The Bahrain Revolution & the obstacles on its path:

Bahrain is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is an archipelago of 33 islands, the largest being Bahrain Island, at 55 km long by 18 km wide. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by a Causeway. Iran lies 200 km to the north of Bahrain, across the Gulf. The peninsula of Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The population in 2010 stood at 1,234,571, including 666,172 non-nationals.
Bahrain is a monarchy headed by the King, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. He enjoys wide executive authorities which include appointing the Prime Minister and his ministers, commanding the army, chairing the Higher Judicial Council, appointing the parliament’s upper half and dissolving its elected lower half. The head of government is the unelected Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalīfa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the uncle of the current king who has served in this position since 1971, making him the world’s longest serving prime minister in the world. In 2010, more than half of the government was composed of Al Khalifa family.
From the above information it will be see that the King of Bahrain combined the executive, legislative and judicial powers all to himself in a 21st century country, separation of powers is one of the most important ingredient of modern civilization. The Al-Khalifa family controls almost everything in Bahrain; from the position of Prime Minister to Ministers of important Ministries to other agencies of the State.
The Al Khalifa family moved to Bahrain in 1797. Originally, they lived in Umm Qasr where they preyed on the caravans of Basra and pirated ships in the Shatt al-Arab waterway until Turks expelled them to Kuwait where they remained until 1766. Following the Qatari–Bahraini War in 1868, British representatives signed another agreement with the Al-Khalifas. It specified that the ruler could not dispose of any of his territory except to the United Kingdom and could not enter into relationships with any foreign government without British consent. In return the British promised to protect Bahrain from all aggression by sea and to lend support in case of land attack. More importantly the British promised to support the rule of the Al Khalifa in Bahrain, securing its unstable position as rulers of the country. Other agreements in 1880 and 1892 sealed the protectorate status of Bahrain to the British.
The Standard Oil Company of California discovered oil in Bahrain in 1931 and production began the following year. Relations with the United Kingdom became closer, as evidenced by the British Royal Navy moving its entire Middle Eastern command from Bushehr in Iran to Bahrain in 1935. On 15 August 1971, Bahrain declared independence and signed a new treaty of friendship with the United Kingdom. Bahrain joined the United Nations and the Arab League later in the year. The most recent history of Bahrain is tainted by colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism and despotism.
The roots of the present uprising date back to the beginning of the twentieth century. The Bahraini people have protested sporadically throughout the last decades demanding social, economic and political rights. The present uprising started in early 2011 and on February 14, 2011 demonstrators occupy iconic landmark , Pearl Roundabout in the capital ,Manama, and camped for days there which functioned as the center point of protests. The Bahraini protests were initially aimed at achieving greater political freedom and equality for the majority Shia population, and expanded to a call to end the monarchy of King Hamad following a deadly night raid on 17 February 2011 against protesters at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, known locally as the Bloody Thursday .After a month, the oppressive government requested troops and police from the Gulf Cooperation Council, and Saudi-led troops backed by tanks arrived on 14 March. A day later, the king of Bahrain declared martial law and a three-month state of emergency. Pearl Roundabout was cleared of protesters and the iconic statue at its center was destroyed. After lifting state of emergency on 1 June, the opposition party Al Wefaq organized several weekly protests usually attended by tens of thousands. One of their marches organized in 9 March 2012 was attended by over 150,000 Protester who wanted democratic change for their country.
The demands for separation of powers, greater freedom to the people, and fair division of wealth, having an elected government by the people and to stop the random and racial naturalization policy in order to change the composition of the Bahraini people are legitimate demands by all standards of assessments. But the Tyrant and his backers are not happy about these demands and wished to maintain the status quo of oppression and injustice that only serve the ruling family and its hegemonic masters. The Bahraini Army and Police forces are mostly Mercenaries recruited from mostly the Indian sub-continent as an instrument of not protecting the Bahraini people but to subjugate and repressed them.
