US Republican Ryan supports Bahraini dictatorship


This video shows an interview with Nabeel Rajab, a Bahraini human rights activist, conducted at his home on July 9, shortly before he was arrested for criticizing the country’s prime minister on Twitter.

From the Huffington Post in the USA:

Paul Ryan-Sponsored Bahrain Trade Agreement Under Scrutiny Amid Crackdowns

Posted: 08/20/2012 7:46 pm Updated: 08/20/2012 10:53 pm

WASHINGTON — A spate of anti-democratic actions in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain have turned an unflattering spotlight on a six-year-old U.S. free trade agreement sponsored and promoted by Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice president.

Ryan was the House GOP point man for the Bahrain-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which Congress passed by a wide margin in 2005. By finalizing the deal, Bahrain landed the biggest prize in global economics: unfettered access to American consumers, the largest market in the world.

In return, the oil-rich kingdom agreed to reform labor practices and improve conditions for workers. Ryan and foreign policy leaders said they hoped an economic relationship would help stabilize the Middle East by spurring democratic reforms and improving the region’s human rights record. The 9/11 Commission also said trade deals may improve counter-terrorism operations in Bahrain.

“It’s the carrot approach,” Ryan said in 2009, explaining a positive way to encourage a change in behavior, rather than relying exclusively on punitive or military measures. “This is a way to help expand democratic capitalism, because through each of these trade agreements we require things like the rule of law and forcible contracts, women’s rights, advancements towards openness, transparency and democracy.”

But the hoped-for reforms never materialized. And rather than help change Bahrain for the better, the trade pact is making it difficult for the U.S. to discourage recent misbehavior.

In recent years, Bahrain has repeatedly resorted to brutal tactics to put down a democratic uprising in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring. Numerous accounts said the regime imprisoned and tortured doctors who had treated protesters.

Last week, Nabeel Rajab, one of Bahrain’s leading political opposition figures, was sentenced to three years in prison for supposedly “inciting” protest by using Twitter.

The trade pact with Bahrain not only took a powerful economic carrot off the foreign policy table, it also eliminated a critical economic stick. Any economic sanctions that the U.S. might seek to impose on Bahrain would violate the terms of the trade deal.

“We know that free trade agreements lead to offshoring and job loss to the detriment of middle-class American families,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) “What may be less known by the American public is that these agreements, supported by the Romney-Ryan ticket, allow global institutions to impede our ability to exert economic leverage over nations with whom we sign FTAs when they do not play by the rules, or act against U.S. interest. In the case of Bahrain, rather than any move toward democracy, we are witnessing gross human rights abuses, including against workers’ rights, with little leverage to change the regime’s behavior.”

Ryan declined to comment.

Breaking the deal and imposing economic sanctions for Bahrain, ironically, could subject the U.S. to retaliatory trade sanctions.

“A lot of times people just say, ‘Free trade breeds democracy, we don’t have to worry about it beyond that.’ And our view is, Where is the evidence for that?” said Celeste Drake, an international trade specialist at the AFL-CIO, which fought the Bahrain deal — as it does most free-trade agreements — and still opposes it. “Often all you’ve done is limited the scope of the how you can try to persuade a country to change its ways.”

Organized labor has been particularly aggrieved with the Bahrain free-trade agreement. A labor dispute filed last year by the AFL-CIO and others accused the kingdom of violating the labor protections of the Bahrain free-trade deal.

Meanwhile, another Republican Congressman, Todd Akin, is in trouble about his stupid misogynistic views on rape.

Romney, Ryan and Rape: A Todd Akin Special Delivery: here.

Human Rights Defender Profile: Ahlam Oun from Bahrain: here.

Human Rights Defender Profile: Mohammed al-Maskati of Bahrain: here.

9 thoughts on “US Republican Ryan supports Bahraini dictatorship

  1. The official United States government view:

    U.S. Relations With Bahrain

    Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs

    Fact Sheet

    August 21, 2012

    Note to our readers: Background Notes are no longer being updated or produced. They are being replaced with Fact Sheets focusing on U.S. relations with countries and other areas and providing links to additional resources. For archived versions of Background Notes, visit http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/.

    More information about Bahrain is available on the Bahrain Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

    U.S.-BAHRAIN RELATIONS

    The United States established diplomatic relations with Bahrain in 1971 following its independence from the United Kingdom. The U.S. embassy at Manama was opened September 21, 1971, and a resident ambassador was sent in 1974. The Bahraini embassy in Washington, DC, opened in 1977. The American Mission Hospital, affiliated with the National Evangelical Church, has operated continuously in Bahrain for more than a century.

    Bahrain plays a key role in regional security architecture and is a vital U.S. partner in defense initiatives. Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, allows the United States access to two major airfields, and participates in U.S.-led military coalitions. Bahraini forces have supported the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, providing perimeter security at U.S. Marine Camp Leatherneck. Bahrain was the first Arab state to lead one of the Coalition Task Forces that patrol the Gulf and has supported the coalition counter-piracy mission with a deployment of its flagship. The U.S. designated Bahrain a Major Non-NATO Ally in October 2001.

    The U.S-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2006, generating additional commercial opportunities for both countries. In 2006, bilateral trade exceeded $1 billion for the first time, representing almost 50% growth over 2005.

