The decision by the US president last night to abrogate, unilaterally, the most celebrated achievement of his predecessor, the nuclear deal with Iran, has been criticised worldwide and caused a major split within the Western political and military alliance. Although the decision had been anticipated, many observers hoped that the lobbying by Germany, France and UK would sway Mr Trump into changing or freezing his antagonistic approach to the deal that had averted a military showdown with Iran. There are now strong feelings of revulsion against the Saudis and Israelis who spent billions in order to influence the American decision and force Trump’s unilateral abrogation of JCPOA. The reverberations of the American decision will continue to rattle the world and could eventually lead to military conflicts. The Saudis and Israelis, as well as the Trump hawkish administration, are seen as responsible for this world political mayhem.
In its editorial on 3rd May The New York Times accused the White House and the Pentagon of “misleading the Americans about growing military involvement in a war in Yemen that we should have nothing to do with.” It said that about a dozen Army commandos have been on Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen since late last year. The commandos are helping to locate and destroy missiles and launch sites used by indigenous Houthi fighters in Yemen to attack Saudi cities. This involvement puts the lie to Pentagon statements that American military aid to the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen is limited to aircraft refueling, logistics and intelligence, and is not related to combat. It said: “When senators at a hearing in March demanded to know whether American troops were at risk of entering hostilities with the Houthis, Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the Central Command, assured them, “We’re not parties to this conflict.”
The human rights world has reacted with anger and indignation at the suggestion by Alkhalifa court in Bahrain dealing with Nabeel Rajab’s case that he faced 14 more cases. The court was considering an appeal against an earlier sentence of five years against Mr Rajab for a tweet criticising the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen. Instead of quashing the illegal sentence, the court raised the spectre of more trumpeted charges against this giant human rights activist.
Palestinians have expressed outrage at teams from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for taking part in the opening legs of the Giro d’Italia cycling race in “Israel” last weekend, which undermined Arab solidarity with their cause. The presence of these two teams, on order from the regimes of the two countries broke a boycott of Israel in place since the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948. In an unusually barbed statement to a fellow Arab country, the Palestinian Olympic Committee said their participation was “a stab in the back to the great sacrifices made by the Palestinian people … and a free service for the occupation.”
As the Royal Windsor Horse Show gets underway, calls for cancellation of the presence of Bahrain’s dictator at the show have escalated. Anti-war activists have openly called for banning the dictator from attending the show alongside the queen as activists plan an open protest outside the show. The Bahraini Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) has lodged legal complaints against three sponsors of the event. In a statement it said: “We want to hold the organizers, HPower Group and the key sponsors (Rolex and Land Rover) accountable for the negative human rights impact of the race and ask them to put in place processes to stop this happening again.” It further added: “…. Hamad of Bahrain should not be a guest of honour at the event while pro-democracy movements are violently suppressed in his own country.” The legal complaint asks the companies involved “to acknowledge the human rights implications of what they are doing, and to put in place human rights policies and engagement processes so that they avoid ‘sportwashing’ foreign despots’ reputations in the future.”
In one of the bleakest assessment of the Bahraini economy under Alkhalifa tribal junta Bloomberg said on 3rd May that the country would join other countries with weak economies like Sudan, Lebanon and Libya. It elaborated: “The smallest oil producer in the Persian Gulf will join Lebanon, Libya and Sudan in 2019 as the only countries in the Middle East and North Africa with debt that exceeds 100 percent of gross domestic product, according to the latest IMF economic outlook.” In order to prevent this bleak prospect Bahrain needs the oil price to exceed $113 per barrel, which is unrealistic for now. Despite this, Bahrain’s dictator continues to plunder the country’s wealth to satisfy his egoistic demands and punish the native Bahraini population. The earlier announcement that the “largest reserve of Shale oil and gas” had been discovered in Bahrain has not helped the regime’s cause. It only led to ridiculing a bankrupt regime whose policies have been directed to beg financial support from neighbouring countries. In this quest the dictator has ceased the sovereignty to a multitude of foreign powers. The announcement did not help the regime’s reputation or its prospect of better economic and political achievements.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
9th May 2018 (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.vob.org)