 121 people, including six minors, were arbitrarily arrested in house raids. Torture and other violent tactics were used against 18 detainees, including eight minors and four women, in police stations and prisons.

A total of 17 Bahrainis were disappeared last month, many having participated in anti-government protests, and 77 opposition protesters were given a total of 679 years in prison for taking part in protests or supporting notable dissidents.

The BFHR also cited the continued ban on Friday prayers in the village of Diraz as a human rights violation. Diraz harbors many people who favor a reform of the Bahraini monarchy.

Since February 2011, Bahrain has been the scene of near-daily protests against the Al Khalifah monarchy, with dozens killed. Many notable opposition figures remain imprisoned.

Despite government bans, people are preparing for protests and demonstrations to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising that began seven years ago.

February 11, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , | Leave a comment

Iran: Saudi-drafted Arab League statement full of lies, worthless

Press TV – November 20, 2017

The spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry has described as “worthless” the closing statement of the latest Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo, emphasizing that the statement was “full of lies and distortions.”

“In line with the policies of the Zionist regime [of Israel] to intensify differences in the region and to divert [the attention of] Muslim nations and states away from the continued occupation of Palestine as the main issue of the Islamic Ummah, Saudi Arabia has succeeded through pressure as well as extensive political and propagandistic hue and cry to have a statement that is full of lies and distortions be issued in the name of foreign ministers of the Arab League,” Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.

On Sunday, the Arab League foreign ministers held an extraordinary general meeting in the Egyptian capital at the request of Saudi Arabia. At the end of the meeting, the participants issued a statement accusing Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of the countries in the region and pursuing aggressive policies against Arab states.

Qassemi dismissed the resolution as “worthless” and urged Saudi Arabia to “immediately end its savage aggression” against the Yemeni Arab people so that the Yemeni civilians, particularly women and children, would no longer be affected by the “flames of their spite.”

Iran also calls on Saudi Arabia to stop its policy of exerting pressure on Lebanon, Qatar and the entire Middle East and allow the Bahraini people to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis in the country by removing its forces there, he said.

Qassemi said Iran’s policy was to boost good relations with regional countries, adding that the Islamic Republic had made great efforts to counter terrorism and help resolve regional crises by actively participating in several rounds of peace talks in the Kazakh capital city of Astana on the Syrian conflict and presenting a peace plan for Yemen.

The Iranian spokesperson emphasized that the solution to the regional problems was not to issue such worthless statements but to stop following the policies of the Israeli regime, put an end to bullying and terrorism and accept the demands of regional nations and states.

Saudi policies root cause of regional, world instability: Deputy FM

Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari also on Monday criticized the Arab League statement and said Saudi Arabia’s policies were the root cause of insecurity and instability in the region and the world.

“Saudi Arabia must stop pursuing the Zionist regime’s policies through causing escalation of differences and conflicts in the region and providing extensive support for terrorism and extremism,” Jaberi Ansari added.

He emphasized that regional crises would never be resolved through making false claims, distorting evident realities and publishing statements under the pressure of Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian official urged Riyadh to end its interference in and pressure on Qatar, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria as well as the use of terrorism and extremism as a means.

The Saudi-drafted Arab League’s statement came on the same day that Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz for the first time revealed that Tel Aviv had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia.

“We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries and usually [we are] the party that is not ashamed,” Steinitz said in an interview on Army Radio on Sunday.

He added that Saudi Arabia was the side that was interested in hiding its ties with Israel and Tel Aviv had no problem with this.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bahraini court gives jail term to activist’s family

Press TV – October 30, 2017

A Bahrain court has sentenced three family members of a prominent activist living abroad to jail terms as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown against opposition figures and pro-democracy activists in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who is a member of the rights group, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), said his relatives were sentenced on Monday on the charge of planting a “fake bomb” in January 2017.

The Britain-based activist further noted that his family members were convicted based on confessions gained through torture, and Bahraini officials are targeting his relatives because of his work in exposing the Manama regime’s “horrific rights abuses.”

“The lowest the Bahrain monarch can go is to come after my family, because I protested his presence in the United Kingdom, and dedicated my work to exposing his government’s horrific rights abuses,” Alwadaei said in a statement.

“I was distraught to see my family suffer torture, persecutions and interrogations about my activities,” he added, noting, “I will do whatever I can to hold the perpetrators to account.”

Alwadaei’s 49-year-old mother-in-law, Hajer Mansoor, and 18-year-old brother-in-law, Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, were each sentenced to three years in jail.

