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Bahrain versus Syria. Who gets the west's attention and resources?
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
The violent turmoil in Syria and Bahrain over the past year, taken together, provides a sharp comparative case study of the deception and hypocrisy of Western governments and the mainstream media.

It also points up the nefarious role of the pro-Western Arab states, in particular the Persian Gulf monarchies headed by Saudi Arabia.

Last week marked an exact anniversary for Syria and Bahrain. On the 15 March 2011, Syria saw the beginning of an armed insurgency described as "anti-government protests" in the Southern city of Daraa, on the border with Jordan. While the state forces of President Bashar Al Assad responded ruthlessly, from the outset it was clear that the anti-government "protesters" were heavily armed and well organised.

The events in Syria mirrored those in Libya, where opposition groups were also heavily armed and ready to use violence from the outset. In both Syria and Libya, the apparent protests were distinctly different from those seen in most other Arab countries, such as Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Bahrain, where there was a groundswell of popular opposition to the incumbent Western-backed regimes and where dissent was largely peaceful.

This key difference can be explained because Western powers and their proxies, such as Israel, Turkey and the Gulf Arab states, were instrumental in arming and directing the supposed anti-government opposition in both Syria and Libya.

Special forces from NATO powers Britain and France were, tellingly, active on the ground from the get-go, lending their expertise in techniques of sabotage and terrorism.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were also instrumental in driving events in Syria and Libya, providing financial support, weapons, covert fighters and strident diplomatic backing for the self-styled "transitional councils". In the instance of Libya, NATO's involvement was scaled up to a full-blown aerial bombing campaign to assist the so-called rebels on the ground. Such overt NATO aggression has not yet transpired in the case of Syria, but it is a contingency that Western governments are only shying away from for now out of political calculation.

To get back to Syria's comparative twin in this case study, Bahrain, the Persian Gulf kingdom also saw an upsurge in violence on the 15 March 2011 but for markedly different reasons. In the month prior to that date, Bahrain had witnessed a truly mass uprising against the Al Khalifa monarchy.

Peaceful demonstrations in the capital, Manama, drew crowds of up to 300,000 nearly half the indigenous population of the tiny oil-rich kingdom. The protest movement against the US-backed autocratic Sunni rulers had set up a permanent peace camp near the financial district of the capital. After four weeks of peaceful rallies calling for the downfall of the monarchy, the Bahraini uprising was ruthlessly attacked by the combined state forces of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other members of the so-called Gulf Peninsula Shield Force which had crossed the King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The military invasion to crush a civilian pro-democracy movement one that was merely calling for an elected government to replace the decades-long dictatorship of the Al Khalifa dynasty was given the green light by both Washington and London. [1]

Of the many tragic ironies in this case study, perhaps the one that takes the dubious laurels for notoriety is the role of Saudi Arabia. Here we have the most repressive regime in the world: a ruthless, absolute monarchy ruled by the decrepit Al Saud family that has brutally crushed peaceful pro-democracy protests over the past year in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and elsewhere in its oil-rich Eastern Province. Across the 25-kilometre causeway in Bahrain, Saudi-backed troops have subjected the unarmed civilian population to unrelenting violence over 12 months. Every night, Bahraini villages are smothered in teargas fired by Saudi troops and Bahraini mercenary police recruited with foreign Sunni expatriates. [2] [3] Proportionate to its population, the toll of Bahraini civilians killed at the hands of pro-regime forces runs into thousands comparable to that of Syria. However, in Syria, the death toll includes some 50 per cent of victims from state military who have been combating an armed opposition that is equipped and fomented by Saudi Arabia, among several other foreign powers, including NATO.

Nevertheless, the unelected and widely reviled regime in Bahrain continues to enjoy unblemished membership of the Arab League. By contrast, Syria's Bashar Al Assad government which appears to have popular support has had its membership of the Arab League suspended a sanction that was vehemently drummed up by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf dictatorships that invaded Bahrain to extirpate a popular, peaceful pro-democracy movement. Nauseatingly, the royal despots of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar have made bombastic calls for the secular government of Syria to step down and give way to political reforms in the face of violence that has been fuelled in part by these despots.

