Saudi Arabia’s Sudden Interest in Sudan Is Not about Friendship. It Is About Fear

By Nesrine Malik – The Guardian

In the days following the ‘Yom Kippur’ war, after the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, agreed to a ceasefire and subsequent peace treaty with ‘Israel,’ he faced questions at home about his climb-down. When confronted on his capitulation, he is reported to have said that he was prepared for battle with ‘Israel’ but not with America. On the third day of the war, President Nixon had authorized Operation Nickel Grass, an airlift from the United States with the purpose of replenishing ‘Israel’s’ military losses up to that point. In November of 1973, the New York Times reported that “Western ambassadors in Cairo confirm Egyptian accusations that American Galaxies were landing war equipment in the Sinai.”

There was something of Sadat’s realpolitik in the realization over the past few weeks that Saudi Arabia has no intention of letting Sudan’s revolution achieve its objective of removing the military once and for all and installing a civilian government. In the period preceding the revolution, Saudi Arabia had grown relatively lethargic and jaded about Sudan, a country it saw as good only for providing bodies as battle fodder for its war in Yemen. When Sudan’s then president, Omar al-Bashir, fearful of his demise, took his begging bowl to his allies in the region, Saudi Arabia demurred. But this lack of interest evaporated the moment it became clear that there was real power in Sudan’s streets, and Bashir was deposed.

Long gone are the days when the US was the chief meddler in the region. Saudi Arabia has taken its place as a powerful force for the status quo. Gone also are the days when Saudi Arabia’s idea of extending its sphere of influence was to sloppily funnel funds to religious schools and groups across the Arab world and south Asia. The country has now taken on a more deliberate role: to stymie political change wherever possible.

Within days of the removal of Bashir, Saudi’s purse strings loosened. Along with the UAE, it pledged a $3bn aid package to prop up Sudan’s economy and thus the transitional military government. This shot in the arm has been accompanied by an alarming and unprecedented phenomenon, a propaganda campaign launched in Saudi-owned or Saudi-sympathetic media.

Gulf News ran a profile of the current head of the transitional military council saying that “during the war in southern Sudan and the Darfur region, he served on [sic] important positions, largely due to his civic manners and professional demeanor”. “Civic” and “professionally run” are not words many would use to describe the wars in Darfur and the south of the country.

The editorial started with a panicked homage to Sudan as “one of Africa’s and the Arab world’s most strategic countries”, as if the Saudis had just caught on to the fact that Sudan was not the sleepy, pliant, begging backwater they hoped it was. A senior United Arab Emirates minister last week tried to frame the sudden interest and largesse towards Sudan as a wise precaution after the tumult of the Arab spring. “We have experienced all-out chaos in the region and, sensibly, don’t need more of it,” he lectured. But this newfound affection for oh so strategic Sudan and its civic-mannered military leaders has more to do with the Saudi royal family’s heightened insecurity about its own fate than it does with maintaining stability. The danger of a Sudanese revolution is in its optics, in the sense of possibility that it suggests. If Saudi used to care about extending its soft power across the world in order to call on alliances against regional enemies such as Iran or Qatar, today’s aggressive Saudi foreign policy adventurism can be seen in the light of its one overarching fear: regime change.

Despite its economic troubles at home, the Saudi government still sees its sovereign wealth as a massive war chest to be leveraged to the end of its own survival. Even though the Saudi royal family seems to have a total monopoly on power, executing dissenters on a whim on national or foreign soil, Sudan has demonstrated that regime change is rarely about the technicalities. It is never about the firepower that an opposition can wield against an incumbent: it is about popular will. You can’t execute everyone.

The many failures of the Arab spring have been a boon for establishment regimes across the Middle East. No good will come of change, was the conventional regional wisdom for too long. Sudan is messing with that narrative. The army and the royal family are the only two institutions that can be allowed to rule, the logic goes: when civilians enter the fray they bring with them security lapses, terrorism and incompetence. But civilian governments also threaten other nuisances: real democracy, accountability and free expression. Saudi Arabia must prevent this, under the pretense of seeking stability, with the US absent but tacitly endorsing.

