American Herald Tribune– The people of Bahrain are among the most oppressed nations in the Middle East. With each passing day they witness the destruction of democracy and the escalation of monarchial power. Because of the media blackout and the fact that the monarchy is disproportionately backed by the US, and the UK, the voices of the Bahraini people are subdued.
The media blackout on the harrowing events endured by the people of Bahrain, in recent years, has kept the global populous uninformed and unaware. It is without a doubt, and due to the media blackout that the situation in Bahrain deserves to be more sensibly analyzed.
1. A medieval monarchy in the 3rd millennium
The first constitution of Bahrain was drafted by Bahraini scholars and exceptional figures in 1973. However, the king changed the constitution by means of deception in 2000. The monarch made a few reforms on the surface, but was actually trying to distort the constitution by increasing his authority. In this novel situation, almost all affairs rest in the hands of the monarch. Additionally, the monarch selects the prime minister, and the ministers selected by the prime minister should be endorsed by the monarch. He also established a congress of 40 representatives to counter parliament, whose 40 members are elected by popular vote. All new members of this congress are designated by the king, and have the power to veto the resolutions set forth by the popular parliament.
2. Changing Demographics by Bringing in Immigrants
Up until 2002, Bahrain had an 85% Shia Muslim population. Upsettingly, the monarchy brought in Wahhabi extremists, from outside countries, to alter the demographics. Hence, Shi’a Muslims currently make up 65% of the country’s population. It is said that members of the MEK terrorist group—which was unjustifiably delisted by the US and EU, while continually committing acts of terror—have been brought to Bahrain by the king; namely to occupy job vacancies and change the sectarian demographic. In a separate discriminatory move, move heavy restrictions have been imposed on Shi’a who’ve held positions within the regime. Many Shi’a, and even Sunni Bahrainis, that took part in the 2011 uprising lost their jobs. The regime has forced people into unemployment, in hope that they would give up on the protests.
3. Is the Bahraini People’s Uprising a Shi’a uprising?
What’s happening in Bahrain has nothing to do with sectarian Shia vs. Sunni conflicts. In February 2011, when a major anti-regime opposition movement was launched in Bahrain, Shias and Sunnis marched alongside one another protesting the authoritarian monarchial regime. Consequently, and upon the advice offered by the Al-Saud household, the monarch tried to portray the protesters exclusively as Shi’a Muslims. This strategy was implemented to eradicate the movement by spoiling the unity among Shia and Sunni Muslims in Bahrain, inculcating that these protests are tribal and sectarian in nature; furthermore, it was used as a way to distract the world from the major developments achieved by protestors in Bahrain. Truth be told, the protests in Bahrain are seeking reforms for genuinely societal reasons, while also objecting the massive political and economic corruption caused by the authorities.
4. Al-Khalifa’s massive corruption
The main concern in Bahrain is the authoritarian monarch and the massive economic corruption within the Al-Khalifa monarchy. The king has the power to give, as a gift, far away lands to his offspring – and he has actually done so; but, he hoards all Bahraini properties for himself and his family. For instance, Bahrain is located on a rich Island, surrounded by beaches, but the monarchy has never offered up one of these elaborate beach front properties for use by the public in order to enjoy life in their homeland and bask in its natural beauty. All recreational facilities are possessed by the princes and the regime’s authorities. Land appraisals, giving out as “gifts” luxurious buildings and edifices to princes, or forcibly selling them for 1/1000th of the appraised price, are among the many corruptions of the ruling family.
5. Normalization of relations with Israel
In line with the Zionist regime’s attempt to normalize relations with some Arab states, the Bahraini regime has been one of these states which has carried out measures, in past the months, to normalize ties with Israel. A recently-leaked video revealed prominent Bahraini businessmen and officials dancing, singing, and drinking alcohol with Zionists in support of Israel.
6. Acquiring aid from Saudi Arabia to Suppress Protesters
Saudi Arabia has been sending troops to Bahrain since March 2011, to suppress the people’s uprising. The Saudi interference has been so intense that the Bahraini monarchy has turned into a regime with no authority of its own. Thus, the crackdown on the protesters has been extremely heartless, unruly, and barbaric. Apart from oppressing the public uprising and killing the protesters, numerous cases of slain children and infants by use of illegal tear gas and opening fire upon residential areas have been reported.
7. Britain’s Crucial Role in Backing the Bahraini Monarchy
Bahrain is situated in a particular zone, one that possesses massive oil resources. Moreover its geopolitical status in the Middle East has been of great interest for Britain and the US. The best method available to pave the way for the exploitation of their oil resources and establish fleets in the western regions of Bahrain is to support the dictator in power. And in return, for the monarchy’s survival, the dictator is in desperate need of foreign backing to suppress anti- regime protesters.
8. Sit-In in Support of the Leader of the Uprising Reaches its 200th Day
January 6th, 2017, will mark the 200th day of a sit-in, located in front of the house of Sheikh Isa Qasem, the uprising’s trailblazer who is currently under house arrest. Sheikh Isa Qassim is a social reformer, one who opposes the regime’s corruption and oppression, but has always taken up a peaceful method of protest. The regime has revoked Sheikh Isa’s citizenship and has tried to send him into exile. In response, the people have taken matters into their own hands. 200 days have passed since large crowds of Bahrainis began their protest in front of Sheik Isa’s house, preventing regime forces from breaking down his door for an arrest.
Whether or not the world supports Bahrain, the people of the nation are keenly determined to fulfill their reform-seeking revolution. The people of Bahrain know very well how to make their demands in a peaceful manner; and the prolonging of this resistance will not wear them out. A matter they have demonstrated well through their 200-day sit-in.