The temptation to award Saudi Arabia the dubious laurels for hypocrisy and deception must be resisted, however. Reprehensible and disgusting though it is, the Al Saud regime still does not come close to Washington, London and their Western allies, including the mainstream media, for their utter cynicism.

Bashar Al Assad is roundly denounced by Obama, Clinton, Cameron and Hague; while Bahrain's King Hamad Al Khalifa is given the red-carpet treatment in Washington and London, and roundly praised as "an important ally".

Co-conspirators with Saudi Arabia, the Western powers and their propaganda machine have unleashed a violent conflict in Syria and branded it a "popular uprising" part of a heroic, Western-romanticized Arab Spring. [4] In reality, the events in Syria are a squalid fabrication, not unlike those in Libya, designed to serve the cynical geopolitical interests of the Western imperial powers in the world's oil-well region. The disposal of Al Assad's Syria, a non-vassal state, is a key prize for the Western imperialists and their Arab stooges. Clarion calls to Syria for democracy and human rights are sickeningly hollow and baseless and designed to create a pretext for illicit regime change.

How do we know? Because Bahrain is the Litmus test for credibility. In the kingdom of Bahrain where a true pro-democracy Arab Spring is actually struggling to bear fruit, the Western powers, their media and their tyrannical Arab proxies have done everything to kill it, bury it and to forget it.

Finian Cunningham is Global Research's Middle East and East Africa Correspondent






"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
[TABLE="width: 0"]
[TD]Syrians and Bahrainis are both victims of Saudi state terrorism

Islam Times - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is without doubt the biggest state sponsor of so called "Islamic" terrorism in the world...
[TD]Author :[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: initial"]Mohamed Omar[/TD]
[Image: n00147124-b.jpg]
The only allowed interpretation of Islam in the Kingdom is Wahhabism. All other interpretations of both Sunni and Shiite Islam are deemed "heretical". The ideology of Al-Qaida stems from Wahhabism, not from mainstream Sunni or Shiite Islam.

For years the Saudi regime sponsored terrorism in Iraq killing scores of Muslims considered "heretics" by the Wahhabis and practically eliminating the Christian community. We must not forget that terrorism is part of the teachings of Wahhabism. Ever since the foundation of the sect in the 18th century it has promoted terror against all other Muslims and all other faiths.
The Wahhabi culture and the Wahhabi mentality nurture terrorism. If terrorism was to be removed from Wahhabism it would no longer be Wahhabism! Statistics confirms that majority of suicide bombers captured or killed in Iraq were either Saudi nationals or natives of other countries who had studied in Saudi Arabia or in other ways adopted the Wahhabi world view.

The Saudi regime has now shifted its focus from Iraq to Syria. It is actively involved in funding and arming terrorist groups in Syria in order to topple the government of Dr Bashar al-Assad. It uses its global religious influence to incite people against the government calling for "jihad". To the Wahhabis this is a religious war against Muslim "heretics" just like the wars of the founder of the sect, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, in the 18th century. The Syrian people are victims of Wahhabi terrorism.

The people of Bahrain have experienced a more conventional invasion by Saudi troops while the Syrians are suffering from Saudi terrorism through proxies like the so called "Free Syrian Army". Car bombings in Damascus and Aleppo serve to intimidate the people. The Iraqi example however, has showed that terrorism doesn't work. The Saudi regime did not gain anything. A lot of lives were sacrificed for nothing.

There are several reasons for this Saudi state sponsored terrorism. Plain religious fanaticism is one reason. The Wahhabi factor. Another reason is that Saudi Arabia, as an American client state, does its part in the American policy of undermining the axis of resistance from Beirut to Tehran via Damascus. The Islamic republic of Iran, the leader of this axis, is a Shiite state and Shiism is the main ideological force permeating the axis of resistance. Therefore it is in the interest of the US and Israel to weaken Shiism and its ability to reach out to the wider Sunni world. The official sect of Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, is vehemently hostile to Shiism, which makes it an excellent tool for the Zionists in pursuing their anti-Iran, i.e., anti-resistance policies. So here we have the Wahhabi factor again, as a tool rather than motivator.

