Bahrain: Crimes Against Humanity 19

Live rounds by security forces were used in a massive dawn attack on the protest camp at Pearl roundabout. The hundreds of injured have been denied access to the hospital, which is surrounded by military including Saudi military. Doctors are not allowed to leave to treat the wounded outside. This is a crime against humanity.

Both CNN and Al Jazeera have numerous eye witnesses to these events. CNN report that some doctors and patients have been beaten. Yet Hillary Clinton has just been shown calling for “restraint by all sides” and calling for an end to “sectarian violence from all groups”. This is the standard US response to an atrocity by one of its close allies. In Uzbekistan, when at least 700 pro-democracy demonstrators were massacred by security forces at Andijan, the State Department called for “Both sides to stop violence”.

So there you have it. People who wanted democracy are dying from gunshot wounds which could be treated if they were not denied medical attention, actually within sight of the ships of the US fifth fleet. I do hope US citizens reading this are feeling proud and patriotic today.

It is also interesting how keen apologists for the fat rich ugly King of Bahrain, including Clinton, are to cast this as “sectarian”. There are plenty of Sunni democrats also who do not wish to live in an absolutist monarchy. It is yet another variation on the theme “We have to support the dictator as there is no democratic alternative. The only alternative is theocracy”. Clinton is falling back on that bullshit – again just as in Uzbekistan.

There is no doubt that, as a matter of law, the denial of hospitil access to the injured demonstrators, following a planned attack on them preceded by the importation of foreign troops, puts the King of Bahrain in line for a cell at The Hague. How can Britiain be surprised at lack of UN support for a no fly zone in Libya, when our concern for democracy and humanity is so blatantly selective? Where is the travel ban on the King and his family, and the freezing of his assets?

There are moments of clarity when the doublespeak of governments is starkly exposed. This is one of those. It is plain that Obama did not mean a single word of the concern for democracy in the Muslim world he expressed in his “Cairo speech”. The US much prefers its pet dictators.

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19 thoughts on “Bahrain: Crimes Against Humanity

  • charlescrawford


    I'm with you (mainly) on this one. It's really worrying that lumps are falling off World Order like falling masonry from a swaying tsumali-stricken Tokyo skyscraper. Has Bahrain simply been abolished?

    Surely the basic problem is not that the world/West/East/North/South has accepted these dictatorships – it's that their own people have. The lack of organised concern in the Arab world for any Muslim v Muslim atrocity (see eg the astounding Hama massacre) has led to this unfolding disaster. This has left the rest of us with nothing much to say, not helped by a supine self-imposed political correctness when it comes to Islamist oppression of women and so on – Obama's Cairo speech was lamentably weak here.

    Blaming the USA for 'propping up' these regimes misses the main point. Arab submissiveness suited everyone for far too long – but above all Arabs themselves, and now there's no way forward but downwards.


    • jjb

      You got it all wrong. The west does not "accept" these dictatorships. The west promotes them. And as for the arabs "accepting" them, events clearly show this not to be the case

      • Herbie

        I'm sure that what Charles meant is that these dictatorships suited the Western and Arab leaderships, so much so indeed that the West itself is busy creating its own forms of dictatorship albeit through an authoritarian state bureaucracy model than through the outmoded charismatic leader model.

        By definition these forms of government don't much care what the broader populace think, as Charles correctly observes. By "Arabs", he means Arab leaders. The ordinary Arab "punter" as such doesn't much matter.

        Who can blame them though. Democracy is such a bloody nuisance when you just want to get things done.

    • Duncan_McFarlan

      If submissiveness suited Arabs so much why have the dictatorships been having to jail and torture and kill so many of their own people for so long – and close down their newspapers and ban their political meetings?

  • Herbie

    Obama doesn't care about democracy. He doesn't care about the torture of Bradley Manning, by soldiers under his command. He doesn't care about the continuing internment without trial of those in Guantanamo.

    I say "he doesn't care". What I mean is that he actively supports internment, torture and dictators.

    All he seems to care about is getting re-elected. But what's the point of that. The man's useless.

    Any Faux News watching hick could easily be as big a scumbag as Obama.

    What's the point of Obama, other than the obvious fact that he deluded some people into thinking he was change. Even Bush knew he was more of the same.

  • James Cole

    charlescrawford wtf are you talking about? why is "propping up" in scare quotes? your rhetoric is reminiscent of the neocons who argue that arabs are simply incapable of democracy, so the brutal dictatorships are their own fault, ignoring the long-standing and repeated involvement of Europe and US in the history of the region, and not as a positive force.

