Washington hails Manama’s security mentality; the rights crisis is a marginal issue
How does the US completely disregard the rampant discrimination, heinous rights violations, escalating sectarian persecution, and arbitrary arrests that have no mercy on children or the elderly?
Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded the second US – Bahrain Strategic Dialogue, which coincided with Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa’s visit to Washington. A joint statement reiterated the joint commitment of both countries to bolster their collective efforts to broaden their bilateral partnership on expanding strategic cooperation to support peace and security and countering terrorism and transnational threats. The US expressed appreciation to Bahrain for hosting the headquarters of its Navy’s Fifth Fleet and as a Major Non-NATO Ally for stepping forward to facilitate the relocation of U.S. citizens, and demonstrated its commitment to countering “Iran’s destabilizing influence”.
The joint statement ignored the dire, aggravating, and catastrophic human rights situation in Bahrain. It has blatantly welcomed Bahrain’s “expanded application of the alternative sentencing program”, which His Eminence Ayatollah Qassem called the “alternative oppression” as it turned the country into a large prison. It completely disregarded the rampant discrimination, heinous rights violations, escalating sectarian persecution, and arbitrary arrests that have no mercy on children or the elderly.
A statement that is nothing more than praise for Manama’s military and security coordination with the Zionists, through which Washington deludes Manama that it is protecting it from an alleged “Iranian threat”, turning it into a platform for settling the American accounts, spying on neighboring countries, and igniting wars and enmities among them. How not, when Washington only cares about its strategic interests, and what is happening in Ukraine is the best proof of that. Obviously, Washington is manipulating Manama to fight Iran and strain the situation in the region, and as a starting point for tampering with the security of its peoples, interfering in their internal affairs, and destabilizing their security.
Hence, the alleged dialogue comes to expose for the millionth time, the hypocrisy of Washington’s claims about supporting freedoms and democracy around the world. This support is formal, of double standards, and does not obligate Bahrain to respect its people, their freedoms, and their will. If it was honest, why does it remain silent about what is going on there? Why doesn’t it press for the release of the opposition pacifist leaders and other prisoners of conscience?
Indeed, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans did justice to the plight of the people of Bahrain. Both are complicit in this grievance, and during Biden and Trump’s eras, the country has not witnessed a single reform, simply because Washington is a police state based on security, militarism, and intelligence, and whose foreign policy towards the peoples of the region will never change. There is no room to believe that an American president would support democratic transformation and the transfer of power in the Gulf region.
Quite simply, any democratic transformation in this geographical spot, any establishment of independent and willful governments means Washington would be kicked out of the region. The US covets its geo-strategic position and its oil and gas, especially in light of the critical escalation of oil prices, on the one hand. On the other hand, it fears the growing might of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the peoples of the region, and the anti-Zionist movements, as it is inevitably committed to protecting the usurping Zionist enemy.
Washington has never been a supporter of democracy and human rights except where and how it wants. What matters to the US administration is to establish its presence and interests in the region, and its policy is a policy of preserving interests, not principles.
For its part, Manama, and with it its neighboring dictatorships, is working to exploit Washington’s paranoia to win its silence on its human rights violations, its repressive policies, and its arbitrary arrests of senior opposition leaders who are keen on the interests of the peoples starting from Sheikh Ali Salman to Sheikh Al-Awda to Ahmed Mansour and others.
Meanwhile, the visit of the Crown Prince of Bahrain to Washington has exposed the latter’s allegations of protecting human rights, revealed the systematic American hypocrisy, and demonstrated clearly that the Washington-Manama bilateral ties are but a complete dependency, and shameful beggary for Western support in light of the apparent divorce between the authority and the people and the advanced empowerment of the Zionists in Bahrain, as described by the Ayatollah Qassem in his speech on the eve of the 11th anniversary of February uprising.
During seven decades of its dependence on the United States, Washington was the only beneficiary part of this relationship. Unequivocally, the criticism and condemnation throughout the formal statements and reports, from time to time, is only to satisfy the American public, because none of these recommendations has been implemented, no effective and serious measures have been taken, and currently, the Bahrainis are facing an alerting crisis whereby the notorious prisons are teeming with prisoners of conscience, Dr. Abdul-Jalil al-Singace is facing imminent death, and there are 12 death row inmates who may be executed at any moment, not to mention other worsening crises from economic deficit to unemployment to poverty and corruption and so on.
Of course, the visit and the dialogue have come in a bid to legitimize the upcoming elections and an attempt to win over the opposition. On the cusp of the upcoming parliamentary elections in October, superficial reforms are expected, through which the authority will attempt to bypass core public demands such as the elected government, drafting a new constitution, the parliament with wide powers, fighting corruption, holding those involved accountable, etc.
This utter failure confirms the duo’s lies about protecting the security of the region. It is unfortunate that the authority has not considered the experiences and fate of the Shah of Iran, Hosni Mubarak, and what is currently taking place in Ukraine. The Gulf citizens in general; and the Bahrainis in particular, remain at the bottom of the list of US priorities.
The Manama’s authority has opted to be completely isolated from the marginalized people, who are deprived of their fundamental political and economic right, at a time when all impositions and facilities are offered to foreigners, whether through political naturalization or what is now being raised as the issue of the “golden residency”.
No legitimacy, no sovereignty, no freedom, no independence, no rights, nothing but repression, arrest, and intimidation. Hence, the opposition has nothing but to persist in its insistence on its rightful demands for popular participation, respect for the popular will, and protection of political rights.