I agree with Al-Jazeera and Western media outlets that there is a "massacre" going on in Syria. But the massacres are committed by Wahhabi terrorists and mercenaries, not by the government. The perpetrators are the same here as in Iraq and in Bahrain. In Bahrain we have a genuine, popular revolution against a tyrannical Zionist puppet. In Syria on the other hand we are witnessing an unpopular counter revolution, orchestrated by Israel, some Western regimes, and the Wahhabi dictatorships of the Persian Gulf.

Mohamed Omar is a Swedish freelance writer
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

Attached Files
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"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Magda Hassan Wrote:[ATTACH=CONFIG]3755[/ATTACH]

Great picture. Sums up everything.
By Finian Cunningham / Global Research, March 22, 2012 / URL of this article:

Quote:Bahrain's disgraceful show trial of medical staff is set to continue, with news this week that 20 doctors and nurses are to be retried in a civilian court on trumped-up charges of subversion against the US-backed regime.

The medics were already sentenced by a military tribunal (a military tribunal!) to up to 15 years in prison after months of being held in illegal detention, denied legal counsel and subjected to torture.

Moving their case to a civilian court is presumably meant to signal a concession by the regime. But what it illustrates is that the Al Khalifa royal rulers of Bahrain are unreconstructed despots who are implacably set against accepting any kind of democratic reform.
The persecution of the majority Shia population 70 per cent of the island by an unelected Sunni elite is business as usual as epitomized by the vindictive targeting of medics whose only "crime" was that they treated hundreds of people injured in the state's brutal crackdown against the pro-democracy movement.
Recently, Washington has been doing its PR best to present the monarchy in the Persian Gulf kingdom as being belatedly open to reform this after a year of unrelenting repression against a largely peaceful pro-democracy uprising.
Bahraini grassroots activists are concerned that sections of the official opposition belonging to the Shia Al Wefaq political society are being groomed by the US State Department to accept a "compromise deal" with the royal rulers that would effectively see the monarchy remaining in power and the status quo merely being given a facelift.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has been praised in the US corporate media for overseeing "brave" moves towards political power-sharing and dialogue with the mainly Shia-led opposition.
Washington's envoy on human rights Michael Posner and former national security advisor Elliott Abrams have talked up "important steps" by the Bahraini regime towards reform.
However, no amount of Washington spinning can conceal the facts of life: that the US-backed Bahraini regime will continue violating human rights and international law in order to maintain its stranglehold hold on political and economic power at the expense of the Shia majority.
For 280 years, the Sunni rulers, who invaded the country from neighbouring Qatar, have sat on the chests of the indigenous Shia, and they are not going to give up their privileged seats of comfort. The Al Khalifa dynasty has enriched itself through graft and corruption while the majority of Bahrainis struggle with unemployment and poverty.
The oil wealth of the tiny island has lined the pockets of the Al Khalifas, but for the ordinary Shia it has brought poverty, pollution and sickness. To add insult to injury, when the mainly Shia-led uprising last February peacefully demanded elected government to replace the unelected venal family dynasty, it was met with batons, bullets and brutality, with thousands incarcerated or fired from their jobs, several tortured to death while in prison.
Historically, to maintain this excruciating state of inequality, the Bahraini rulers developed a system of governance and state security apparatus that is "bullet-proof to reform". Under American and British tutelage, the Bahraini rulers became adept at presenting the kingdom as a relatively benign monarchy. They may have acquired the modern semantics and appearance of political progressivism, such as referring to the kingdom as a constitutional monarchy with a (rigged) parliament instead of an absolute monarchy as in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf sheikhdoms. But not far below the surface, Bahrain's institutionalized despotism was always the dominant reality.
For example, the kingdom's prime minister is 78-year-old Prince Khalifa Al Khalifa, the uncle of the incumbent king. He is the world's longest sitting prime minister, having first occupied the post in 1971 when Bahrain gained nominal independence from Britain. Prime Minister Khalifa also known locally as Mr Fifty-Fifty has never faced an electorate and is notorious for siphoning off Bahrain's oil wealth to become one of the richest men in the world.
For decades, despite glamorous images of mirrored skyscrapers and Formula One Grand Prix, Bahrain has been run with an ironclad National Security Agency. The agency was, and is, a veritable "torture apparatus" headed up by members of the royal family and assisted in its nefarious conduct by ex-colonial power Britain.