His 30-year-old cousin Mahmood Marzooq was also sentenced to one month and a half for carrying a knife.

Alwadaei’s statement further noted that the three had been detained since March and denied access to lawyers during their interrogations.

Meanwhile, a group of 13 human rights groups have sent a letter to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, describing the case as “part of a pattern of abuse and harassment against human rights advocates and their families in Bahrain.”

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

On March 5, Bahrain’s parliament approved the 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.

Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3.

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Bahrain’s king denounces boycott of Israel, says citizens free to visit Israel

Press TV – September 18, 2017

Bahrain’s king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah has called for an end to the Arab boycott of Israel, days after the Israeli premier said relations with the Arab world were better than any other time.

According to Israeli media, King Hamad’s made the remarks at an event hosted by pro-Israeli group Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, calling for diplomatic ties to be established with the Israeli regime.

King Hamad also told Simon Wiesenthal Center director Rabbi Abraham Cooper that Bahraini citizens are free to visit Israel as they please. His stance on Israel was welcomed by the Israeli center’s director who hailed the monarch as “ahead of the pack and smart.”

“If I had to predict, I would tell you that the Arab world’s relationship with the state of Israel is going to dramatically change… This is a dinner tonight that’s hosted by a Jewish organization that no one will say is not so pro-Israel,” Cooper added.

Cooper and his partner Marvin Hier met with King Hamed at the center and discussed the opening of a museum for religious tolerance in Bahrain’s capital Manama towards the end of the year.

The change of stance comes weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described relations with the Arab world better than any other time.

“What’s happening now with the Arab bloc states has never before happened in our history – even when we signed agreements,” said Netanyahu. “What we have now is greater than anything else during any other period in Israel’s history.”

Last week, reports emerged that a secret meeting was held between a leading Saudi royal and senior Israeli officials in Tel Aviv, and in June, leaked emails of the UAE’s ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba’s suggested that Abu Dhabi had established secret links with pro-Israel think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Last year, a video of a ceremony to mark the Jewish Hanukkah holiday hosted by Bahrain circulated on social media, showing Bahraini men in local kaffiyeh attire attending the party and dancing with Orthodox Jews. The video prompted condemnation from the Palestinian movement Hamas that urged Bahrain to end the move towards normalizing ties with Israel.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. Tel Aviv has defied international calls to stop its construction activities on the occupied Palestinian territories.

The regime has accused rights groups of contributing to the worldwide anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The BDS was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

The boycott of Israel was adopted by the Arab League and its member states and bars all relations between Arab nations and Israel.

Thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS to help promote the Palestinian cause of ending Israeli occupation and oppression. Those include international trade unions, NGOs, initiatives, academic and business societies, trade unions, and cultural figures.

Last year, the regime allocated $32 million to fighting the high-profile movement. It has also banned anyone found to support the BDS from entering the Israeli-occupied territories.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 7 Comments

Report reveals UK exploiting Qatar crisis for own profit through arms exports

Press TV – September 10, 2017

Britain is exploiting a rift between several Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and Qatar through designating both sides as the “priority markets” for its arms sales, a report suggests.

The Middle East Eye (MEE) report cited a list of 46 states highlighted by the UK Department for International Trade Defense and Security Organization as potentially lucrative markets for weapons exports.

The list included Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, which cut ties with Doha three months ago.

This is while many of the countries identified as key targets for the British arms sales are included in the government’s own “human rights priority registers.”

The list comes ahead of the Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair scheduled to be held in London on September 12-15.

“The fact that, despite current tensions, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both on the list tells us everything we need to know,” Andrew Smith, spokesperson of the UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade organization, told the MEE.

Britain, he said, has “made clear that it will pull out all stops to sell arms to” both sides of the Qatar crisis.

Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

They presented Qatar with a list of 13 wide-ranging demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face unspecified consequences.

Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and said that they were meant to force the country to surrender its sovereignty.

UK arms fair hosts despots

In a relevant development, the UK government published its official guest list for DSEI, comprising 56 countries, among them Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar.

Smith said the list included “a roll call of despots, dictatorships and human rights abusers. They will be greeted by civil servants and government ministers who are there for one reason only: to promote weapons.”

MP Caroline Lucas, UK Green Party co-leader, also called for the closure of the London arms fair.