And so the Sudanese protesters, still firm in their standoff with the transitional government as they demand civilian rule, can wage war against Bashir and the remnants of his regime that are still in power. But how can they take on Saudi Arabia and its powerful allies in the region, who airlift support to the government? The burden on the Sudanese revolution is now even heavier – but the reward, if it succeeds, is to shake the thrones of all despots across the Middle East.

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Bahrain Crackdown: Afghan Judge Revokes 183 Citizenships of Bahraini Nationals!

By Staff

As part of the continued crackdown against own nationals, the Bahraini regime decided to revoke 183 citizenships of native Bahrainis under the alleged pretext of a ‘Bahraini Hezbollah’ case.

Ironically, the judge who issued the verdict that bans original landowners from their homeland, identified as Badr Abdul Latif Al Abdallah is of Afghan origins. Additionally, he belongs to the third generation of a family that was granted a Bahraini citizenship before it added the name “Al” to its title, a habit that is usually taken by families of non-Arab origins in Bahrain.

Following the unfair sentences issued on Tuesday to revoke the citizenship of 138 individuals, the number of similar cases in the tiny kingdom has now reached 985.

Relatively, yearly figures are classified as the following:

2019: 181

2018: 298

2017: 156

2016: 90

2015: 208

2014: 21

2012: 31

Earlier to the sentence, a report published by the Bahrain Mirror stated:

The revocation of citizenship in Bahrain after 2018 has become no more than a symbolic punitive measure- a pattern and part of a clear plan to purge the country of the opposition at any price, or perhaps a plan to change the country’s demographic makeup the quickest way possible, even by the most brutal means.

Following the total elimination of opposition groups and civil society, the arrests of the most prominent political and human rights figures, the complete suppression of remaining voices, and the ongoing imprisonment of thousands every year, without any deterrent, the revocation of nationalities seemed to be the final touch in cleansing process.

The number of citizens who have been stripped of their Bahraini nationality since 2011 amount to about 800, in a country with an indigenous population of 650,000, which is the biggest evidence of this practice.

“To put that figure into context, were the same policy applied to the UK, one million Britons would be made stateless,” says author and political analyst Bill Law.

The authorities have not only withdrawn the citizenships of political defendants in trials, but have also deprived all children whose fathers were imprisoned from having birth certificates and passports issued, as noted by the US State Department said in its annual 2017 report on human rights in countries around the world.

The numbers alarmingly increased during 2018, which recorded the highest number of citizenship revocation affecting 298 citizens, with the total number of citizens stripped of their nationality in Bahrain since 2011 amounting to about 804, according to the statistics of organizations and news reports.

In 2018, a court of cassation issued a final verdict, revoking the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the country’s Shia citizens, who was under house arrest before leaving for London to receive emergency treatment.

2018 also witnessed a rare incident in the history of the country’s judiciary, and perhaps in history of all countries of the world, as 115 people were stripped of their citizenship in a single trial, in what was known as the Zulfiqar Brigades case.

News agencies reported on this verdict in surprise, while Amnesty International described the trial as “ridiculous” and “one of the most severe rulings yet, and is further proof that the Bahrain authorities have no regard whatsoever for international fair trial standards.”

The Bahraini Revolution in the Words of its Elite

By Zeinab Daher

With every anniversary of an uprising against oppression, a person recalls a glimpse of hope that the winds of change are blowing again.

Bahrain, the country of Shia-majority ruled by Sunni-minority, was a platform for peaceful popular demands back on February 14 of 2011. Today, there is nothing more honest than the words of those who lived the revolution, its early days, and the impressions they made as such time has passed over the first day since its birth.

