‘West silent on Bahraini rights abuse to retain military bases’
Opposition activists have renewed protests as the Bahraini authorities plan to change the voting rules in the run up to the parliamentary elections on November 22. The activists have tried to occupy central areas of the capital Manama by pouring oil on roads. A new wave of public indignation was provoked by a Bahraini court decision on September 29 to revoke citizenship of nine opposition demonstrators and sentence them to a life imprisonment. The protesters were accused of arms smuggling and terrorism.
Jawad Fairooz, one of 31 demonstrators who had their citizenship revoked in 2012, claims that the ruling Khalifa family in Bahrain uses all kind of tools to kill or impose life sentences on the opposition, and the recent stripping of citizenship of the protesters has proved that Bahrain acts against all international treaties and human rights conventions it has signed.
Husain Abdulla from Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain was also stripped of citizenship in 2012. He argues that revoking passports is a new policy pursued by the Manama authorities.
“There is some kind of policy going on in Bahrain that anyone who resists this government or who opposes this government, whether through political activism or human right activism, their citizenship will be revoked as a severe punishment. So they set examples to others, so no-one would dare to oppose or protest against the current government in Bahrain,” Abdulla explained in RT’s In the Now.
The international community does not speak up about the powers the Bahraini government has granted itself to punish government opponents and continues to keep silent about human rights abuses.
Jawad Fairooz says the reason for that lies in the military agreements between Bahrain, the US and the UK. For instance, the Americans have their Fifth Fleet located there.
Abdulla shares a similar point of view, adding that it explains the absence of media coverage of human rights issues.
“You have competing interests going on in Bahrain. You have the US Fifth Fleet, now we are also hearing that the UK is using military bases in the country. So all these different interests add to that influence and money of the petrodollar of Saudi Arabia, of course it is going to play a role,” Abdulla said.
According to Fairooz, the US and the UK governments could probably consider backing the current regime in Bahrain could strengthen their positions in the region. However, that will be the other way round.
“Until now the Bahrain regime has proven that it cannot hold the stability of Bahrain in the long-run. And everybody knows that each ten years we have such an uprising,” he said.
However, while stripping Bahraini opposition activists of their citizenship, the authorities naturalize nationals of Syria, Yemen and Pakistan.
“They are heading to change the demography of the Bahraini population; they make it more loyal to the ruling family and less loyal to the opposition. It is really a dangerous issue we are talking here,” Jawad Fairooz told RT.
As regards the upcoming elections, the forecast is rather pessimistic. For instance, Fairooz thinks that opposition parties won’t even participate.
“Obviously the opposition will not participate in these elections because these elections are just decorative, they are enforced by the ruling family, it is [distancing] the absolute monarchy [further away] from the constitutional monarchy,” he said.
“So till today you have a political crisis in the country where thousands of citizens are in prison because they simply asked for their political rights, they demanded just this, and they demanded to be represented in a fair way, in a modern way, in a democratic way, in the way that every person should live: one person - one vote,” Husain Abdulla told RT.
Nevertheless, Jawad Fairooz believes that the opposition will stand once again, though their brutal suppression by the government will lead to more instability in Bahrain.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.