Posts tagged Bahrain.

16 year old Sayed Hashem was killed by police forces on December 31st, 2011

Bahraini Women Rally Against Jailing of Protesters, Medics #Bahrain

Bahrain continues to sentence prisoners for taking part in the unrest that swept the Gulf nation earlier this year. On Thursday, a prisoner was sentenced to death for the alleged killing of a police officer. Bahrain has also come under international criticism for the harsh sentences of 20 medical workers who treated demonstrators. The group of doctors, nurses and other medics were given sentences ranging from five to 15 years. In a statement, the group Physicians for Human Rights called for the medics to be freed, saying quote: “To imprison them as part of a political struggle is unconscionable.” Also Thursday, hundreds of Bahrain women rallied in the capital Manama to protest the sentences.

Protester: “We ask for all women prisoners to be freed and for all charges against them to be dropped. These cruel sentences of our doctors, nurses and teachers, Rola al-Safar, Jalila al-Salman and Dr. Nadi Thayf, and everyone else.”

Bahrain Students Feel Regime’s Wrath, 26 July 2011 Tuesday 12:37
More than 2,000 public servants, doctors and workers from both the public and private sectors were dismissed from their work. Thousands more men, women, minors, doctors, nurses and journalists were arrested, interrogated and tortured in custody.

According to reports, at least four people have died under torture in prison. To spread fear, checkpoints were set up to intimidate. Security forces carried out night-time raids on villages to terrorise. The main Salmaniya medical centre and private hospitals were raided to round up wounded protesters and put them in jail. A state of terror has gripped the island since the violent crackdown in March on the Pearl square protesters. The intention has been very clear; to silence everyone.

Within this context and against this gloomy backdrop, the regime hunted down students who took part or were suspected to have taken part in the demonstrations. They were called Bahrain university for questioning. Those found “guilty” of so-called offences were suspended for one year or expelled from university for good, and referred to the police. The offences ranged from being photographed at a demonstration, holding a banner or waving a flag, blogging, tweeting or posting a comment on Facebook.

One of the affected students said that there were no set rules for handing down the “disciplinary” actions against them. No one knew exactly why they was suspended or expelled from the university, and students were not able to get copies of their academic credits.

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Video of when the sound bomb hit a peaceful rally heading to #LULU in #Bahrain
Avaaz - Huge Wins on Bahrain F1, War on Drugs, and more!!
Just days ago, two things were different – questioning the global “war on drugs” was a huge taboo in government circles, and Formula 1 was set to hold their Grand Prix in Bahrain despite a brutal government crackdown on peaceful democracy protesters.
Then our community got involved.

Within 72 hours, more than 1 million of us joined these two campaigns, and we won! Formula 1 has, under intense pressure, reversed its decision to race in Bahrain and the UN Secretary-General has agreed to establish a new task force on drugs, with world leaders beginning an historic new debate on regulation and decrimalisation.

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People power works, and we are seeing it more and more all over the world. Here are two stories of how …

9 Years Old Bahraini Girl Martyred in Sitrah + Pic
A nine-year-old Bahraini girl was martyred early today as a result of the barbarity of the Al Khalifa.

9 Years Old Bahraini Girl Martyred in Sitrah + Pic(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - According to ABNA sources in Bahrain, a nine-year-old Bahraini girl was martyred early today as a result of the barbarity of the Al Khalifa.

This morning the martyrdom of Fatima Ali Khalil, 9, was confirmed. She was hit with excessive amounts of tear gas.

She is the 35th Bahraini Martyr.

The 14th February Youth had called for a massive return to the protests on 1st June when the martial law was due to be lifted. Despite the Al Khalifa violence against Bahrainis, the people’s determination and zeal have never diminished. They responded positively to the call and demonstrations were held in many towns and villages. Manama has remained under siege to prevent the takeover of the Pearl Square which had been the birthplace of the largest ever revolution in Bahrain’s history.