In an exclusive interview with al-Ahed News, Sheikh Abo Yasser Abdullah al-Saleh, Deputy Chief of Bahrain’s Islamic Work Association (Amal), listed the many achievements of the revolution atop of which is the clear popular alignment against the oppressive and dictatorial authorities that is a major achievement in Bahrain.

 

“The opposition in Bahrain is deep-rooted, it is nothing new, but the current impression is that the opposition is something new.”

In the 1980s, before and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, demanding to topple the Al Khalifah regime was a fantasy. Now, however, there is a sort of popular agreement that this family should be changed because it doesn’t deserve to rule the Bahraini people, and that the Bahraini people deserve more just government, that is finer, more aware of the demands of peoples and more independent, afar from any foreign and western alliances.

Additionally, in Bahrain, there became a clear orientation and understanding by all parties that it is necessary to establish a just democracy through inclusive elections that get rid of all kinds of tyranny and appropriation as well as ties to the foreign colonialism practiced by Al Khalifah.

The revolution was able over 8 years to draw attention that there is a major determination by the Bahraini people to reach their rightful and legitimate demands and that it is never possible to play the minds of people and deceive them just like what happened during the 1990s uprising.

“There is total agreement that this authority in untrustworthy and can’t be dealt with by any means, even if it still controls the country.”

Another achievement is uniting the local lines and tending to a true change which wasn’t clear in the past era. This revolution has serious tendency to change the country’s status and make a true shift that suits the Bahraini people.

The Al Khalifah authority treat the opposition as if it is a zero. It is oppressive and try to kill any activism before it is born.

“The glow of revolution didn’t change.”

It is true that the protests in which the majority of people used to participate are not happening now. The figures and major symbols who used to participate in the protests are not there, but the movement itself didn’t stop, even if the momentum has decreased. There are still protests and demands in some places. There are also detentions, since the beginning of the revolutions, detentions didn’t stop. If the authority claims that it has got rid of the revolution, then why it is still carrying out the non-stopping arbitrary detention campaigns.

There are some 930 people, including clerics, symbols, academics, youth and citizens, whose citizenships have been revoked. More than 7824 people are detained by the authority, and the number is still climbing. We sacrificed more than 200 martyrs, scores of victims and thousands of displaced people. But the Al Khalifah authority couldn’t, through all this, to prove that it has got rid of the February 14 revolution. The revolution is being renewed in different ways and remains with the same slogans and demands.

The most important among all is that the Bahraini people didn’t retreat any of its legitimate demands. And the latest statement made by His Eminence Sheikh Isa Qassim was a clear evidence that this people didn’t and will not compromise.

Why remaining peaceful?

The Bahraini people is not a violent one. The people of Bahrain are known for love, peace, mercy, generosity, containing others and coexisting with them.

The rightful demands the Bahraini people are asking for are not new for any people, they are rather part of their basic due rights whether by understanding or another mean. When the Al Khalifah denies the people their rights, it must expect that the people won’t remain silent. And now, they insist to fulfill their demands.

For our people, we would like to stress that the international situation in this particular anniversary is on our side and it is not on Al Khalifah’s and Al Saud’s. They were previously more arrogant and stronger, but the situation in the entire region now carries the promises of a near victory, by God’s willing. It carries the promises of a change in the regional map. The Bahraini people tolerated over many years, but the less has remained. The Al Khalifah authorities are in a bad situation while the morale, practices and rights of our people are way stronger than ever before. The legendary endurance presented by the Bahraini people over the past years is able to drive them towards fulfilling their demands. It is matter of a little patience and we will reach our goals.

We are demanding democracy and inclusive elections in which the source of authority and sovereignty should be the Bahraini people. We only need to be a free people in an independent state.

Normalization

Normalization is nothing new. It has existed since before, at least all Gulf states, most Arab and Muslim countries related to the west, whether the US or the UK, have sorts of ties with the “Israeli” entity. However, ties today became public. What has been under cover, became today public.

