Bahrainis condemn US arms for dictatorship

From New York Times blogger Matt Flegenheimer in the USA:

May 12, 2012, 2:58 pm

Protests Over Arms Sales to Bahrain

One day after the State Department said the United States would resume some arms sales to Bahrain — despite what the United States acknowledges as “unresolved human rights issues” among the country’s leadership — activists on Saturday denounced the measure, as demonstrators descended on the country’s capital city to protest the government’s detention of political prisoners.

Maryam Alkhawaja, an activist with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, chided the United States in a Twitter message for not doing more to pressure Bahraini officials about releasing the prisoners. Instead, she wrote, “#USA rewards them with weapons.”

Ala’a Shehabi, a British-Bahraini activist, posted a picture of protesters, mostly women, gathering in Manama on Saturday, tagging the post with “#ManamaMarch.”

She added that riot police were patrolling the area, “brandishing weapons,” as crowds of migrant workers looked on.

Ms. Shehabi is a founding member of Bahrain Watch, a Web site that has compiled an overview of the foreign weapons used by Bahrain’s security forces. …

Last month, as my colleagues Souad Mekhennet and Rick Gladstone reported, thousands of opposition protesters marched in Manama to protest the kingdom’s decision to proceed with the Formula One Grand Prix despite a crackdown on dissent in the country and a hunger strike by a jailed activist. In an interview with The Lede at the time, Ms. Shehabi, who was born and raised in Britain, said Bahrain’s protest movement had changed her life. Last June, her husband was sentenced to three years in jail for attending a protest.

This video is called Ala’a Shehabi on Bahrain’s Formula One Protests.

“I see no other cause more worthy than the one I’m living through,” Ms. Shehabi said. “In that sense, it’s been very dramatic and very enriching, despite the pain and the misery and the grief that we’ve had to endure, along with thousands of other Bahrainis.”

Activists Criticize US Resumption of Arms Sales to Bahrain: here.

US resumes arms sales to Bahrain. Activists feel abandoned: here.

U.S. Defense Secretary, Bahraini Crown Prince Meet at Pentagon: here.

The Monarchy of Bahrain: An enemy of the Internet: here.

While the fear of arrest is an important concern for many activists using social media, there are other factors at work that might deter people from criticising the Bahraini regime. One of these is trolling, an aggressive form of online behaviour directed at other web-users. It usually comes from anonymous accounts, and its severity can range from death threats and threats of rape, to spiteful comments and personal abuse. It is particularly common on Twitter: here.

Bahrain Live Coverage: Why Did Saudis Pour Cold Water on “Union”? Here.

In Bahrain, the spark behind Pearl Revolution still glows: here.

Bahrain Feature: A Very British System of Repression: here.

Bahrain Live Coverage: “Union” with Saudi Arabia? Here.

Of all the Arab Spring uprisings, Bahrain probably gets the least attention in the U.S. press. There are perhaps some good arguments why; it could be the fact that the United States is on the side of the monarchy violently suppressing the democratic aspirations of its people: here.

A Bahraini doctor arrested and allegedly brutalized for treating an injured protester said he and other medical workers were targeted because of what they saw: here.

13 thoughts on “Bahrainis condemn US arms for dictatorship

  1. As long as their is (oil) money involved, the United States will do just about anything. I fear our country has no conscience because having a conscience would affect its citizens, and when they get made, it’s not a happy place to live.


    • There are quite some people in the USA, even some in Congress, who object to the arms sales to Bahrain and other dictatorships. They should get the information out to as many people in the US as possible (which this blog tries to do in its small way …)


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