Archetype in Action™ Organization - Zainab Al-Khawaja (a.k.a. @AngryArabiya) arrested in #Bahrain

Zainab Al-Khawaja (a.k.a. @AngryArabiya)

Zainab Al-Khawaja

Zainab Al-Khawaja is a Bahraini woman who caught the media’s attention when she went on a hunger strike to protest the unjust arrest of her father, human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, and her husband and brother.

Zainab’s Tweet about Her Hunger Strike

A Facebook page emerged called ‘We are All Zainab Al-Khawaja’ in support of Zainab’s hunger strike. Zainab ended her hunger strike after 10 days claiming, “being silent in a tomb and not able to speak is not in the interests of my family”.

Today, on Twitter, a Bahraini journalist reported that Zainab Al-Khawaja is being interrogated by Bahraini forces. Zainab and her closest male

relatives are currently in Bahraini custody; their crime? The desire for freedom.

Zainab Al-Khawaja and Her Father (lower left),
Husband and Child (lower right)

This is just one of many cases of unjust arrests and trials conducted by the Bahraini government and this MUST stop. Maryam Al-Khawaja, Zainab’s sister, is a fellow activist who posted a tweet expressing her opinion as to why Zainab is being interrogated. Maryam claims that it is an attempt to blackmail her and her father, an attempt Maryam says has only added to the Al-Khawaja family’s determination.

Nour is a young Kuwaiti woman who started her activism in the Kuwaiti protests demanding women’s suffrage, the rest is history…..literally :) She regularly blogs at “Peace Is the New Black”.

Avaaz - No F1 in brutal Bahrain
Red Bull has built a reputation as a sporty, fun drink — but by this Friday, it and other leading F1 teams may become better known for endorsing government torture and murder. Formula One has 24 hours to decide whether to hold its already-delayed race in Bahrain, site of one of the most brutal crackdowns in the Middle East.

If Red Bull refuses to race in Bahrain, other teams will pull back as well — and the Formula One race could be taken off the schedule, sending shock waves through Bahrain’s brutal government and sending an unmistakeable message that the world will not ignore state brutality. Sports boycotts have piled pressure on other regimes such as apartheid South Africa — we can do it again.

Red Bull will only act if enough of us join together to make clear that its brand, its very reputation, is on the line. Let’s raise a cry that Bahrain’s government thugs can’t silence, and call on Red Bull to pull out of the Formula One race slated for Bahrain. If 300,000 of us sign the petition, Avaaz will run hard-hitting adverts carrying our messages to Red Bull executives. Just one day remains — sign now.

Mohamed Ibrahim Khatam, 14 years old faces a Military Court this morning #Bahrain

Mohamed Ibrahim Khatam, 14 years old, faces a Military Court this morning in Bahrain.



Bahrain’s top human rights activist targeted two days after Obama speech - World Wires

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Teargas grenades were fired in the middle of the night into the home of the leading human rights activist on Bahrain - in what may be the answer of hardliners running Bahrain to President Barack Obama’s call for an end to the brutal crackdown on the Persian Gulf island allied with the United States.

Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and a relentless critic of Sunni Muslim minority government, said four grenades were fired at the house at 3:30 a.m. Saturday in the village of Bani Jamra, Bahrain, and two broke through the windows in quarters occupied by his brother, Nader, and his family. A third went off in the compound.

He called the attack an attempt “to murder a member of my family to pressure me to stop my human rights activities,” and described a harrowing scene of living quarters filled with acrid smoke that made breathing almost impossible.

“We had very frightening moments rescuing my brother and his wife and his daughter, as they were close to suffocation,” Rajab told McClatchy Saturday night.

It was the second time in a month that Rajab’s house had come under such an attack, following an attack on April 18 when three teargas grenades were fired.

During his policy speech on the U.S. response to the “Arab spring” reform movement Thursday, Obama denounced “mass arrests and brute force” the Sunni government has used against the majority Shiite population.

According to Rajab, who is one of the best informed people on human rights abuses on the island off the Saudi Arabian coast, there’s been no sign of a letup in the use of security forces to block peaceful protests.

Indeed, civilians who had been released after weeks in jail have been ordered to sign oaths saying they would not take part in anti-government protests again, and in the past four days have been ordered to appear again before a military judge, he said.