Exchanged visits weren’t born recently, they are since the 1950s but they were low. The King Saud’s condition for the UK was that ties with the Zionists should be secret. Today, however, the Zionists set their condition that any price should be paid in exchange of public relations. This is the reason why we notice today public relations whether with the Al Saud or the Al Khalifah governments or others. Zionists now insist on publicized ties, this is why we are witnessing them on the surface.

In the past, the colonial scheme tried to indirectly run its issues in the region. But now, it is being faced by the peoples of the region, which are looking for their interests and trying to build their future the way they want. This is why the government now cannot fulfill the task and this explains with the Americans and the British are coming to the region repeatedly, weighing more and intervening much than before in the country’s internal affairs which is exposing those governments’ betrayal.

To Al Khalifah, the Bahraini people would never accept dealing with Zionists and would never be part of any alliance against its Arab and Muslim state. You can do whatever you want because the decision is in your hands, but the Bahraini people will breach any agreement that would be made with the Zionist entity.

For his part, Bahraini Journalist Hussein Youssef recalled some painful and emotional spots from the time of the revolution’s first days:

Among the most significant of the scenes of the February 14 revolution I recall is the youths’ advance as they were topless against the Bahraini army’s tanks that were supposed to protect the protesters and civilians, however, they were directed towards them and killed martyr Abdul Rida Bou Hmayyed. This scene would never be erased from the Bahrainis’ memory.

Another scene that I could never forget over seven years of the revolution is that of revoking the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassim and the Imam Hussein-inspired speech delivered by Sayyed Maji al-Mashaal.

In between the two scenes, there is the very important event when Sheikh Ali Salman addressed the Bahraini people as the ‘Peninsula Shield forces’ entered the country. He referred to their behavior as defeatist and called the Bahraini people for sticking to peaceful activism until achieving its fair demands.

“Regarding the presence of the Bahraini issue in media, the activism is actually peaceful, political and rightful. There is no direct presence on which media can feed as it wants.”

However, there are other media outlets that are trying to turn a blind eye to the reality of the Bahraini people for certain political goals and reasons. They want to blind what is happening in Bahrain, and most of them are pushed by Saudi and American motives. This is something constant for us. An evidence is that many political and rights events, major protests, political speeches and stances issued by the Bahraini opposition are blinded by such paid outlets.

I don’t believe the regime has succeeded in silencing the opposition. Now, everybody confesses that there is a political crisis in Bahrain. The important evidence on this is that the leader of the opposition His Eminence Sheikh Ali Salman is in prison and sentenced to life. This firstly means that the political crisis in Bahrain will remain as long as such symbols and figures, atop of them is Sheikh Ali Salman, stay in jail. Hence, the opposition movement is non-stopping in different forms and during different circumstances. It is sometimes in Australia, another time in Bahrain… the movement is represented by the rights and political conferences held by the opposition at home and abroad. In conclusion, even if the regime had security-wise tightened the grip on the opposition movement, this doesn’t mean that it will be able to cancel the presence of the opposition and the popular demands.

There are huge numbers over the 8 years of revolution. There has been more than 40.000 protests, in addition to more than 5000 prisoners in Bahraini jails. This number makes Bahrain the most crowded country with political prisoners in the Arab world as per comparison to its population. There are also violations against journalists. Over 8 years of revolution, there is more than 25 years of imprisonment sentences against activists and journalists and even politicians who expressed their opinions. The law is very ‘flexible’ since whoever express their opinion via Twitter are subject to ‘anti-terror’ crimes for opposing the authority.

The international community raises the slogans of human rights in the area of political abuse and not in the place where people do believe in it… the international community is disabled in front of the Saudi-American decision; hence, the political cover baking the Bahraini regime is due to weighing political interests and Gulf oil heavier than human rights and the people’s rights to self-determination.

“All what happened over the previous period (8 years) is a motive for Bahrain to continue.”

