Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ba Ba Ba Ba Bahrain....

"British royal trip comes as Bahrain unrest far from over" by Jon Gambrell Associated Press  November 11, 2016

DIRAZ, Bahrain — There was no sign of the unrest as Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, took in the sights as part of a three-nation tour of the Gulf. The Prince of Wales inaugurated a new naval base on Thursday, the first permanent British military presence since its withdrawal from Bahrain in 1971.

The royal visit and the military base suggest Britain, which has long had influence with Bahrain’s own monarchy, may not be pressing it on human rights.

Bahrain, a small island off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, has long drawn revelers to bars across the causeway from dry Saudi Arabia. Its history as a port town for pearl divers and shippers has drawn an eclectic mix of Sunnis, Shi’ites, Iraqi Jews, Christian missionaries, and Hindus.

The 2011 Arab Spring protests were backed by the Shi’ite majority and others, and were aimed at demanding more political freedoms from the ruling Al Khalifa family. The government put down the demonstrations with help from Saudi and Emirati troops, and later pledged to reform.

Who did that benefit in the end anyway? 

Every time they come up with some catchy name you know it's an agenda-pushing effort. 

The Arab Spring was about clearing out old stale dictators and replacing them with fresh faces.

While low-level unrest persisted for years, things remained largely peaceful until April....


Only one way to quell unrest over there:

"Bahrain executes 3 over police bombing, triggering protests" by Adam Schreck Associated Press  January 16, 2017

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The executions were the first in the US-allied nation since 2010 and followed a spike in protests in solidarity with the convicted men.

Bahrain is a tiny island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia that hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which patrols the waters around the Arabian Peninsula and is the naval counterweight to Shi’ite power Iran.

I hope you guys don't get Qatared.

Government forces crushed the 2011 uprising with help from allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but the country continues to face unrest led by a majority Shi’ite population that feels marginalized by the Sunni monarchy.

Bahrain also maintains close ties to Britain, which is building a naval base of its own in the country. Over the past two-and-a-half months, Prince Charles, Prime Minister Theresa May, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have all paid visits to the island.

Johnson made a point of underscoring Britain’s opposition to the death penalty hours after the sentences were carried out.

Means nothing. The prince was just there. No biggie.

Nicholas McGeehan, a researcher who monitors Bahrain for Human Rights Watch, called the executions inflammatory and unjust as he urged the kingdom’s allies to ‘‘publicly and unequivocally condemn these killings.’’ Amnesty International deputy director Samah Hadid called the executions ‘‘a deeply regressive step.’’

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets Saturday in solidarity with the condemned men.

Protests and clashes continued Sunday despite a heavy presence of riot police deployed in predominantly Shi’ite areas....



“These actions are inconsistent with US interests and strain our partnership with Bahrain,’’ Secretary of State John Kerry said. ‘‘We call on the Government of Bahrain to reverse these and other recent measures.’’ Ongoing, low-level, and occasionally violent unrest continues to roil the kingdom despite reforms following the Arab Spring-inspired uprising."

And ignore what is going on in Arkansas.

That's when the Globe suspended their coverage of those particular protests.

"Bahrain strips citizenship from top Shi’ite cleric" by Aya Batrawy Associated Press  June 21, 2016

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bahrain’s government on Monday revoked the citizenship of the country’s leading Shi’ite cleric in a move that brought thousands of protesters into the streets and threatened to ignite sectarian tensions across the region.

Isn't that kind of a Nazi thing to do? 

The Bahrain News Agency quoted the Interior Ministry as saying that Sheikh Isa Qassim had played a key role in creating an extremist sectarian atmosphere and had formed groups that ‘‘follow foreign religious ideologies and political entities,’’ an apparent reference to Shi’ite-majority Iran.

They are part of what is happening in the Persian Gulf now.

The move was welcomed by Bahrain’s Sunni-led allies but condemned by Shi’ites, and could serve as another flashpoint for tensions stoked by the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

After the decision was announced, thousands of Qassim’s supporters gathered outside of his house in the mostly Shi’ite village of Diraz, carrying posters and chanting religious slogans as well as slogans against Bahrain’s king and the Saudi monarchy. It was the largest protest in at least two years.

Sayed al-Wadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said in a statement that the decision will escalate tensions and may lead to violence.

The tiny island nation off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula has been in turmoil since a 2011 uprising backed by majority Shi’ites who demanded greater rights from the Sunni-led monarchy. Bahrain crushed the protests with the help of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which are Sunni allies suspicious of Iran and opposed to growing Shi’ite influence in the region.

Saudi Arabia’s senior council of clerics, who follow an ultraconservative Sunni ideology that is at odds with Iran’s Shi’ite clerical leadership, welcomed the actions taken by Bahrain.