  • Hatari

    Where is the outrage form the Government or the Press? They are trying to portray this violent suppression of peaceful demonstrators in Bahrain as an “Evacuation” or “Clear out Protest Camp” very apt to excuse our Allie crimes. Where is the outrage? That is only reserved for Dictators like who do not do as they are told. The puppets can do as they like as long as they keep the oil flowing, buy our arms and host our Armies

  • Michael.K

    There's a difference between how we view friends and enemies. Or in the West's case those brutal, autocratic, regimes that find themselves inside or outside the borders of our empire. That's why Saudi Arabia is treated so differently from Iran. Saudi Arabia is protected and integrated into the western sphere, Iran is punished and isolated.

  • CanSpeccy

    "How can Britiain be surprised at lack of UN support for a no fly zone in Libya, when our concern for democracy and humanity is so blatantly selective? "

    No state has a "concern" for democracy and humanity, selective or otherwise. Didn't the FO give you any training at all, Craig? All talk of concern is merely to distract the the booboisie, as Mencken called the people who's votes will be needed at the next election.

    it would be better, really, if schools taught, not political correctness, but real politic. Then the government could go about its business of murdering people to boost corporate profits without so much BS.

    What the voters should be demanding to know from Cameroon is, what's the pay-off for bombing Libya? Is it to get the Chinese out, to get more drilling permits, to lower royalties or what?

    Then there should be a candid assessment of cost — how many British airmen/soldiers might be lost or maimed. As a footnote, there could also be an estimate of how may Libyans are likely to be killed, maimed or otherwise devastated by Britain's intended action.

    But for God's sake don't keep pushing this idea that we in the West are somehow responsible for the civil rights of people in far away places about which we know nothing. Such notions only encourage naive people to agitate for wars that cause vastly more suffering than they could possible cure.

    But punch that bastard from Bahrain on the nose by all means.

  • Suhaylsaadi

    People right across the region have risen and are demanding basic human and political rights. The oppressive regimes that have been in power have been there for complex reasons, one of which is tribalism (internal divide-and-rule, the usual) and another, external support. I cannot understand how people who criticised Arab and/or Muslim people for supposedly not striving for democracy, human rights, etc. continue to criticise them for not striving for human rights, etc. when they do strive for such rights and are killed and maimed for doing so! This has nothing to do with ‘political correctness’, Charles. 'Latin' America took 150 years post-independence to achieve democracy – and it's still patchy there. Basically, as you well know, Charles, it was, and is, in Western elite interests to sustain oppressive regimes in these areas as it modulates the extent to which the people of those regions can access, control and distribute their own resources and wealth. Neocolonialism, in other words. We sell their rulers trillions of pounds/dollars-worth of weapons so that they can continue to oppress their people. Of course there are internal factors, and some people are co-opted, as I've suggested already. This is how such regimes maintain power. But blaming the whole situation on 'the Arab people' is facile and inaccurate. There have been many protests over the years, as you well know. This one is mass and international – and we have IT to watch it in detail right across the world. Other atrocities were simply covered-up and the people oppressed even more completely. The 'World Order' needs re-ordered.

    Craig, I agree with you 100%. Sadly, I am hearing reports too of some of the protestors targeting South Asians. Some Pakistanis have had to take refuge from the protestors. Racist bullying of servants, etc. is not new, sadly, in these places. Now some of the protestors want people of South Asian origin to be stripped of their Bahraini citizenship. These people, who have nothing to do with the regime, are being targeted. This is plain wrong. The protests are not entirely like in Egypt, where there was inclusiveness. To be fair, it is crucial that the protestors cease such actions; it is wrong and will only damage their cause internationally. They need to focus on the source of their problems, not on fellow workers. Many of the people went there to work to get away from strife and poverty in South Asia; these people are not mercenary soldiers, they are servants, nannies, general workers, and probably professionals, etc.

    What the Bahraini regime has done is heinous and I condemn it utterly. Attacking patients and medical staff and indeed civilians in general, is indeed a crime against humanity.

    • Hatari

      I agree that it is totally wrong for the protesters to attack the Asian migrants, it my be because the detested Bahrain Special Force set up by the British is largely made up of Pakistani and some Indians and trained by the British. The Bahrain regime does not trust their own to keep them in power. I think that the Saudi National Guard is not involved in today’s operation and may have been held back in reserve to free the Bahrainis or the Casualties would have been much higher, these are Al Sauds Tribal army, pampered thugs and they would have simply gunned down any number of people.