The words of Sheikh Ali Salman and Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassem say there is no way for retreat, and it is necessary to continue with strength and determination to fulfill this people’s demand for reform.

“I do believe that what is waiting the Bahraini people is way better than what the authorities are practicing.”

There is no room for political settlement and fulfilling the national demands without democracy and respecting citizenship in Bahrain, he concluded.

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Bahrain opposition begins armed resistance against ‘Saudi occupation’ – English Subs

February 08, 2019

Note: this is the first time I am posting a video by the Middle-East Observer which has now joined the Saker Community (translations) and who will be providing us Arab-language videos translated and subtitled in English.  Please see under this video how to support the Middle-East Observer and stay in contact.  Please support this work generously!

The Saker

Original description:  A prominent Bahraini opposition leader says his al-Wefaq movement has begun carrying out increasingly sophisticated armed resistance operations against the ruling al-Khalifa government and the “Saudi occupation”. Sayyed Murtada al-Sanadi said that the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy and its Saudi backers gave no opportunity for dialogue or negotiations despite eight years of peaceful protests by the opposition. Source: Etejah TV (YouTube) Date: 24 January, 2019 ———————————————————————————————————–

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Memories Of The Days Of Struggle & Revolution

By Mokhtar Haddad

Iranian journalist Seyed Ismail Alawi Yakana is a revolutionary who lived through the days of the Islamic Revolution. Because of his participation in the struggle against the Shah’s regime, he spent nearly three years in the SAVAK prisons.

He was also an activist during the revolution and educated a number of its men.

During the period of the sacred defense, he was present as a journalist and a fighter along the frontlines. He was responsible for reporting on the sacred defense for an Iranian newspaper during those days. Today, he still works in the same field, seeking to spread the values of the Islamic Revolution and the sacred defense among the new generation.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Al-Ahed website met with Seyed Ismail Alawi to ask him about the days of struggle and victory.

Q: How would you describe the Islamic Revolution, which you lived through?

A: I must talk about the start of this revolutionary movement and its peak. There are things that led the people to resent and oppose the former regime.

The incident involving the publication of an article that was offensive to Imam Khomeini in late 1977 in a regime-run newspaper was the spark that ignited this popular resentment and anger toward the Shah’s regime.

It is true that Imam Khomeini’s uprising began in 1963, after which he was exiled. But the peak of the popular movement and the start of the final drive that eventually led to the overthrow of the tyrannical regime began after the publication of the offensive article. But before that, there was revolutionary activity by activists, which was suppressed by the Shah and his police system.

Following the publication of the article, the residents of the holy city of Qom rose against this abusive measure. The Iranian people regard the holy city of Qom as a religious symbol. The revolutionaries were religious and the revolution was of religious nature. All the people had religious tendencies.

The demands of the religious revolutionaries represented the demands of all the Iranian people and even the rest of the elites and sects in society.

The former regime had such an experience. On June 4, 1963, when Imam Khomeini was arrested and the scholars were insulted, the next day they carried out a major uprising in Tehran and across various cities. The struggle was ongoing, but the regime was suppressing it.

It is true that the regime suppressed the June 5, 1963 uprising. But the revolutionaries formed a revolutionary nucleus for the political or armed struggle. In the early 1970s, we witnessed the regime’s crackdown on the revolutionaries. But the revolutionaries did not retreat.

Then, in the mid 1970s, the political struggle escalated in universities and mosques.

In late 1977, after the publication of that offensive article, the Shah’s regime was surprised by the reaction of the people.

I remember even some of the revolutionaries believed that revolutionary action needed extensive work. But when the people rose up, everyone was surprised with the speed.  Some did not expect the people to overthrew the Shah that quickly.

Q: Why did the Islamic Revolution accelerate?

A: First, the Shah’s regime did not pay attention to the demands of the people. But there is another important point which is the love for Imam Khomeini. The Iranian people loved Imam Khomeini. This was thanks to God Almighty.

