Arab dictators ‘for democracy’ in Syria

This video is called Shocking CNN Report on Bahrain – Torturing Patients in Hospital 12-04-2011.

Bahrain Photo Special: The Life, Work, and Detention of Photojournalist Ahmed Humaidan: here. And here.

Bahrain Audio Feature: Why the Detention of Photojournalist Ahmed Humaidan Matters: here.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


THE annual summit of Arab monarchs in the Gulf opened in Manama last Monday with a call for closer economic integration and unity in the face of the revolutions which have swept through much of North Africa, Egypt and even Bahrain, threatening the feudal regimes of the Gulf.

King Hamad of Bahrain called for the Gulf Cooperation Council to provide ‘a security umbrella for its peoples’ and urged ‘economic complementarity’ between its six member states.

In his address to GCC counterparts, Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, standing in for King Abdullah who stayed away for health reasons, delivered an appeal for unity.

‘We aspire to a strong union with integrated economies, a joint foreign policy and a common defence system,’ he said.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Kuwait’s emir, called for humanitarian aid for Syrian civilians and urged Iran to reach a peaceful settlement with neighbours, including over three Gulf islands in dispute with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The two-day summit focussed on strengthening ‘Gulf unity, especially politically, economically, in defence, security and culture,’ Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa said.
The meeting also discussed the conflict in Syria and the situation in Yemen.

However, four of the six heads of state did not attend the annual gathering, which takes place in the wake of last year’s Arab Spring uprisings which swept several Arab states.

The overall gross domestic product in 2011 of the GCC states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia – amounted to 1.37 trillion dollars, a diplomatic source said.

In 2003, they launched a symbolic customs union which has been beset with problems, failing to meet its target date of 2005, with the transition period systematically extended to 2015.

And a monetary union announced in 2009 with the aim of creating a common currency has also failed to materialise, with just four nations – Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – signing up to it.
The six will also discuss plans to expand a security treaty they signed in 1994 with the aim of increasing security cooperation in the face of the Arab uprisings, sources said.

‘The summit is taking place under extremely sensitive and delicate circumstances, whose impact on the Gulf states must be studied,’ said the GCC secretary general, Abdellatif Zayani, ahead of the meeting.

Rights activists called on the GCC leaders to introduce democratic reforms, in an open letter to the summit.

‘It appears the events in the past two years,’ especially ‘aspirations for an effective popular participation . . . and creating constitutional monarchies,’ are not on the summit agenda, said the Gulf Forum of Civil Societies.

Bahrain is still trying to cope with a Shiite-led uprising it tried to crush last year with the backing of Gulf troops, while a Kuwaiti political crisis has seen the opposition stage protests against an amendment to the electoral law.

The Shiite opposition in Sunni-ruled Bahrain has called on the summit ‘to exert pressure on Bahraini leaders to find a solution to the crisis,’ according to one of its leaders.

Witnesses said police on Monday dispersed Shiite demonstrators near Manama, not far from where the summit is being held in the south of the country.

Saudi Arabia’s Shiite-populated oil-rich Eastern Province, meanwhile, has been the site of sporadic protests, while the United Arab Emirates has arrested some 60 Islamist dissidents it claims were plotting against state security.

In normally sleepy Oman, demonstrators took to the streets last year to demand improved living conditions and reforms … .

The six Gulf states sharpened their tone against their Shiite neighbour Iran on Tuesday, demanding an immediate halt to its ‘interference’ in their internal affairs while urging a rapid political transition in its ally Syria.

The feudal leaders however released the full force of their fury against Iran.

Concluding their two-day summit in Manama, the Gulf Cooperation Council members gave their full support to Bahrain’s Sunni minority regime while lashing out at Tehran, which they accuse of fueling a Shiite-led uprising in the host country.

The GCC states also affirmed their support for the newly-formed opposition National Coalition ‘as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.’

In the closing statement, the meeting said the GCC states had decided to accelerate the process of integrating the economic gap between member states and had approved a security treaty, while announcing the creation of a unified military command.

