STATEMENTS

Trump continues to siphon Saudi wealth; four Bahrainis executed at sea

The US visit by the Saudi crown prince this week has been condemned by many quarters inside the United States amid calls to cancel it. Inside Saudi Arabia itself there is great disappointment as the US continued its support to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) who has intensified his crackdown against activists and jailed anyone who criticised his ill-fated war on Yemen. There are also fears that the visit may jeopardise the scheduled meeting in Washington arranged by Mr Trump with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The US mediation appears to have come too late to solve the crisis caused by MBS and Mohammad bin Zayed who wanted to crush Qatar for its refusal to tow their destructive policies in the region. MBS is worried that the visit may not go in his favour as the Qataris rejected his ultimatums and blunted his empty threats, thus crushing the Saudi credibility. Mr Trump has not hidden his delight that MBS had come to sign the first major deal of $110 billions, as part of the $450 billion imposed by Mr Trump on Saudi Arabia last year. In his meeting with MBS he said: Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation, and they’re going to give the United States some of that wealth.

The arms deal was signed despite rising opposition to continued American support of Saudi Arabia in its aggression on Yemen. Yesterday in the Senate a bipartisan effort to end US involvement in a bloody, three-year war in Yemen failed in a close vote on Tuesday afternoon. A disparate group of senators — Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) — drafted and introduced the resolution to stop America’s support for the bloodshed. “This is one of the great humanitarian disasters of our time,” Sanders told Vox last week. But the GOP-controlled Senate voted to table — that is, kill — the resolution that says America shouldn’t assist Saudi Arabia in its three-year fight against the Yemeni people. By a 55-44 margin, a majority of Republicans and some Democrats effectively said the US can still help Riyadh, by refueling its planes and providing intelligence in the Saudi’s brutal air campaign.

Last week, Bahrain’s regime acknowledged that its forces had opened fire on a boat carrying four Bahrainis and “forced it to flee to Iranian waters”. Their bodies were subsequently found and buried in Iran. The last was that of Hassan Al Bahraini, found and buried last week. This is tantamount to extra-judicial killing.

On 18th March the French newspaper, Le Monde, published an article titled: Bahrain: critical economic situation that may force government to concede to the opposition after seven years of oppression”. The article described the crisis starting in 2007 with torture, travel ban, revocation of nationality and death sentences. The article said that Bahrain would have become another Kuwait if the ruler had not resorted to these measures. It said that Bahrain is now threatened with bankruptcy. The oil revenues have dropped 80 percent and the government accumulated debts of 10 billion Bahraini Dinar (about 21.50 billion Euros).

Calls are mounting for the Brazilian government to stop supplying Alkhalifa regime with tear gas canisters that are being used as weapons against the people. Several protests were made in Brazil by human rights activists as several serious injuries were reported in the protests marking the seventh anniversary of the Saudi military incursion into Bahrain. One family almost suffocated in Sitra when regime forces fired tear and chemical gases inside their house. Several people were killed in the past with these “weapons”. In November 2015 the Brazilian government blocked an independent investigation by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) into the ethicality of a Brazilian company’s tear gas exports to Bahrain. The decision, made by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came after Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) requested that Brazil’s National Contact Point of the OECD investigate the business relationship between Bahrain and Condor Non-Lethal Technologies.

On Sunday 18th March native Bahraini cleric, Sheikh Hani Al Bazzaz, was arrested and taken to the torture cells by masked members of Alkhalifa Death Squads. His house was raided in a cruel way causing extensive damage to his personal property. He is accused of taking part in a peaceful protest in 2011. Mrs Hajer Mansoor, the mother-in-law of Bahraini activist, Sayed Ahmad Al Wadaei has started hunger strike to protest the inhumane treatment at her prison cell. She is one of ten Bahraini women languishing behind bars for opposing Alkhalifa tribal dictatorial regime. She has not been allowed proper medical treatment, sanitation or contact with her juvenile son, also in jail. In the early hours of this morning, masked members of Alkhalifa Death Squads raided several homes in Duraz Town and snatched young natives. Duraz has been under siege for 20 months as a revenge for standing by Ayatullah Sheikh Isa Qassim, the most senior religious figure in the country who represents the majority of the population.  Citizens spend hours when they return to their town from outside the zone. Out of six entry points to the town only two are open. They are manned by heavily-armed mercenaries who routinely humiliate the natives.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

21st March 2018 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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