Q: The Shah’s regime was dependent on America and the West. Even Carter, who visited Iran during the regime’s final last months, described the country as the island of stability. Why did the monarchy collapse?

A: The former regime was the front line, countering the influence of the former Soviet Union with the support of the West. During the Cold War, they considered Iran an important state for them. And the Westerners were supporting the Shah.

When the West wanted the help of its allied countries, including the countries in the NATO alliance, it was done through the Shah’s regime since it was trusted by the West and was regarded as the region’s policeman.

The Shah relied on this support and thought that in case of any popular movement he would be fully supported.

Q: In this context, we see that in the final days of the Shah’s regime, Washington sent its special envoy, General Robert Huyzer. What was this man’s mission in Tehran?

A: America sent General Robert Huyzer to maintain the Shah’s regime and carry out a military coup as it did in the fifties. This is all documented, even in the memoirs of this American general.

Huyzer was tasked with supporting the Shah and maintaining his regime. Before that the American spies who used to work in the US Embassy in Tehran had prepared for him all the polls and statistics for him to carry out the mission.

But he saw that the armed forces were not prepared to carry out this mission and massacre the people, so his mission failed.

Many members of the armed forces, including Air Force officers, joined the people.

Q: But America came up with new plans to target the revolution.

A: Using several schemes, Washington wanted to deter the Islamic Revolution because the victory of the revolution had damaged the interests of Washington in the region.

The Islamic Revolution was inspiring to the people. The Zionist enemy was occupying Islamic countries. During that stage, we saw an Islamic awakening that was confronting the Zionist plan. Therefore, we see that the Islamic Revolution has become the inspiration for the resistance, revolutionaries and the people in the region.

This led to growing concerns by the Zionists and the Americans. Washington became concerned about the future and the fate of the Zionist entity.

I remember that in the first months of the revolution’s victory there were rallies in which they were asked to go to Palestine to support the Palestinian people.

We saw the “Israeli” Embassy in Tehran transformed into the Palestinian Embassy in the first week of the Islamic Revolution.

Therefore, we saw that the Americans and the Zionists carried out many plans in the first months of the revolution’s victory in order to limit the revolution to slogans and internal issues. Therefore, they activated the separatist movements such as the events in Kurdistan province in which Saddam’s regime and other regional regimes played a large role. But these projects failed.

After the failure of this project and the revolutionary forces overcoming the internal problems, they came up with another plan, which is to impose Saddam’s war on Iran.

Q: Why did Imam Khomeini from the start of his uprising raise slogans greater than Iran, like supporting the Palestinian people against the Zionist enemy?

A: This is due to the cultural and religious nature of the Islamic Revolution. It was not only focused on internal issues or economic issues. This revolution had wide and comprehensive goals and visions. Imam Khomeini’s first speech during the sixties in the holy city of Qom and the beginning of the uprising is the most evident proof of this. He raised issues such as the Muslim awakening and confronting the colonial and Zionist schemes, etc.

Q: How did you enter the revolutionary work and why did the Shah’s regime arrest you?

A: Religious circles were directly related to the revolution and the revolutionaries. When a person participates in the activities in the mosque, Hussainiya or places where the Holy Quran was taught, his sense of fighting the corrupt regime of the Shah strengthens since Islam and the Quran both stress the importance of standing up to the oppressor. We saw that the policies of the Shah’s regime were contrary to the teachings and objectives of Islam.

When I started the revolutionary work I was 15 years old during which I experienced this atmosphere. I met the leaders of the revolution during those days, including Ayatollah Khamenei, martyr Ayatollah Beheshti and engineer Mahdi Bazarkan. We learned and were inspired by them. So, I entered the revolutionary work. We worked in the mosques and Hussainiyas, spreading the ideas of Imam Khomeini and distributing His Eminense’s statements and messages.