‘‘This arrogance will leave no choice for the people of Bahrain other than armed resistance,’’ General Qassem Soleimani, who heads the elite Quds Force of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency. He upped the rhetoric further, saying the decision against the cleric crosses ‘‘a red line,’’ and warned that the government would be toppled and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ‘‘will pay the cost.’’

Lebanon’s Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Shi’ite militant group, denounced the decision on its Al-Manar TV network, which called on Bahrainis to ‘‘express their indignation’’ and said the move against the cleric would have ‘‘grave consequences.’’

That was last year, and they didn't really do anything. It was just talk.


Also seeTiny Bahrain poses big headache for US

Maybe they can lop of the pain for you:

"5 die in Bahrain as government raids Shiite dissidents" by Kareem Fahim Washington Post  May 24, 2017

ISTANBUL — A raid by forces in Bahrain against an opposition stronghold has left at least five people dead and hundreds detained in one of the deadliest crackdowns since protests erupted in 2011 against the Persian Gulf nation’s Western-backed monarchy.

Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said the raid occurred Tuesday in the village of Duraz, and officers came under attack, including from assailants wielding explosives, according to the state news agency.

Opposition activists said the police targeted a peaceful sit-in outside the home of Bahrain’s leading Shiite cleric, and that the dead included an environmental activist.

In Bahrain, a tiny but strategic island nation, protests and clashes have flared for years between the Sunni-led monarchy and Bahrain’s large Shiite population, which claims it suffers discrimination and other abuses. Bahrain hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

The timing of Tuesday’s raid was striking: Two days after President Trump publicly assured the king of Bahrain that their relationship would be free of the kind of ‘‘strain’’ that had occurred in the past — an apparent reference to the periodic chiding of Bahrain by the Obama administration for its human rights violations.

‘‘Our countries have a wonderful relationship together, but there has been a little strain, but there won’t be strain with this administration,’’ Trump said during a photo session with the king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, during a conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, according to the Reuters news agency.

Trump’s attendance at the Riyadh conference was in large part aimed at winning back Persian Gulf allies who had bristled at Obama’s outreach to Iran, a Shiite power. 

We were given a heads-up.

Trump’s widely anticipated speech, ostensibly about Islam and extremism, included assurances to the Sunni Gulf states that ‘‘our friends will never question our support.’’

Qatar wasn't a friend, and they should have questioned.

In Bahrain, the government’s opponents viewed the conference and Trump’s appearance with the Bahraini monarch as providing tacit approval for Tuesday’s raid.

‘‘The killing of five protesters is a heinous crime enabled by the unconditional support of the Bahraini rulers’ key allies in Riyadh, Washington and London,’’ Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said in a statement on Wednesday.

‘‘This bloodshed — the blood that’s on their hands — will only continue unless it is met with severe consequences from the international community.’’

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them.

A State Department official told the AFP news agency that Washington was ‘‘concerned’’ by the reports of deaths during the raid. ‘‘We urge restraint on all sides,’’ the agency quoted the official as saying.

That is there way of saying, yeah, we approved, now stop making us look bad.

Bahrain’s Ministry of Information Affairs did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the identities of the victims, the circumstances of their deaths, or the US relationship with Bahrain.

Bahrain’s Shiite majority has long complained of widespread discrimination at the hands of the Sunni dynasty ruling the country.

Political life and sectarian relations have steadily deteriorated since the government, with help from Persian Gulf allies, quashed a Shiite-led pro-democracy uprising in 2011. Since then, Bahrain’s most prominent opposition figures have fled the country, been imprisoned, or are facing prosecution.

Bahrain’s government has accused Iran of stirring unrest in the country and increasingly aiding violent attacks against its security agents.

After the raid, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, denounced Bahrain and the United States for the raid on Twitter, calling it the ‘‘First concrete result of POTUS cozying up to despots in Riyadh: Deadly attack on peaceful protesters by emboldened Bahrain regime. Google it.’’

The last few days have been the last concrete results needed. We are at war with Iran, in Syria and in the Persian Gulf.


Also seeTrump administration drops human rights in Bahrain F-16 deal


"A US Navy officer relieved of commanding a Persian Gulf patrol ship, the USS Typhoon, a Manama, Bahrain-based vessel patrolling a region crucial to global oil supplies where American forces routinely have tense encounters with Iranian forces, allegedly failed to maintain equipment to the point of exposing ‘‘his crew to unnecessary risk,’’ interfered with an inquiry into his actions, and once slept drunk on a bench at a Dubai port, according to a naval investigation. The US Navy’s 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain."

The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it?