Meanwhile, protests continued in the predominantly Shiite village of Sitra Saturday. A YouTube video showed at least 20 youths marching and chanting “We want the regime to go,” the mantra of the Arab Spring, as well as demanding that the government not apply the death penalty that a judge ordered following a secret trial of anti-government activists.

Bahrain has arrested hundreds of those who protested in the Pearl Roundabout from mid-February to mid-March, detained doctors and nurses who treated protesters shot or attacked by police, put the editors of the only opposition newspaper on trial and destroyed dozens of Shiite mosques and religious buildings.

Leading political figures in the country are in detention, most without charges, and their families say they’ve been brutally mistreated.

Rajab said luckily for his family, the teargas canisters landed on a tile floor and not on a carpet, which could have caught fire and killed the entire family while they were asleep. “My family have got nothing to do with my human rights work,” he said, pleading for help to stop the government from organizing more attacks.

After an attack in mid-April, Human Rights Watch noted that the grenades were manufactured in the United States and were of a type to which only the Bahrain Defense Authorities had access.

Now it appears the Bahrain government has found a new supplier. Rajab said this time, the grenades were of a smaller dimension than in mid-April, and there were no markings to indicate a manufacturer.

Power Shifts on U.S. Foreign-Policy Team - #Syria #Egypt #Bahrain #Libya #Yemen #Iran

WASHINGTON—When President Barack Obama lays out his vision for the Middle East in a speech Thursday, he will also be tacitly drawing attention to another upheaval: Tumult in the Arab world has accelerated a shift in the standing of Washington’s foreign-policy power players.

The Obama White House has moved to exert greater civilian control over the military, challenging the views of the top brass in some areas, officials say. At the same time, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department, together with a more assertive White House National Security Council, has taken a lead in crafting America’s response to the greatest geopolitical challenge since the fall of the Berlin Wall.


OUTREACH: Mr. Gates with Egypt army chief Hussein Tantawi, left, in Cairo.


Underscoring this shift is Mr. Obama’s choice of venue to deliver the address: the State Department. The address Thursday morning—which is late afternoon, Cairo time—will be the president’s first major policy address from the home base of U.S. foreign diplomacy.

The military’s standing in the White House reflects lingering tensions with some of Mr. Obama’s civilian advisers that grew out of a 2009 debate over escalating the war in Afghanistan, according to senior U.S. officials and foreign diplomats.

When popular revolutions began sweeping the Arab world, many in the military, which has been generally cautious about intervention, were reluctant to see longstanding Arab allies, such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, pushed out.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and many military leaders were also particularly cautious about military action in Libya. Some have taken to calling the Libya campaign the “estrogen war” in an implicit critique of Mrs. Clinton and other female administration officials who backed it.

Mrs. Clinton was also an early voice of caution when it came to Egypt. But she moved more quickly to break with autocrats in Yemen and Libya and push for democratic change in Bahrain, while managing to maintain relationships with unhappy Arab allies, U.S. officials say.

Officials in the State Department and the White House, especially those who backed the use of force in Libya, dismiss the estrogen comment as the sexist grousing of military men who lost the argument.

Associated Press

Mrs. Clinton, right, greets Israeli President Shimon Peres.


Managing the Turmoil | Some U.S. responses to Arab uprisings

Egypt State Department and Pentagon joined in urging caution about pushing for President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster. On peace with Israel, counterterrorism and hostility to Iran, he was a vital U.S. ally. Having invested decades in building ties to the Egyptian army, Pentagon veterans shared Mrs. Clinton’s view.

Bahrain The popular uprising in the tiny Persian Gulf sheikdom concerned U.S. military officials, who were fearful of losing their base for the Pentagon’s Fifth Fleet, which polices the Gulf, and worried about what might happen if the regime fell. Mrs. Clinton pushed Bahrain to make political changes, chilling relations with Arab states.

Yemen Mrs. Clinton angered President Ali Abdullah Saleh in January by demanding a meeting with activists. In March, Defense Secretary Gates said the Yemeni leader’s fate was ‘too soon to call,’ and praised his government as an ally against al Qaeda. The White House is now pushing Mr. Saleh to resign sooner rather than later.