Then we founded a revolutionary student group. We were, then, arrested by the SAVAK and spent about three years in prison.

In prisons, revolutionaries were subjected to the most severe forms of torture. There were people in the SAVAK who specialized in the implementation of systematic torture.

In 1971, the Shah established a joint committee between the SAVAK and the police to counter sabotage as he claimed. The committee had a very scary prison that housed the revolutionaries who were arrested. They were also tortured.

I was detained for a while in that prison.

Q: What sort of relationship did the SAVAK have with the Mossad and the CIA in confronting the revolutionaries?

A: It is natural that there be a relationship between the SAVAK and the Mossad and the CIA because the Shah had a close relationship with the United States and the Zionist entity. So, both the Mossad and the CIA used to transfer their security experiences to the SAVAK.

As you know, some of our revolutionaries used to go to Palestine and Lebanon for training. So the Mossad sent these people’s information to the SAVAK.

Q: Do you have some memories of the last days before the victory of the revolution and the day Imam Khomeini returned to the country?

A: I was one of the members of Imam Khomeini’s reception committee. I was in the third circle to safeguard the security of the Imam. We were positioned in the Paradise of Zahra (PBUH) cemetery where Imam Khomeini was supposed to deliver a speech honoring the revolution’s martyrs. We were there for 10 nights and days. We had concerns of acts of vandalism that might be carried out by the regime during the Imam’s reception ceremony.

And I remember one of the brothers, a Lebanese revolutionary. His name was Shaher. He trained our group, which was made up of 100 people, in order to maintain the security of the Paradise of Zahra (PBUH).

Imam Khomeini’s reception was historic. Millions of people lined up from Maharabad Airport to Freedom Square and Revolution Street until the Paradise of Zahra (PBUH). It was the final victory of the revolution. I still remember the happiness and joy on the faces of the people that day.

AI: Verdict on Bahrain’s Salman Is Bitter Blow to Freedom of Expression

Local Editor

Amnesty International slammed Bahrain’s verdict on opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman.

Responding to the news that Bahrain’s Court of Cassation has upheld the conviction of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director Samah Hadid said:

“Today’s verdict is yet another nail in the coffin for the right to freedom of expression in Bahrain and exposes the country’s justice system as a complete farce. The decision to uphold Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction and life prison sentence following an unfair trial highlights the authorities’ determination to silence critical voices”.

She went on to say, “The Bahraini authorities must quash Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction and release him immediately and unconditionally. They should also rescind the decision to dissolve the two opposition political groups, al-Wefaq and Wa’ad, and guarantee the right of everyone to freedom of association”.

Sheikh Ali Salman has been repeatedly arrested and charged for his perceived critical views of the authorities.

On 4 November 2018, he was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of alleged trumped-up spying charges. Two other al-Wefaq members, Ali al-Aswad and Sheikh Hassan Sultan, were convicted in their absence during the same trial.

On 28 January 2019, Bahrain’s Al Khalifa regime’s Supreme Court upheld a life term over the alleged “spying” for Qatar.

Source: AI, Edited by website team

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نقاط على الحروف تحية للمبادرة الشيوعية… إلى الأمام

الشيوعي ينجح في تحرّكه الأول: نحو العصيان؟

ديسمبر 17, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لبنانيون كثر لا يشاركون الحزب الشيوعي اللبناني الكثير من مواقفه ونظرته للكثير من الملفات أثلجت صدورهم مبادرة الشيوعيين للخروج المنظم إلى الشارع لرفع البطاقة الحمراء للنظام السياسي والاقتصادي أمام أزمة اجتماعية خانقة، تدقّ أبواب الفقراء وذوي الدخل المحدود والشباب العاطلين عن العمل، بيد قاسية مع اقتراب مواسم البرد والشتاء. والفرح بالمبادرة الشيوعية نابع من عوامل عدة على الشيوعيين الانتباه إليها والاستثمار عليها، للمضي قدماً وصولاً لتحقيق غايات لا يجهضها خروج الحكومة إلى النور، ولا تجعل صرختهم مجرد ومضة عابرة.