    • CanSpeccy

      So Bahrainis are right to demand democracy but wrong to demand what is in their own interest, such as the denial of citizenship to the mass of Pakistanis and others who compete with Bahrainis natives for employment, resources and eventually, political control.

      But you cannot have the one without the other.

      What Bahrainis are demanding is the right to control their economy for their own benefit, not for the benefit of millions of opportunistic immigrants. So while violent action, or any negative action, taken against immigrants may be totally unfair and inexcusable, it is precisely what one can expect where governments, whether British or Bahraini, put the interests of the owners of capital above the interests of their own people and begin to swamp out the native population with cheap imported labor.

      The magnitude of the invasion of Bahrain by economic migrants is astounding, the immigration rate of 16.1 per thousand exceeding the birth rate of 14.46 per thousand, which includes children of immigrants. This has to be a recipe for violence. To diffuse it, the first thing a democratic government in Bahrain would need to do is terminate immigration. That, however, is something the Western pushers of democracy, i.e., the delusional pseudo-democracy of Britain and the West as a whole, would never allow.

      And indeed democracy is not intended to empower people, it is intended to transfer power from an autocracy to an oligarchy of the wealthy and the dynamic, who have turned capitalism into a devastatingly destructive revolutionary force.

      So what you are pushing for in Bahrain seems unlikely to do much good and may do harm — certainly to the immigrant community. Remember, a lynch mob is fundamentally democratic and that's the mentality that, by your account, is fueling the democratic movement in Bahrain.

      What Western leaders need to realize is that the revolutionary ferment in Arab lands is likely to burst forth in Western democracies too, and that it is time to protect the rights of ordinary people, rather than pretending to do so through the nonsensical process of intermittently swapping one lot of bought politicians for another, all of whom are subservient to the ruling oligarchy, members of which are often not even citizens of the countries whose governments they own.

  • Suhaylsaadi

    Well, whatever happens in short-term across the Middle east, history cannot be reversed. Protests will continue, even if crushed. The touch-paper has been lit. The consciousness has shifted.

  • ingo

    Today R4, the FCO representative was talking one sentence and one sentence only, 'get out of Bahrain' and 'we do support the Governments 'dialogue' with rebels.

    Now the latter term rebells is now well established in the medi. For democracy demonstrators, read rebell, a very distortive way of the media air brushes bloddy demonstrating with the tinbge of rebellion, rather than talk of legitamite rights for all, human rights, democracy, all those things Obama talked about in Egypts university some time back.

    He fuelled the debate and demands, gave verbal assurance and support to democratic forces, but when it happened, but when it actually happened and democracy knocked on the door, he colluded with those who ruled.

    • ingo

      Egypt always had a priviledged position and could have come to the help of Libya's democracy yearning millions, the military refused to act on the demands of its new opposition, they wanted them to intervene and help their brothers and sisters in Libya.

      In my view Egypts military is now in charge and in lieu with the US, not much will change until a new Constitution is hmmered out and election are called. Bahrain on the other hand could instigate a very dangerous phase with Iran's.
      Ahmydinnerjackets hypocritic attempt yesterday, complainging about the brutal way Bahrains rulers use to quell the democratioc forces, made me laugh, it was so stupid of him to open his mouth, now he has lost the last support he had in the west.
      BTW. Did I see Suhayl Sitting in an auction room on TV the other day? 🙂 Browsing for nik naks?

  • Marek, Warsaw

    I agree with the bulk of Craig's critics vis a vis the west, but at the same time I think his argument is strongly overshadowed by his personal aversion towards the US. The reasons for the highly probable intervention in Libya may not be purely altruistic (too put it mildly) and it is true, that the west's lofty rethorics of human rights and stopping the bloodshed strangly enough do not apply to Bahrain. But at the same time isn't the West still the only force in the today's world to have any kind of moral scruples? Who if not he west, would be willing to do anything about Libya? Russians, Chinese, Indians, Brazilians? Ofcourse not, they don't give a damn about people being killed there and would eagerly let Kaddafi massacre the opposition. The conclusion is, that while having good reasons for criticising the west's "selectivness" and inconsistency, one should not lose from site the broder picture. Doing nothing both in Libya and in Bahrain would surely be more consistent, but would it be better?

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