STATEMENTS

Three summits expose Saudi isolation, Khalifis confirm 10th death sentence

Within three days the Saudis held three “summits” in Mecca to mobilise support for its aggressive policy towards Iran. Between Thursday and Saturday last week, the holy city of Mecca was venue for three high-level meetings called for by the Saudis; one for GCC heads of state, another for the Arab rulers and the third was the 14th summit of the Islamic Cooperation Organisation. The Saudi attempt to get approval for their policy failed drastically. They wanted those leaders to mobilise forces against the Yemenis for sending a drone to attack several of their oil installations and Iran in order to urge the Trump administration to wage military action against the Islamic Republic. The only outcome was a declaration that “Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself”. Then came the Qataris who exposed the Saudi frantic attempts to distort the situation and issue declarations that had not been openly discussed at any of these meetings. They questioned the wisdom of the Saudi policy towards Iran and called on the leaders to agree on principles to direct the Arab-Iran relations. A barrage of criticism of Qatar by the Saudi media followed, which further exposed Saudi weakness and isolation.

France’s weapons sales to Saudi Arabia rose 50 percent in 2018 despite the government calling for an end to the “dirty war” in Yemen, figures released this week showed. An annual government report showed that total arms sales rose 30 percent to 9.1 billion euros in 2018, driven by a sharp increase in sales to European allies. France sold about 1 billion euros worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, with the main item being patrol boats. A partial naval blockade of ports controlled by the Houthi movement is one of the tactics used by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that has been criticised by campaigners for a worsening humanitarian crisis. “With such transfers revealing a geopolitical alliance with these regimes and total violation of international commitments, one can only expect worsening conflicts in Yemen or the Horn of Africa, where the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are beginning to redeploy in partnership with France,” said Tony Fortin at the Paris-based Observatory for Armamanent.

Yesterday, Amnesty International issued a short video to highlight the plight of a Saudi woman activist from the Eastern Province. The action was to mark one year of detention of the mother of three who had campaigned for women rights, to lift the ban on women driving and to remove the oppressive guardianship system that belittles the status of women. For almost six months she has been held in solitary confinement with no family visits. Amnesty has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Mrs Al Sadah.

On 3rd June Khalifi courts upheld the tenth capital punishment on native Bahraini young man, Moosa Abdulla. The same court sentenced eight others to 15 years, two to five years and two to three years. It also revoked their nationality. The other confirmed death sentences were passed on Hussain Marhoon, Sayed Mohammad Bahashti, Hussain Dawood, Ahmad Mohammad Zain AlDin, Hussain Abdulla, Zuhair Ibrahim, Mohammad Mahdi, Ali Al Arab and Ahmad Al Malali.

Khalifi dictators have intensified their repression by issuing more draconian rules and laws. They have warned citizens and residents that following anti-government social media accounts could result in legal action, hardening a government campaign against critical online voices. The interior ministry sent text messages to Bahraini phones late last week warning that “following accounts which are biased or incite discord could expose you to legal liability”. The government had said in mid-May that “promoting” views on such accounts would result in legal measures being taken, but singling out the specific act of following critical accounts for legal action is a new development. On Thursday 30th May the Khalifis tweeted that following and circulating “inflammatory” social media accounts that promote “sedition” would expose people to legal liabilities. “Closing them immediately is a national duty,” it said.

The Khalifi initiative to hold an economic workshop titled “Prosperity for Peace” has been widely criticized and rejected by the Bahraini people. It seeks to normalize the relations with Israel, undermine the proposed Palestinian state and legitimize the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Bahrainis dedicated some of their protests to express support for the Palestinian people and condemn the regime’s irresponsible initiative. From the early hours of Friday 31st May Bahraini youth engaged in protests in various parts of the country. Protesters defied regimes forces and marched in the towns of Karzakkan, AlMalikiya, Karbabad, Aali, AlMusalla, Abu Saiba and Al Shakhoura. There were several protests in the heart of Manama, the capital against the treacherous policies of the Alkhaifa dictators. Other protests erupted in Bilad Al Qadeem, Tubli, Al Maqsha, Samaheej and Al Ma’amir. A wave of arrests followed and more torture has been reported.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

5th June 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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