Bahrain’s rich rulers make poor people poorer

This is a 2009 music video on poverty in Bahrain.

While there is ‘more than enough’ money in Bahrain for the extremely rich royal family … for big profits for multinational oil corporations … and for helping the Saudi Arabian government‘s bloody war in Yemen and to buy weapons in Britain and elsewhere for that war and for attacking peaceful Bahraini demonstrators

From Human Rights First in the USA:

January 20, 2016

Bahrain Economy Struggles with Oil Price

By Leah Schulz

Last week the Bahraini cabinet announced it was raising the country’s price of gasoline for the first time in 33 years. The price of regular gasoline rose from 20 cents per liter to 33 cents while the price of super gasoline jumped from 27 cents per liter to 42—a staggering 60 percent increase.

The decision sparked outcry even from members of Bahrain’s mostly pro-government parliament. “The decision will make the poor poorer. We demand an improvement to people’s standard of living, and what the government did yesterday will not achieve that,” said MP Jamal Dawood.

No one is disputing that declining oil prices have hurt Bahrain’s economy. Revenues from oil sales provide about 70 percent of the country’s annual budget. For Bahrain to fiscally break even, the price per oil barrel must be around $120, according to international credit agency Fitch in 2015. Today the price hovers below $30.

While Bahrain has little control over the world’s falling oil prices, their drastic price decrease is not the only reason for the country’s economic decline. Bahrain’s failure to achieve a political resolution of the country’s ongoing crisis plays a major role.

The government’s violent crackdown on the pro-democracy protests of early 2011 led to an ongoing volatile environment. This strains the country’s economy by driving away potential foreign investment. In December of 2015, Fitch revised Bahrain’s rating from stable to negative, citing falling oil prices and a failure to address the political situation. While Fitch does not anticipate improving Bahrain’s rating any time soon, factors that could lead to a more positive evaluation include “a broadly accepted political solution that eases political unrest.” …

Moody’s and Fitch are correct that underlying issues from 2011 plague the country today. In response to the 2011 protests, the regime imprisoned and in many cases tortured those who led the call for change. The government continues to stifle peaceful dissent and has failed to implement most reforms recommended in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). As a result of the stalled political cooperation, problems of sectarianism and inequality are pushing Bahrain further and further away from becoming a stable and inclusive society.

The economic toll from this failure to reform is likely to grow worse.

A stable, prosperous Bahrain cannot emerge until the regime addresses the grievances that sparked the 2011 protests. The longer the discontent remains unresolved, the more unpredictable the outcome for U.S. national interests. For fiscal year 2016 the United States allocated $3.5 million for Bahrain in Economic Support Funds (ESF) for “programs and activities to promote reconciliation, democratic reform, and adherence to international human rights and labor rights standards in Bahrain.” Unless the Bahrain government reverses course, one shouldn’t expect much return on this investment.

Pressure is building on Asian Football Confederation president and world soccer body FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa to respond with chapter and verse to allegations that he played a role in the detention and abuse of athletes during the 2011 popular uprising in his native Bahrain. The revolt was brutally squashed with the help of Saudi troops: here.

Bahrain must end harassment of human rights defender Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman. IFEX members and other groups from around the world urge the government of Bahrain to respect the rights of internationally renowned interfaith leader and human rights advocate: here.

We, the undersigned NGOs, call on the Bahraini authorities to lift the arbitrary travel ban on human rights defender Nabeel Rajab in order that he be able to travel abroad with his family for the purpose of securing medical assistance for his wife, Sumaya Rajab: here.

Concern controversial UK naval base in Bahrain is “too shallow” for aircraft carriers: here.

The Government Is Selling Weapons In Bahrain Today But You Probably Didn’t Know About It. The country has attracted criticism for its appalling human rights record, but that hasn’t stopped Britain doing business with it: here.

3 thoughts on “Bahrain’s rich rulers make poor people poorer

  1. Pingback: Bahrain absolute monarchy news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Bahrain torture and football news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Bahraini jihadists lure young Indians to death for ISIS | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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