Saturday, May 28, 2011

Converging layers of hypocrisy in Bahrain's abuse of its own citizenry

In an op-ed piece in Al Jazeera ["The role of the Islamic Republic in Bahrain," 27 May 2011] Hamid Dabashi points out the many layers of hypocrisy that have converged in the treatment of demonstrators in Bahrain. His primary focus is Iran, but in the process of explaining Iran's perfidy he mentions that of several other countries that happen to be hostile to Iran.
"The Sunni royal family in Saudi Arabia," according to Britain's Daily Telegraph, "fears the growing influence of Shiite Iran in the Middle East, and is helping Bahrain's Sunni rulers retain power."
"the [UK] Ministry of Defence has now admitted that members of the Saudi Arabian National Guard sent into Bahrain may have received military training from the British Armed Forces in Saudi Arabia".
In the mean time Bahrain is the home of the US Fifth-Fleet,
"which makes "the great advocate of democracy" turn a blind eye to the murderous regime in Bahrain. . . "
Even though Iran's Shiite clerical regime might seem to support the Shiite demonstrations in Bahrain it is fully aware of the resemblance of those demonstrations to those of its own Shiite citizens it has repeatedly suppressed. The last thing the Iranians want is for those demonstrations to succeed.
The influence of the Islamic Republic in Bahrain is on the ruling regime: teaching it, by example, how viciously to quell a democratic revolt.
Saudi Arabia, Britain, the United States, Iran -- these countries for various and contrary reasons are supporting the Bahrain regime's abuses of its own people:
"The repression," Patrick Cockburn reports, "is across the board. Sometimes the masked security men who raid Shia villages at night also bulldoze Shia mosques and religious meeting places. At least 27 of these have so far been wrecked or destroyed, while anti-Shia and pro-government graffiti is often sprayed on any walls that survive." He further reports, "Nurses and doctors in a health system largely run by Shias have been beaten and arrested for treating protesters. Teachers and students are being detained. Some 1,000 professional people have been sacked and have lost their pensions. The one opposition newspaper has been closed. Bahraini students who joined protests abroad have had their funding withdrawn."
The Bahrain regime has even set about to silence all authentic reporting on what's going on inside the country.
"Bahraini authorities have begun an assault on local journalists working for international news agencies - with arrests, beatings and, apparently in one instance, electric shock."
States, whatever their claims, can be heartless when it comes to protecting their own interests. Even the U.S.; even Britain.

Dabashi's point is that the Bahraini regime is no better than that of Iran, as both repress their citizens with impunity.
[T]he Islamic Republic and Bahrain are in fact identical - not just in the majority of their population being Shia but in being ruled by two identically brutal and intolerant dictatorships. The Islamic Republic is frightened out of its wits by the Arab Spring, especially on its own back door, in Bahrain: for the more this Spring blooms and flowers the more it exposes the criminal atrocities of the Islamic Republic over the past thirty years, including, most recently, its own homegrown Green Movement - which one might in fact consider an early blooming of the Arab Spring.
[Click on the title above for a link to the whole piece.]

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