For over a year, Saudi and Al-Khalifa monarchy security forces terrorized nonviolent protesters. Thousands braved tear gas, beatings, rubber bullets, live fire, arrests, torture and disappearances.
Washington’s very much involved. Bahrain’s the home of America’s Fifth Fleet. Millions of dollars in aid’s provided. So are weapons, including armored vehicles, bunker buster missiles, wire-guided ones, and more. A Pentagon statement said:
“[They’ll] improve Bahrain’s capability to meet current and future armored threats. Bahrain will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.”
In fact, Bahrain faces no external threats. Except for Western/Israeli-targeted Syria, Iran, and Lebanon, neither do other Middle East states. Yet Washington’s selling fighters, missiles, and other advanced weapons to regional allies.
In late December, a Saudi F-15 fighter deal was announced worth nearly $30 billion. Other plans include Iraq weapons sales worth around $11 billion. Israelis, of course, get billions of dollars in aid annually, including America’s most advanced weapons and technology. At the same time, Washington’s belligerently expanding its Middle East footprint.
Thousands of Iraqi troops remain. Others were repositioned. Kuwait contingents increased. Libyan bases are planned, and close ties continue with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and other regional states for future air, ground, and naval combat missions.
Notably, Bahraini activists published photos showing US troops training state security forces in crackdown tactics. In addition, former New York/Philadelphia/Miami Police chief John Timoney’s involved.
Occupy Miami organizer Mohammed Malik told Press TV he’s currently training Bahraini forces. His record includes repressive crackdowns against Miami global justice protesters, Philadelphia ones at the 2000 Republican National Convention, and other brutality in New York. For years, he terrorized city residents where he worked.
On February 16, London Guardian writer Ryan Devereaux headlined, “John Timoney: the notorious police chief sent to ‘reform’ forces in Bahrain,” saying:
For three decades, he was New York City police chief before heading up Philadelphia and Miami departments. He was hired along with former UK assistant top cop John Yates.
Timoney critics cite years of “police abuse, illegal infiltration tactics, fear-mongering, and a blatant disregard for freedom of expression.”
His methods include “pepper spray, rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, Tasers, electrified shields, batons,” beatings, and mass arrests. Florida ACLU executive director Howard Simon called his Bahrain presence “extremely unsettling. I’m concerned for the people of Bahrain with Timoney directing how police there are controlling crowds.”
On February 15, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) said brutal crackdowns continue. Saudi and Bahraini security forces attack nonviolent protesters daily. Stun grenades, shotguns, water cannons, and tear gas are used. When fired in closed places, it’s asphyxiating.
On February 7, six US citizens were arrested. Held in police custody for days, they were deported in handcuffs for the duration of their Bahrain/London flight.
On February 17, Press TV reported “a fierce overnight crackdown on anti-regime protesters across several regions of the country.” Manama, Daih, Ma’ameer, Sitra, Sehla and other areas were attacked.
Earlier in the day, police used water cannons against thousands protesting a teenage boy’s death. In Jidd Hafs, he died of severe burns inflicted while demonstrating peacefully.
Women were also assaulted. Homes were raided. Since February 2011 protests erupted, mass arrests, deaths, torture, imprisonments, and other abuses followed.
On February 17, Amnesty International (AI) issued an “urgent action” for “scores” of activists arrested on February 14, saying:
Police attacked, beat and arrested them. Their faces and legs showed signs of abuse. In custody, families have no contact with loved ones. Authorities freely torture and inflict other forms of abuse.
On February 17, Human Rights First said Mahdi Abu Deeb and Jaleela Al Saman (Bahrain Teachers Association president and vice president) will appeal their lawless military court convictions for protesting peacefully.
In custody, they were “tortured and ultimately convicted of unfounded charges and sentenced to prison by the discredited Bahrain military court.” Hundreds of others faced the same abuse.
“Bahrain’s crackdown and these baseless prosecutions continue as the United States considers a new military transfer to Bahrain.”
Obama’s moving swiftly to approve it instead of condemning state terror.
Bahrain’s a valued ally. While hypocritically vilifying Assad for confronting Western-backed insurgents, Washington facilitates Al-Khalifi brutality.
A Final Comment
In summer 2010, sporadic protests began. Since mid-February 2011, major ones erupted. Thousands of Bahrainis challenged repressive Al-Khalifa rule nonviolently. Anti-government demonstrations continue daily.
In mid-March, Saudi forces invaded guns blazing. With Bahraini police, they’ve terrorize protesters repressively, including women, children, doctors, journalists, human rights activists, and foreign observers.
On February 13, 2012, Bahrain chief of public security General Tariq Al-Hassan said police presence would continue to confront “unlawful or violent acts of sabotage” even though none whatever are committed.
Despite extreme security force brutality, Bahrainis remain scrupulously nonviolent. Nonetheless, they’re brutally attacked. Minority Sunnis violate majority Shia rights. Bahrainis demand change. The monarchy yields nothing. Washington extends support.
King Hamad blames Iran for fomenting protests. So do Saudis for growing unrest in the kingdom. Heightened tensions suggest likely belligerent intervention ahead. At issue is replacing Tehran’s government with a repressive pro-Western one like in Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab League states.
Throughout the region, Washington backs state terror to achieve it. It’s official policy for unchallenged regional dominance, no matter the body count, vast destruction and human misery.
About the author: Stephen Lendman writes on topics of international importance such as war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions and other socio-economic and political issues. He is also the author of ‘How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War’ and the co-author (along with J. J. Asongu) of ‘The Iraq Quagmire: The Price of Imperial Arrogance’. A former marketing research analyst, Lendman also hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour (on the Progressive Radio Network, Thursdays at 10:00 AM & Saturdays/Sundays at noon, US Central Time), that features cutting-edge interviews with distinguished guests. Click here to visit his blog.