Libya Mr. Gates, urged caution when considering military intervention. Pentagon officials worried about the department being overstretched. ‘This is not a question of whether we or our allies can do this. We can,’ Mr. Gates said. ‘The question is whether this is a wise thing to do.’ The White House chose to proceed.

"Secretary Clinton has become one of the most forceful officials working on the world stage," says Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), a long-serving member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Her influence with the president has been enhanced by her stature."

The next test is Syria, where officials across the administration worry the fall of President Bashar al-Assad could unleash sectarian violence. Some aides to Mrs. Clinton, however, see the unrest as an unrivaled opportunity to diminish the power of Syria’s ally, Iran, and rewrite the politics of the region.

Mr. Obama is expected to argue Thursday that the death of Osama bin Laden, paired with the popular uprisings, signals the possibility of a new, open and democratic opportunity for a region that is largely the province of entrenched autocrats.

Mr. Obama will also announce an economic aid plan focused on Egypt and Tunisia, according to senior administration officials, including $1 billion in debt relief and $1 billion in loan guarantees for Egypt, the creation of an Egyptian-American enterprise fund to help promote private investment, and a framework for strengthening trade.

Mr. Obama will speak from the State Department’s Benjamin Franklin Room. White House officials say the setting embodies the policy shift the president is trying to achieve.

Even as the U.S. pursues “principally military and intelligence efforts” to fight terrorism and build toward an exit from Afghanistan, “the longer future in the Middle East we believe will have a huge diplomatic component to it,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

That puts the military in a bind. Many in the Pentagon ascribe to what Washington policy wonks call the “realist” theory of foreign policy, which believes in narrowly defined international goals, not reshaping the world. “We take countries as they are, not as we might wish they could be,” said a senior military officer working on the Middle East.

Mrs. Clinton is no idealist, but she has sought to build the State Department into a powerful base, and in recent months has made common cause with a younger group of more idealistic White House officials, according to U.S. officials. Senior U.S. officials say the eruption of political revolts across the Middle East at the beginning of 2011 blindsided the administration.

Mrs. Clinton was forced to fashion the administration’s first response to the crisis literally on the fly as she toured Persian Gulf states. In a speech in Qatar, she stunned Arab leaders by saying they risked “sinking into the sand” if they didn’t change course.

During the first act of the Arab Spring, however, the State Department and Pentagon joined in pressing caution, especially with Egypt, a vital U.S. ally.

For Mrs. Clinton, a turning point came with the uprising in Bahrain, home to the Pentagon’s Fifth Fleet, which polices the oil-rich Gulf. The Pentagon was fearful of losing its basing rights and worried about what might happen if the regime fell.

Mrs. Clinton pushed Bahrain for political change. That chilled relations to the point that neither Bahrain nor Saudi Arabia directly notified the White House in March before deploying thousands of Saudi and Emirati troops to shore up its ruling family, according to the U.S.

The State Department believed it was within hours of a breakthrough that could have pushed Bahrain closer to a deal with the political opposition. Mrs. Clinton was livid.

It was the decision to attack Libya that laid bare the new dynamic most starkly. Pentagon officials worried out loud that France and Britain were playing down the difficulty of removing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. They were outspoken about the limited effectiveness of a no-fly zone and skeptical about the impact of financial sanctions.

The White House and State Department, however, were under pressure from European and Arab allies. The U.S. put forth to allied countries and Arab states preconditions to military action that included a United Nations resolution, Arab participation and drawing up a plan that went beyond a no-fly zone.

Some officials worried Col. Gadhafi’s troops would slaughter rebel forces, an echo of the violence in Rwanda and Srebrenica that occurred on President Bill Clinton’s watch. “Senior officials all agreed to the pillars of our Libya policy,” said a senior aide to Mrs. Clinton. “If all of these became available to us, could we really stand aside?”

—Laura Meckler,
Nathan Hodge and Carol E. Lee
contributed to this article.