“DSEI is a dark stain on our country’s already tarnished reputation. It’s time that this festival of violence was shut down for good – and for the UK to engage in peace-building rather

September 10, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

70,000 Tonnes of Hubris

By Craig Murray | June 27, 2017

There is no defensive purpose to an aircraft carrier. Its entire purpose is to move aircraft to a position where they can attack other countries. As soon as they are equipped with attack aircraft, these carriers will spend most of their time around the Middle East, including at the UK’s brand new naval base in the vicious despotism of Bahrain. Having spent £7 billion on these behemoths, politicians will seek to enhance their prestige and demonstrate that they control a nation which is a “major power”, by using them. The very fact of their existence will make bombing attacks such as those we saw on Syria, Libya and Iraq more likely.

Sirte, Libya, after NATO bombing

That further twist in the cycle of violence will lead to more terrorist attacks in the UK. There is no sense in which this aircraft carrier is anything to do with defending the United Kingdom. It is a device to attack foreign countries. The result is it makes us a lot less safe at home.

When they think about it, people understand that, as YouGov demonstrated during the recent election campaign. The politicians will be trying to whip up feelings of jingoism and national pride around this huge hunk of floating hubris, to stop us thinking about that.

There is no money for our schools and hospitals, but unlimited sums for the armaments industry. The United Kingdom is not just a dysfunctional state, it is a rogue state and a danger to the peace of the world.

June 28, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Bahrain to jail Qatar sympathisers

Middle East Online | June 8, 2017

MANAMA – 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 interior ministry statement said.

The 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-led Arab military campaign in Yemen.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt cut ties with Qatar

Press TV – June 5, 2017

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties and all land, sea and air contacts with Qatar, accusing the Persian Gulf country of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.

Riyadh took the lead on Monday to sever relations and other countries fell in line after an official source said the kingdom “urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”

A Saudi official cited by SPA said the country decided to “sever diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar, and to close all land, sea and aviation ports” in order to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”

The “decisive” measure, the Saudi statement said, was due to “gross violations committed by authorities in Qatar over the past years.”

The United Arab Emirates gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the country, citing their “support, funding and embrace of terrorist, extremist and sectarian organizations,” state news agency WAM reported.

Bahrain News Agency said the tiny kingdom was cutting ties with Doha over its insistence on “shaking the security and stability of Bahrain and meddling in its affairs.”

Egypt accused Qatar of supporting “terrorist” organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood which it has been cracking down on since the 2013 coup against the country’s first ever democratically-elected leader, Mohamed Morsi.

Meanwhile, a Saudi “coalition” waging a war in Yemen said it was ending Qatar’s membership. The measure, it said, was due to Doha’s “practices that strengthen terrorism, and its support to organizations in Yemen, including al-Qaeda and Daesh, as well as dealing with the rebel militias.”

Qatar regretted the decision, saying “the measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact.” Doha-based Al Jazeera TV quoted Foreign Ministry as saying that the decisions would “not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents.”

“The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its (Qatar’s) sovereignty as a state,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the severance of ties as an “incitement campaign based on fabrications, which reflects an intention to harm Qatar.”

Pakistan, another member of the “coalition” which has recently tried to distance itself from the Saudi group’s anti-Iran agenda, made it clear that the country had no plans to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

UAE carriers Etihad, Emirates and flydubai said they would suspend flights to and from Doha from Tuesday. Qatar Airways said it has suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia with immediate affect.

Trump factor

The crisis follows US President Donald Trump’s visit to the region last month, marked by the signing of a record $110-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the visit was aimed at getting Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the region to stand in “unity” with Israel and confront Iran.

After Trump’s visit, tensions escalated between Riyadh and Doha because of an article in Qatar’s state-run news agency in which the emir was quoted as criticizing the US, Saudi Arabia, and their client states for attempting to stir up tensions with “Islamic power” Iran.

The Qatari government quickly deleted the comments, saying the state agency had been hacked but the official denial failed to stop the rift between the Persian Gulf Arab countries from widening.

Saudi media then viciously attacked Qatar, accusing it of having “betrayed” the other Arab countries particularly at a time when they had attempted to stage a show of “unity” against Iran in a much-publicized and extravagant series of events in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also blocked Qatari websites and broadcasters. Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani later said the country was being targeted in a “hostile media campaign, which we will confront.”

Prelude to invasion?

Qatar, home to the forward headquarters of the US military’s Central Command and some 10,000 American troops, long has faced criticism from its Arab neighbors over its support of the Muslim Brotherhood which has another admirer in Turkey.

Western officials have also accused Qatar of allowing or even encouraging funding of Takfiri extremists like al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front. Saudi Arabia and the UAE similarly stand accused of supporting other Takfiri groups and the escalation exposes an underlying bitter rivalry among the neighbors for influence.