Between 1968-98, the main architect of the NSA and its sectarian methods of repression against the Shia population was British colonel Sir Ian Henderson. Henderson, who had previously gained British government commendation for his role in efficiently, that is brutally, suppressing the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya during the 1950s-60s, oversaw the detention and torture of thousands of Bahrainis held for years without trial in the dungeons of Bahrain.
Former detainees told Global Research that one of Henderson's sadistic methods of interrogation was to force them to sit naked on upright glass bottles, the necks of which had been roughly broken off to leave protruding jagged points. The detainees told how Henderson personally oversaw the torture of inmates.
Today, the British influence on Bahrain's NSA continues. One of Bahrain's senior police chiefs is Briton John Yates, formerly of Scotland Yard; another senior police chief is American John Timoney, who formerly ran the force in Miami, Florida. Both men have reputations of corruption and brutality from their previous commands.
Bahrain's institutionalized despotism under a family dynasty is backed up with a military and police force whose ranks are filled by foreign expatriate Sunnis recruited from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Jordan. The regime forces serve their Sunni masters with a vicious hatred towards the Shia population.
This fact is attested by the daily and nightly attacks on Shia villages by Saudi-backed regime forces, with massive amounts of tear gas fired into streets and homes. At least 25 people have died from suffocation with tear gas over the past year since Saudi-led forces invaded Bahrain to crush the uprising. The victims range from a five-day-old baby girl to elderly men and women who are too weak or infirmed to escape from their smoke-filled homes.
In the past week, mourners attending the funerals for two men who died from tear gas exposure were themselves attacked by riot police who proceeded to fire more tear gas.
So, on the one hand, we see the Bahraini rulers wearing a velvet glove offering "dialogue" and "reforms", with Washington and London providing the positive-sounding script; while on the other hand, what is felt is an iron-fist smashing down the doors of homes, firing tear gas into houses, dragging suspects away in the middle of the night, detaining them without trial and torturing to death.
And this is all happening in a supposed new era of reformism and dialogue in Bahrain that Washington assures is underway.
The continued persecution of the Bahraini medics is another fact on the ground to demonstrate the despotic nature of Washington and London's "important ally" in the Persian Gulf.
The medics were sentenced for up to 15 years by a military court last September on a range of outlandish charges, including "attempting to overthrow the government" and "spreading defamatory information" about the royal rulers.
That verdict caused international protests from human rights groups, who denounced it as a travesty of legal procedure, not least because the sole basis for the prosecution were the confessions of the defendants confessions that were obtained under torture.
Then, as now, the response from Washington and other Western governments and media was muted.
The medics include world-renowned surgeons Ali Al Ekri and Ghassan Dhaif and his wife, Zahra, and brother and sister, Bassim and Nada. Also sentenced was Rula Al Suffar, the former head of Bahrain's Nursing Society. These are individuals of impeccable medical professionalism and ethics, who refused to close the doors of Bahrain's main public hospital, Al Salmaniya, when the regime began butchering protesters last February-March. Global Research can bear witness to the dedication of these medics and countless others who struggled in the wards and corridors of the hospital to patch people up with the most horrendous wounds as wave after wave of injured were ferried in.
Dr Al Ekri was assaulted while performing surgery and hauled into detention by Saudi-backed forces who had smashed their way into Salmaniya Hospital a crime against humanity, just one of many following the Saudi-led invasion of Bahrain that was given the green light by Washington and London.
There was a faint sign that Washington's recent talk of progress and reform in Bahrain may have somehow sent the hint to its favoured despots to quietly drop the embarrassing show trial against the medics. But with the continuance of the prosecution albeit in a civilian court instead of a military tribunal it seems that institutionalized barbarism cannot overcome its tyrannical instincts for power, even at the behest of its more PR-savvy patron in Washington.
One can only imagine the sanctimonious mouth-foaming reaction by Washington, London and the corporate media if such a travesty was perpetrated against medics in Syria.
But Bahrain is not Syria; it is an ally, therefore Western governments and media suddenly develop blindness and speech impediment in the face of blatant crimes against humanity.
Finian Cunningham is Global Research's Middle East and East Africa Correspondent

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