Tag Archives: Bahrain

Saudi Arabia is the flagging horse of the Gulf – but Britain is still backing it as an answer to Brexit

Why does the British Government devote so much time and effort to cultivating the rulers of Bahrain, a tiny state notorious for imprisoning and torturing its critics? It is doing so when a Bahraini court is about to sentence the country’s leading human rights advocate, Nabeel Rajab, who has been held in isolation in a filthy cell full of ants and cockroaches, to as much as 15 years in prison for sending tweets criticising torture in Bahrain and the Saudi bombardment of Yemen.

Yet it has just been announced that Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are to make an official visit to Bahrain in November with the purpose of improving relations with Britain. It is not as though Bahrain has been short of senior British visitors of late, with the International Trade Minister Liam Fox going there earlier in September to meet the Crown Prince, Prime Minister and commerce minister. And, if this was not enough, in the last few days the Foreign Office Minister of State for Europe, Sir Alan Duncan, found it necessary to pay a visit to Bahrain where he met King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the interior minister, Sheikh Rashid al-Khalifa, whose ministry is accused of being responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses on the island since the Arab Spring protests there were crushed in 2011 with the assistance of Saudi troops.


Source: Saudi Arabia is the flagging horse of the Gulf – but Britain is still backing it as an answer to Brexit

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Posted by on October 3, 2016 in Europe, Middle East


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Les chiites bahreïnis, « otages » du conflit entre Riyad et Téhéran 

Petite monarchie du Golfe, Bahreïn ne fait pas habituellement les gros titres de la presse internationale. Ces dernières semaines, toutefois, de nouvelles mesures contre l’opposition chiite ont fait couler beaucoup d’encre.

En 2011 déjà, en pleine vague de soulèvements populaires dans la région, le mouvement de contestation de cette communauté majoritaire à Bahreïn (plus de 70 % de la population est chiite, contrairement à la famille régnante, qui est sunnite) avait été très vite étouffé dans l’œuf par les autorités, largement aidées par des troupes saoudiennes. Depuis, les pourparlers entre al-Wefaq, principal groupe d’opposition, et le pouvoir sont tombés à l’eau et les activités du mouvement chiite ont même été suspendues pendant quelques mois à l’automne 2014. De nombreux activistes ont été emprisonnés, comme Nabil Rajab, militant des droits de l’homme et président du Centre bahreïni des droits de l’homme, arrêté pour la énième fois à la mi-juin pour avoir entre autres « répandu de fausses rumeurs » dans le but de susciter des troubles à Bahreïn.

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Posted by on July 13, 2016 in Middle East



Torture, imprisonment and killing – so what would it take for Bahrain to be criticised by Philip Hammond? 

Bahrainis are calling their government’s intensified repression of all opposition “the Egyptian strategy”, believing that it is modelled on the ruthless campaign by the Egyptian security forces to crush even the smallest signs of dissent.

In recent weeks leading advocates of human rights in Bahrain have been jailed in conditions directed at breaking them physically and mentally, while others, already in prison, have been given longer sentences. The Bahraini citizenship of Sheikh Isa Qasim, the spiritual leader of the Shia majority in Bahrain, was revoked and the headquarters of the main opposition party, al-Wifaq, closed and its activities suspended.

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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Europe, Middle East


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Bearing Witness to the Rise of ISIS: The Story of Anna Therese Day

On Valentine’s Day, Anna Therese Day’s luck ran out. It had held for five years and 20 days as a freelance American journalist documenting the frustrated aspirations of the Arab Spring and the rise of ISIS. But in Bahrain earlier this month, while covering the fifth anniversary of the Persian Gulf kingdom’s violently quashed 2011 uprising, the 27-year-old reporter and her film crew were arrested.

Having dared to document young Bahrainis clashing with police, Day and her crew were charged with posing as tourists and taking part in illegal demonstrations. Even though her captors knew they were reporters, they were “accused of participating in ‘unlawful protests,’ as agitators,” Day told me when we met in New York on February 21, three days after she returned to the states.