    Recent political and social unrest has highlighted the need for reform and reconciliation. . Following the release of the royally appointed Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’s (BICI) findings, which recommended broad reform of the security sector following numerous human rights abuses during and after the 2011 unrest, the Government of Bahrain has taken initial steps to reform its security sector. The United States has urged the Government of Bahrain to implement the full range of BICI recommendations and take steps to implement additional reforms.

    U.S. Assistance to Bahrain

    U.S. assistance helps Bahrain, which lacks the oil wealth of its neighbors, obtain the equipment and training it needs to operate alongside U.S. air and naval forces. With the help of the U.S., Bahrain has made significant efforts to upgrade its defense systems and modernize its armed forces over the last 20 years. Since the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. has provided military and defense technical assistance and training to Bahrain from Foreign Military Sales (FMS), commercial sources, and excess defense article sales (EDA), and under the International Military and Education Training (IMET) program. U.S. military sales to Bahrain since 2000 total $1.4 billion. Military exercises are conducted on a regular basis to increase the BDF’s readiness and improve coordination with the U.S. and other GCC forces. The BDF also sends personnel to the United States for military training. This training includes courses from graduate-level professional military education down to entry-level technical training.

    To protect and advance U.S. interests, the United States uses all tools available, including foreign assistance, to encourage Bahrain’s leadership to implement reforms and respect human rights standards; make Bahrain a stronger and more interoperable partner for regional peace, security and counter-terrorism cooperation; improve the ability to deny terrorist sponsorship, support, and sanctuary; and boost Bahrain’s maritime defenses against smuggling and terrorism.

    Bilateral Economic Relations

    Due to its relatively limited energy reserves, Bahrain has been diversifying its economy away from oil and gas production and is seeking to attract foreign investment and businesses..The U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement took effect on August 1, 2006 and is generating increased U.S. commercial interest in Bahrain. Bilateral trade between the U.S. and Bahrain has increased each since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement, reaching nearly $830 million USD in 2010. U.S. exports to Bahrain include machinery, aircraft, vehicles, and agricultural products. U.S. imports from Bahrain include fertilizers, aluminum, textiles, apparel, and organic chemicals.

    Bahrain’s Membership in International Organizations

    Among other regional and global organizations, Bahrain is a member of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization, among others.

    Bilateral Representation

    The U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain is Thomas C. Krajeski; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.

    Bahrain maintains an embassy in the United States at 3502 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel: (202) 342-1111.

    More information about Bahrain is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

    Department of State Bahrain Country Page
    Department of State Key Officers List
    CIA World Factbook Bahrain Page
    U.S. Embassy: Bahrain
    History of U.S. Relations With Bahrain
    Human Rights Reports
    International Religious Freedom Reports
    Trafficking in Persons Reports
    Narcotics Control Reports
    Investment Climate Statements
    Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
    U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
    Export.gov International Offices Page
    Library of Congress Country Studies
    Travel and Business Information

    The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/26414.htm

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  2. It’s become overwhelmingly clear in the last week how low the level of political debate is in the United States when it comes to women’s rights, not to mention their basic biology.

    Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy have prompted a justified level of outrage, but few have noted how at home his extremist views are within the GOP platform, or the fact that Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan co-sponsored a bill with Akin to redefine rape in 2011. Most of the mainstream media has responded by either legitimizing Akin’s ridiculous remarks as being worthy of debate, or focusing only on how this development might impact the electoral race.

    Meanwhile, 87 percent of counties in the US are without an abortion provider, making it a right without any access for most American women – and neither of the two main parties has the political will to change that.

    If you think that Americans deserve a better class of news reporting and analysis, support Truthout’s efforts to raise the level of discussion.

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  3. Pingback: Todd Akin, US Republican misogynist | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Reuters:

    Bahrain court acquits Nabeel Rajab over ‘insulting’ tweet

    Human rights and democracy activist remains in jail as he awaits appeal hearings on other convictions for inciting protest

    Thursday 23 August 2012 14.27 BST

    An appeal court in Bahrain has acquitted the activist Nabeel Rajab of insulting Bahrainis after he criticised the prime minister in a tweet, his lawyer said. But Rajab remains in jail over other convictions.

    Rajab, founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was sentenced in July to three months in prison for suggesting via Twitter that residents of al-Muharraq district were paid to show support for Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the prime minister.

    “The judge ruled his innocence. Nabeel and representatives of many foreign embassies were present. I was able to meet him for a few minutes,” his lawyer, Mohammed al-Jishi, told Reuters. The state news agency, BNA, said the appeal judge acquitted Rajab because he was not satisfied with the evidence.

    Rajab has led many demonstrations calling for a reduction in the powers of the Khalifa dynasty that has long ruled the Gulf Arab state. Analysts see the prime minister as a bulwark against opposition demands.

    But Rajab – a hero to protesters but a villain to Bahrainis who fear unrest will help sweep Shia Islamists to power – was also sentenced to three years in prison last week on three charges of leading protests. Prosecutors said he had incited violence against police.

    Rights groups and western governments criticised the convictions and the appeal court was due to examine the case on 10 September.

    Bahrain, where the US navy’s fifth fleet is based, has been in turmoil for 18 months, with the Shia majority calling for democratic reforms in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

    Shia-led unrest has persisted since a period of martial law last year that put down the uprising. The sides trade blame for almost daily outbreaks of street violence.

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  5. Pingback: Bahraini dictatorship for people, freedom for corporations | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Bahrain regime’s killing, resistance, continue | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Human rights violations, South African apartheid then, Bahrain now | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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