TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The leader of Bahrain Freedom Movement said regional and international changes will force the Bahraini regime either to meet popular demands or stand down.
“The regime is adamant it is not going to give the people their rights, but at the same time the regional changes are going to force the regime to … collapse,” Saeed Shehabi said in an exclusive interview with Press TV on Saturday.
Shehabi explained that Manama has been relying on Saudi Arabia in its ongoing brutal crackdown on protesters, but the regional powerhouse is “becoming a very weak position – politically, internally, regionally and internationally.”
“So I don’t believe the Bahrain regime has long to live, especially if it fails to address the demands of the people quickly before it is too late,” he stressed.
The London-based human rights activist speculated more aggression and repression from the Bahraini regime, but pointed out the international situation is rapidly changing in favor of the people and against the interests of the regime in Manama.
He expressed optimism that the changes would soon resolve the situation in Bahrain, but acknowledged that the people also may have to pay dearly for the democratic reforms for which they have been struggling.
Shehabi also highlighted the significance of US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s recent visit to Bahrain, to attend a two-day security meeting in Manama, at a time when the Persian Gulf kingdom is in a state of escalating turmoil.
“So, the meeting itself first of all – the Manama Dialogue – is important to a certain extent, but what is angering the people is that those people who are attending must be aware of what’s going on in that country,” he said.
“If they are going to have dialogue in Manama, then the first thing they should call for is that the people be given their rights: to have serious dialogue with the regime, to grant the people their rights and also bring the country into a civilized standard of government … (but) that is not happening.”
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa ruling family to step down.
One month later, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government to crush the peaceful protests.
According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested in the Saudi-backed crackdown.
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