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh was quoted as saying that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is rooted in “accumulated differences from the past even though both countries are followers of the Wahhabi school.”

Wahhabism is the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia, which is freely preached by government-backed clerics there and inspiring terrorist groups such as Daesh and al-Qaeda.

Prominent Palestinian journalist Abdel Bari Atwan said in a Twitter post that the diplomatic rupture is a “prelude” to a military action against Qatar.

“The next move may be a military offensive to change the regime in Qatar. It’s a war planned months ago,” wrote the editor-in-chief of the Rai al-Youm news website.

Saudi Arabia, UAE falling out over Yemen?

Recent reports have suggested Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were divided over their role in Yemen on which they have been waging a deadly war for more than two years now.

In a recent interview with Middle East Eye online news portal, Saudi-backed former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi accused the UAE of acting “like an occupation power in Yemen rather than a force of liberation.”

Yemeni sources have revealed that the United Arab Emirates was trying to establish control over the strategic island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea, which Hadi had rented out to the country for nearly a century.

Tensions have taken a turn for worse under Saudi Arabia’s new rulers who have adopted an aggressive policy, waging a destructive war on Yemen, severing relations with Iran and assisting militants in Iraq and Syria to topple their governments.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Press TV – May 22, 2017

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.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

US, Israel two sides of same coin, trying to destroy Yemen: Houthi

Leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi, speaks during a televised speech in Sa’ada, on April 23, 2017.
Press TV – April 23, 2017

Leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi, says the United States and the Israeli regime are two sides of the same coin and together they seek to destroy Yemen through a brutal military campaign launched by Saudi Arabia.

Addressing a group of Yemenis in Sa’ada, thorough a video conference, Houthi further said on Sunday that the US, Israel and their allies are trying to impose their values on regional nations, adding that enemies view Yemenis as a worthless tool to sustain their own interests in the region.

“Independent forces in the region from Yemen to Syria, Lebanon and Iraq are considered as rogue from the American perspective, and sympathy for the oppressed in these countries is viewed as a crime,” he said, adding that Washington is trying hard to turn regional players into its own puppets.

The Yemeni leader also noted that collusion in the atrocities committed against the Yemeni people is not an issue in the eyes of the American leaders, but when the oppressed and independent forces cooperate with each other, the US perceives it as a crime.

He called on all Yemenis to stand united against the aggressors and defend their country.

“[When] anyone says Israel is a threat to our nation, the United States and its allies say they are supporters of Iran, and with the help of this false justification, they (Washington and allies) target anyone that does not accept adopting a hostile attitude towards Iran,” he added.

He also said the only sin committed by Iran, from the perspective of the United States, was that it freed itself from being a puppet country in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

‘US, Israel main source of terrorism worldwide’

The Yemeni leader added that Washington considers regional or international threats all those countries that are not its ally, “but the reality is that the US and Israel are themselves the main source of terrorism worldwide.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Houthi said the Yemeni nation, from all walks of life, should boost their awareness of the realities of regional developments and use it as a tool to battle the US propaganda against the Arab country. Ignorance, he said, makes people an easy target for the US and the Zionists.

Houthi also stated that only Yemenis can decide about their future and the internal affairs of their country and that absolutely no other country or organization, even the United Nations and the Arab League, can impose their so-called solutions to the crisis in Yemen.

He described as utterly ridiculous Washington and Riyadh’s claim that they want to liberate Yemeni cities from “Yemeni occupation.”

“You are Yemenis, who have occupied the capital Sana’a? The US wants to liberate Sana’a from Yemenis?!” he asked.

Houthi reiterated that the Yemeni nation’s resistance against the Riyadh regime’s incessant attacks was deeply rooted in religious orders and was meant to safeguard national sovereignty and freedom.

Saudi Arabia launched its deadly campaign against Yemen in March 2015 to push back the Houthi Ansarullah fighters from Sana’a and to bring back to power Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Yemen’s president who has resigned and is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

The campaign, which lacks any international mandate and has faced increasing criticism, has claimed the lives of more than 12,000 people, most of them civilians.

Certain Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar, are partners to the military aggression.

April 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bahrain approves military trials for civilians

Press TV – March 5, 2017

Bahrain 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 Arabia, 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.

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , | Leave a comment

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

By Marwa Osman | RT | March 5, 2017

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.

Ms. Marwa Osman. PhD Candidate located in Beirut, Lebanon. University Lecturer at the Lebanese International University and Maaref University. Political writer/commentator on Middle East issues with many international and regional media outlets.

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment