Friday, 27 June 2014

Veiled Democracy in Bahrain, by Sally Saar

In 2003, a Bahraini politician, Ahmed Juma, wrote a book called Using Democracy to Stage a Coup. He was clear in stating that some of the opposition societies’ core belief was not democracy.

Juma believed that some societies involved in the political process would use democracy to stage a coup. No one paid attention.

In June 2014, many in Bahrain, including high ranking government officials and media, were surprised at the Iran and USA interference in the GCC, due to the “revelation” of the MEPI report which is, in fact, an archived public document that was signed by the Ministry of Trade in 2003.

The US abused the agreement by requesting names of only shi’a students whom they would train in various fields – their agenda was crystal clear.

Now, suddenly in disarray, government officials are frantically scrambling to correct past lapses and continue on the same path of erroneous commotion with reactive actions.

Proactive planning is still lacking. Ministries send contradictory messages - making it obvious that there is no coherent policy in place.

The decision making process is rampant with bureaucratic delays and pointless exercises that achieve very little. Ministers have not risen to the challenge of the crisis nor do they appear to be motivated by the unrest in the region – sadly, just business as usual.

The PM has endorsed empowerment, insisted on internal unity and fast tracking of issues – but this simple instruction has still not been adopted. Heads of State meeting leaders of countries is a necessity for the sake of diplomacy.

However, who from the Bahrain government sector or NGOs are visible at international forums or meetings with people at ground level at the EU, NATO, UN or Congress?

Instead of a stream of entertaining photographs on social media during visits abroad, would it not be more beneficial to Bahrain to see the people’s mandate?

Apparently, the Foreign Office in Israel has five ambassadors and over forty diplomats in their research departments. They remain ready and ahead of the game. Have any of the regional Ministries invested in analysts?

This raises the question; how much importance does Bahrain or the Arab world give to research and strategic planning?

Bahrain and the Arab world should never again be in a position where policy makers are stunned with scenarios that are glaringly obvious. It may be high time to evaluate the simple advice from the head of Bahrain’s Government who has been persistent with moving forward to a GCC Union.

Since 2011, universities have not produced a report about the effects of the unrest in Bahrain. Thousands of students at the University of Bahrain were affected – why have they not prepared reports or organized seminars and synopsis about the situation in Bahrain?

What type of outreach programmes are the other universities planning? Academics ultimately are free to raise issues and must take the time and initiative to address scenarios and publish papers or reports for the sake of their country.

Despite all the attacks and sectarian clashes, why has the Ministry of Education not published a comprehensive report to share with the world?

Obama believes the security of the American people is paramount, this being his justification for killing innocent people in Pakistan and Yemen.

In 2011, Cameron said “this continued violence is simply not acceptable and it will be stopped” – the roads were cleared of peaceful, unarmed protestors within days.

Yet, the Bahrain leadership has faced callous criticism for implementing safety and security procedures against deadly terrorism.

On Saturday 25th June 2014, tens of thousands of British nationals participated in the “No Austerity” protest to complain” about living standards forcing millions into poverty and demanded that the UK end the cost of war in blood; no military interventions”. They were demanding a fair, sustainable and secure future.

It took the BBC over 24 hours to report this protest – and yet, the BBC continues denouncing Bahrain at any given opportunity.

The Bahrain Prime Minister has repeatedly said that violence must stop and foreign interference eliminated – neither has happened in over 3 years.

Bahrain and the Arab world should probably be contemplating:

  • What is the political stance with the EU?
  • Why did the EU tow the US line in Bahrain but not during the Ukraine crisis?
  • Since the failure of the “Greater Middle East Plan”, what will the West do now?
  • What are the likely new “Greater Middle East Plans” and scenarios?
  • Why are we engaged with a political party whose core belief is not democracy at any level?
  • What is the role and what are the activities of Ambassadors?
  • Since Saykes Pcot is declared dead after what happened in Iraq and the region – do the powers-to be have grander plans for the region?
  • What is the role of the UN office in Bahrain and what reports have they generated for the international arena?
  • While running campaigns in selected areas through carefully chosen sources – why has the Bahrain UN office not submitted truthful reports to their head office?

There has been no positive statement reflecting social or economic developments from the UN office and Navi Pillai and Ban Ki Moon have been harsh and unfair – but surely their opinion is based on briefs coming directly from their local office?

Are we to presume that the UN office is not being completely honest in its reporting about Bahrain? Why are they not reporting accurately in the international arena? Why is no-one in the government questioning the role of the UN office in Bahrain?

Did we forget that on Sunday, 4th August 2013, US Embassies in Dhaka, Doha, Kabul, Khartoum, Kuwait and Bahrain remained closed due to a “threat” made in Yemen by “Al Qaeda”?

Bahrain, being safer than New York and London, did no-one suspect why the embassy was mysteriously shut?

Masters at propaganda, America attracted attention to the Middle East, by suggesting the CIA created Al Qaeda is a threat, thus deflecting international media attention from the real menace – Hezbollah Bahrain, who operate under the veil of the “democratic” Al Wefaq political party. Why are they given so much visibility?

Did we forget that on 24th September 2013, during the 68th annual session of the UN General Assembly, Obama said “efforts to resolve sectarian tensions that continue to surface in places like Iraq, Bahrain and Syria” thus proving that he had chosen to ignore the reality in Bahrain and substantiate his role in the “Greater Middle East” agenda?

Why did none of Bahrain’s government officials condemn the President of the US for his ignorant statement?

Backtracking will not resolve anything but policy makers must look forward and analyse future plans that America, Iran and even the UK may have for Bahrain and the rest of the GCC.

Did we forget what happened in Bahrain in 2011? For almost four years, Al Wefaq armed militia used “peaceful” methods of shooting sharpened metal rods through rocket launchers, molotovs and bombs to murder police and civilians – yet, they continue to cry innocence.

Al Wefaq’s leaders continue to deliberately sacrifice their own youth and despite recruiting young children to train to commit brutal violence, the world sadly sits in sympathetic ignorant silence.

Almost every citizen and resident in Bahrain has spoken, written and been vociferous against American, UK and Iranian interference in Bahrain – and yet, parliament focused on more ‘important’ issues such as banning expatriates from driving!

The premier has reiterated “those who targeted the Arab nation, using democracy as a pretext to interfere in internal Arab affairs, have tended to depict them as individuals who are deprived of their basic human rights, and tackled disturbances as symptoms of a spring and chaos as demands.”

For decades, the PM has urged internal strength against outside interference and the effects of disguised “democracy”.

Bahrain is in a cycle of continued violence, the region is in turmoil with sectarian atrocities in Iraq and utter horror in Syria.

Will we lament in years to come? After all, they say history repeats itself.

The Prime Minister of Bahrain continues to speak openly and transparently; in fact, he predicted the current situation years ago and he has been proven right

Will Bahrain listen now?

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