Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'US will lose Bahrainis for good'

King al-Khalifa (L) of Bahrain and Saudi king Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who together have isolated 70% of bahrain's population through brutal force

Source: Press TV

Coexistence between the US' Fifth Fleet and the Bahraini people will never be the same following the United States' green light for the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi and other foreign forces.

Security has tightened even more since the people of Bahrain were forced off the streets by the foreign military contingents and Bahraini army. Some Bahrainis have started a mass hunger strike in protest at the recent brutalities in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

Press TV has interviewed Husain Abdulla, a human rights activist in Alabama, to discuss the latest developments. The following is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: The situation in Bahrain seems to be getting worse by the day. Intimidation has driven people away from the street protests; however, for funerals people are still trying to turn out and they are paying for that by losing their jobs and risking injury and arrest. Can you comment on the situation and what has to happen to change the status quo there?

Husain Abdulla: As you indicated the situation in Bahrain is deteriorating further. The number of arrests is increasing by the day. Virtually there is no human rights defender left in the country bar a small handful. Political opposition leaders are either in prison or missing or have been killed.

The brutality is unheard of including attacks on women; even pregnant students have been ejected from their Universities. So many have lost jobs, students have lost scholarships - the situation in Bahrain shows the real face of American foreign policy. It shows the brutality and disregard of human life.

We always see the bias of American foreign policy when it comes to the Israeli and Palestinian issue, but we never expected it to reach a similar level for Bahrain.

Obama's administration has clearly indicated that when it comes to human rights in Bahrain they could care less; they haven't raised a voice or raised an issue.

And the plan is to suppress the movement in Bahrain. The plan is to crackdown so hard that people must give up and stop protesting and then maybe there is a plan 'B', which is probably why senior diplomats from the US are visiting Bahrain.

However, the message from the people is, “Yes, you don't see the protest as big as it was a month or two ago; you don't see the massive number of people on the streets, but it is not over”. The government has made it so difficult now for it to coexist with the people. So many families in Bahrain have lost so much; I can't imagine how they will live under a country ruled by the al-Khalifa regime from this point on.

Press TV: You said that the US over Bahrain has shown its true face with this continued suppression thinking that this would break the back of the opposition. But how likely is that - as time goes on and the techniques become more violent and more difficult while the resolve of the people is getting greater and greater?

Husain Abdulla: The Obama administration has miscalculated the situation in Bahrain. They have lost the people of Bahrain for good. I don't think the people of Bahrain have any warm feeling toward the US, not a shred of amicable feeling is left. They have miscalculated greatly thinking that by supporting the Saudi/Bahraini crackdown on the opposition they would eventually make the people silent or push them into a corner where they will accept any kind of political solution thrown at them.

Whatever the Bahraini people had gained in the last ten years has evaporated. So probably the next step we will see is the Bahraini government through the US offer some kind of political solution to get out of this quagmire that will not be even close to the rights the people had ten years ago.

So the message will be that if you the people had not risen up you would have been in much better shape, but because of your actions now you have less rights and less freedom than what you started with.

They want to make Bahrain an example for the region. What they are miscalculating is the resiliency of the people of Bahrain. They might be silent for the time being, but this is a ticking bomb for a much bigger revolution that could come at any time. I can assure that my people will never give up.

Press TV: How do you see the situation from the beginning - if the government had not come down so hard on the protesters initially when they were merely asking for some reform or even a constitutional monarchy?

It seems that because of the way the government has cracked down on the protesters the people now want a total regime change. In the miscalculation you talk about do you think they have radicalized the demands of the people?

Husain Abdulla: You are absolutely right. Right now those who did not even participate in the political uprising don't want to even hear the name al-Khalifa anymore. They have isolated 70% of the population who cannot see themselves living under the roof of al-Khalifa.

They attacked mosques and other worship places; they attacked hospitals and patients; they basically left not a shred of hope that there would be coexistence between the ruling family and majority of the people in Bahrain.

Press TV: In mainstream Western media we hear of the role of Iran in the Bahrain situation. The latest news now is that Persian Gulf troops will stay indefinitely in Bahrain as a counter to perceived threats from Iran. What's your take on that?

Husain Abdulla: Basically, they are saying that Bahrain will be occupied forever. There is a great fear, an unfounded fear without a shred of evidence, that somehow Iran is the reason behind the uprising in Bahrain. The people of Bahrain have made it clear that they don't need the intervention of Iran or the intervention of Saudi Arabia or the GCC countries. The uprising is local, it's indigenous, it has had its grievances for some time, it's historic, and the people have certain demands that were not addressed through the proper channels so they sought to street protest to bring them up.

For the troops to stay in Bahrain it is a way to intimidate and to threaten those who would even think about going back onto the streets and protesting because basically what will happen is they will be killed, arrested, tortured, or they will go missing.

Press TV: The interest of the US with their fifth fleet in Bahrain have officially not condemned the violence in Bahrain. Do you see this situation backfiring on them or hurting their interests in respect of the hypocrisy of their decisions? That is, inconsistent foreign policy decisions throughout the region; Libya, Yemen, and in Bahrain.

Husain Abdulla: There is a fear among the US and other Western countries that somehow democracy is going to threaten their interests. Somehow if the people chose their leaders it would not be good for the US fifth fleet. Somehow if Bahrain had a real legislative parliament that has the power to legislate and rule that this is against US and British interests in Bahrain. These claims are unfounded. There is no way that a democratic Bahrain could be a threat to US interests - it is a shortsighted view from the US and other Western countries that somehow democracy would threaten their interests.

Democracy is the only way to preserve Western interests in the region whether in Bahrain or Yemen or other countries. Because when you have a democracy you have a political process, which is based on transparency; where people don't wish to revolt; where there is real stability, not fake stability.

Right now Bahrain is in fake stability because you have a gun to the head of the people. This is providing the ground for greater revolution that will bring radicalization

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