The ruling family is also indicted in the persecution and torture of innocent protesters, there are reports by witnesses who were subjected to “intensive beating, torture, and violation” by individuals they identified as members of the ruling family. Al-Khalifa family members such as Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Khalid bin Hamad Al-khalifa, Nora bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa and Khalifa bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa were mentioned as culprits. A good example is the case of Ayat Al- Qurmozi who was arrested for reciting a poem against the Bahraini regime during a peaceful demonstration in Pearl Roundabout. Ayat spoke after her release about the torture she was subjected to by men and women, specifying that one of the torturers was Nora Al-Khalifa. According to a report, Nora spit at Ayat, slapped her repeatedly spit inside her mouth, shocked her face with electricity repeatedly, and screamed sectarian abusive expressions at her. Another example is the case of Dr. Fatima Hajji who was arrested from her apartment by Nora Al-Khalifa and 25 masked men. Dr. Hajji assured she did not take part in any protest, she only treated patients. Yet, she was insulted by Nora who also slapped her for almost 25 minutes and beat her on the feet with a piece of plastic. “When Nora Al-Khalifa searched in her (Fatima’s) BlackBerry and saw two emails for Human Rights Watch (one about her arrest and another about martyr Ahmed Shams), she screamed in her face: How dare you defame our government’s image; and then she electrocuted her in the face,” a report stated. There is also the case of a university student, Fatima Al-Bakali, who was taken blindfolded to Western Al-Riffa center where Khalifa bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa investigated with her, beating, slapping, and kicking her. Khalifa offended her with sectarian terms and threatened her of being raped if she talked about what happened during investigations.
The patterns of torture includes; Assault on the sanctity of houses, cursing and sectarianism insults, complete stripping during arbitrary detention, hanging in a way that head down and feet up, beating on feet heel for multiple hours, use of electric shocks at sensitive places and some parts of the body, sleep deprivation for long periods, severe beatings to the point of Bloodying on the back and head by clubs and shoes and spitting in the mouth, and forcing one to swallow it.
Since the beginning of the uprising thousands had been killed through Bullets, beatings to death and by the use of poisonous gasses. Thousands more injured and more thousands languishing in the regime’s jail in most deplorable conditions of deprivations and torture. The most recent casualty was a 14 year-old boy, Husain Jaziri, who was shot with a short gun at close range-a gun meant for hunting wild animals.
The forces against the legitimate aspirations of the Bahraini people are not just local or regional but also international. The Bahraini regime is a U.S. ally in a geographically strategic perch that is positioned near the world’s most important oil reserves. At the center of U.S. strategy there is the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain—a base that is home to 3,000 military personnel who oversee the 30 naval ships and some 30,000 sailors that patrol the Persian Gulf and Arabian and Red seas. These American forces stationed in Bahrain had as its major objective the propping-up of Arab despots, security cover for Israel and containing regional heavyweight-Iran. The Western hegemonic powers wished to keep this oppressive regime in place at the detriment of the freedom, equality and respect for the Human Rights of the Bahraini people by giving all political cover to that oppressive regime and ensuring almost total media blackout of the Revolution.
The United States of America has a tragic history in the region. For more than five decades, successive administrations, with surprising consistency, funded, supported, and armed some of the region’s most repressive governments. United States’ best friends ranged from the illegal Occupier of Palestine to bad monarchs and to worse despots who oppressed and repressed their populations with deadly force when necessary. The public utterances of US leaders about democracy and human rights for nations of the Middle East are calculated ploy to deceive the gullible and the unenlightened.
These are the active forces against the legitimate wishes and aspirations of the people of Bahrain in their just struggle for freedom and justice from the hands of a brutal dictator backed by regional despots and Western hegemonic powers. It is our sincere hope that they emerge victorious in this just struggle of self-determination.

HARUN ELBINAWI
elbinawi@yahoo.com
@Elbinawiimage

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