10 thoughts on “Arab dictators ‘for democracy’ in Syria

  1. 2013/01/02 – 19:15 source: FNA

    Bahraini Security Forces Fire Tear Gas at 4-Year-Old Child

    A newly released film by the Bahraini people shows the Al-Khalifa regime’s security forces firing tear gas at a 4-year-old child during peaceful demonstrations near the capital Manama.

    (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – The film, taken in a village near Manama, shows a protester rescues the child and takes him to a safe place.

    The Al-Khalifa regime has already killed many civilians, including women and children, by firing poisonous tear gases inside their homes.

    Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty’s over-40-year rule.

    Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar – were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.

    So far, tens of protesters have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured.

    Police clampdown on protesters continues daily. Authorities have tried to stop organized protests by opposition parties over the past month by refusing to license them and using tear gas on those who turn up.

    The opposition coalition wants full powers for the elected parliament and a cabinet fully answerable to parliament.

    Amnesty International has announced that more than 200 people, arrested as part of the clampdown against Shiite political opposition in Bahrain, are at the risk of being tortured. Around 250 individuals in Bahrain, who are believed to have been detained, are at risk of torture, the group said. Human Rights Watch also accused Bahrain of restricting the travel of rights activists to prevent them from talking about the arrest of opposition members.

    The Sunni-dominated government has intensified the crackdown against the Shiite population, arresting dozens of opposition figures on the allegation of planning to topple the government.

    The population of Bahrain is predominantly Shiite. However, the majority group has long complained of being discriminated against by the Sunni-dominated government in obtaining jobs and receiving services.


  2. YES to democracy. NO to foreign military intervention.
    A political settlement the only solution.

    Ernesto Cardenal, poet, politician and theologian of liberation, Nicaragua
    Raúl Vera, Catholic bishop, Mexico
    Mairead Maguire, peace Nobel price laureate, Northern Ireland
    Tariq Ali, writer, Britain
    Ronnie Kasrils, former gov’t minister and author, South Africa
    Hans von Sponeck, retired UN diplomat, university professor, Germany
    Jean Ziegler, author, Switzerland
    Ignacio Ramonet, director Le Monde Diplomatique, Spanish edition, France
    Richard Falk, professor emeritus for int’l law and UN special rapporteur, USA
    Samir Amin, economist, director of the Third World Forum, Senegal
    Cynthia McKinney, former member of Congress and House of Representatives, USA
    Gianni Vattimo, philosopher, Italy
    Immanuel Wallerstein, sociologist, USA
    Etienne Balibar, philosopher, France
    Jan Myrdal, writer, Sweden
    Sami Ramadani, academic and anti-war activist, Britain
    Norman Paech, professor for int’l law, former MP for the “Left”, Germany
    Margherita Hack, astro-physicist, Italy
    Manolis Glezos, resistance fighter against Nazi occupation, Greece
    Walden Bello, MP for “Akbayan”, professor for sociology, Philippines
    Michel Kilo, Democratic Forum, Syria
    Francois Houtart, sociologist of religion and co-founder of the World Social Forum,
    Vicent Garcés, member of the European parliament for “PSOE”, Spain
    Jesus Iglesias Fernández, MP for the “United Left”, Spain
    Werner Ruf, retired university professor, Germany
    Mireille Fanon Mendès-France, journalist and activist, France
    Akın Birdal, former MP and member “People’s Democratic Congress”, Turkey
    Gilberto López y Rivas, social anthropologist, Mexico
    Gretta Duisenberg, “Free Gaza Movement”, “Stop the Occupation”, Netherlands

    List of endorsers:



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  5. Syrian International Conference, Geneva 28-29/1/2013

    “This conference notably acknowledges the existence of the “other opposition” which led the opposition movement against the regime at the beginning of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, and which has subsequently been marginalized by Arab and Western powers who have instead supported those from the Islamic right-wing and neo-liberal approach.

    The Conference organizers believe that the revolution has been kidnapped from its leaders’ hands, assassinated by the dictatorial regime but also by the Counter Revolution and that the image of the Syrian revolution has been greatly distorted in Syrian society and the international community.

    The organisers believe that the civil society uprising has been blockaded by the blind violence and sanctifying glorification of the call to take up arms, and the killing between sons of the same community, which has led to the marginalization of the civil and peaceful movement.”


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