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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Middle East, Reportages


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Saudi allies Bahrain and Sudan cut ties with Tehran as regional crisis deepens

Bahrain and Sudan joined Saudi Arabia in severing diplomatic relations with Iran on Monday as the worst crisis in three decades between the region’s rival Sunni and Shiite powers drew worldwide expressions of alarm.

The United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, recalled its ambassador from Tehran in a downgrading of ties to focus mainly on commercial affairs. Dubai is the base for many Iranian-run businesses.

As the diplomatic storm widened, so did the efforts at international damage control.

Russia offered to mediate, the United Nations dispatched a senior envoy for crisis talks in Riyadh and Tehran, and a growing list of nations expressed concern at the implications of the rupture — touched off by Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric as part of its largest mass execution of prisoners in more than 35 years.

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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Middle East


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Two alternative paths separate the Arab world

The contrast this week between political decisions by the governments in Tunisia, Bahrain and Egypt capture vividly the two available pathways for Arab national development.

For the first time ever in modern Arab history, Arab citizens can witness how life, politics and citizenship operate in alternative systems based, respectively, on the rule of law and democratic pluralism, in the case of Tunisia, and on top-heavy, security-managed governance systems in most Arab states, with Bahrain and Egypt offering the most recent unfortunate examples.

via Two alternative paths separate the Arab world —

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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Africa, Middle East


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Building a British naval base in Bahrain is a ‘symbolic choice’ – for no clear reason

The British decision to spend £15m establishing a naval base at Mina Salman Port in Bahrain is being presented as a “symbolic” deal to increase stability in the region, guard against unnamed threats and strengthen Britain’s partnership with the states of the Gulf.

via Building a British naval base in Bahrain is a ‘symbolic choice’ – for no clear reason —

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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in Europe, Middle East


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Diplomacy, immunity and justice

The British courts have long been considered a forum of independent and impartial justice. One of the principal components of this system of justice is the application of universal jurisdiction; a process which allows victims of torture committed outside its borders to bring claims before the British courts. The application of this process has recently been called into question in the case of F F, a Bahraini national, allegedly tortured during the Bahrain uprising in 2011. In 2012, lawyers acting for F F sought the arrest and prosecution of Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the son of the King of Bahrain, when he visited the UK during the London Olympics. The Crown Prosecution Service CPS declined to prosecute on the basis that Prince Nasser was entitled to rely on diplomatic immunity. Prince Nasser was allowed to return to Bahrain. This decision was challenged in the High Court and a ruling was handed down on October 7 following consent being reached by the parties that the 2012 decision had been incorrectly decided and that immunity should not be a bar to prosecution.

via Diplomacy, immunity and justice —

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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Europe, Middle East


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Leaked Files: German Spy Company Helped Bahrain Hack Arab Spring Protesters

A notorious surveillance technology company that helps governments around the world spy on their citizens sold software to Bahrain during that country’s brutal response to the Arab Spring movement, according to leaked internal documents posted this week on the internet.The documents show that FinFisher, a German surveillance company, helped Bahrain install spyware on 77 computers, including those belonging to human rights lawyers and a now-jailed opposition leader, between 2010 and 2012—a period that includes Bahrain’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. FinFisher’s software gives remote spies total access to compromised computers. Some of the computers that were spied on appear to have been located in the United States and United Kingdom, according to a report from Bahrain Watch.

via Leaked Files: German Spy Company Helped Bahrain Hack Arab Spring Protesters – The Intercept —

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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in European Union, Middle East


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Bahrain moves to expel ‘unwelcome’ US official for meeting Shia opposition group

Bahrain has ordered a top US diplomat visiting the island to leave the country after he met leaders of the main Shia opposition party. The government said that the US assistant secretary for human rights, Tom Malinowski, was “unwelcome” and he should end his official three-day visit to Bahrain “due to his interference in its internal affairs”.

via Bahrain moves to expel ‘unwelcome’ US official for meeting Shia opposition group – Middle East – World – The Independent.

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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Middle East