– في البلد يقين بأن المعالجات للشأن الاقتصادي والمالي والاجتماعي منحازة بقوة إلى جانب حيتان المال، ويقين بأن الفساد يخترق أغلب القوى السياسية الممثلة في السلطة، بما فيها تلك التي هي قيد الولادة، وبأن التقاسم للمغانم والمكاسب والمناصب، في خلفية أغلب الخلافات السياسية، بما فيها تعقيدات ولادة الحكومة المنتظرة منذ شهور، ويقين بأن شيئاً جذرياً لن يتغير بولادتها سوى الحركة التي يمكن أن تدب نسبياً في آلة الدولة الصدئة والمعطلة، يقابل ذلك قلق من أيّ تحرك تقوده قوى غامضة، ربما تنتهي في أحضان المسؤولين سياسياً أو اقتصادياً عن الأزمة برشوة هنا أو مكسب فئوي هناك، أو تنتهي بفوضى تجعل كل حراك واسع صندوق بريد للرسائل في الداخل والخارج، أو تنتهي بتصنيف طائفي أو فئوي للحراك يقيد انفتاحه على كل الشعب اللبناني. وهذه مخاوف لا يطمئنها لكون التحرّك بقيادة الشيوعيين، الموجودين خارج جنة الحكم والمصالح.

– المطلوب من الشيوعيين وقد حازوا من الذين لم يشاركونهم تحرّك الأمس، لكنهم صفقوا لهم بقلوبهم، إدراك الحاجة للمواظبة والمثابرة، كل أحد على حراك مشابه، سينضم إليه المزيد فالمزيد كلما أظهر الشيوعيون قدرة على إثبات ما ينتظره منهم اللبنانيون، طغيان لبنانيتهم على شيوعيتهم، اي العلم اللبناني والنشيد الوطني اللبناني، والهتافات الجامعة للبنانيين، والترفع عن الحزبية العصبية، وكلما أظهروا استعداداً للانفتاح على قيادة جماعية للتحرّك تسعى لضم كل من يبدي استعداداً للمشاركة، وخصوصاً الخصوم العقائديين والسياسيين للحزب، فالكثير من العقائديين القوميين والإسلاميين والكتائبيين كانو أمس يصفقون للشيوعيين عدا الكثير من القيادات النقابية والشعبية ومنظمات مدنية. وهذا لم يحدث من قبل، والتقاط اللحظة يستدعي توجيه دعوة منزهة عن الكسب الضيق للجميع، الجميع دون استثناء وبأسمائهم، وقياداتهم، ليكونوا قبل الأحد المقبل في لقاء تشاوري جامع واسع عنوانه: كيف نطلق حراكاً هادفاً للتغيير الاقتصادي والاجتماعي لا يخضع لمساومات وصفقات جانبية مع النظام السياسي والاقتصادي، وتحديد المطالب الواضحة والفعالة التي لا تراجع دون نيلها، والدعوة بنهاية اللقاء وفقاً لبيان يحمل تواقيع الحضور، لأحد لبناني يجمع الساحات من 8 و14 آذار، تحت العنوان الاجتماعي، حيث الشيوعيون ضمانة عدم الانقسام كما عدم التطييف وعدم التسييس، والأهم عدم الذهاب إلى خراب الفوضى.

– الفرص التاريخية تأتي مرة واحدة ولا تنتظر، وقد دقّ الحزب الشيوعي باب فرصة تاريخية أمس، ستجعل له مكانة في كتابة تاريخ جديد للبنان، إن أحسن التعامل معها، وأول شروط التقاط الفرص التاريخية، السرعة والترفع والتواضع والصدق، وتلك ميزات لا ينقص الشيوعين إدراكها أو توفيرها، فهي بعض مما يُنتظر منهم.

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