'US, Saudis behind Bahraini apartheid'
Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:11PM
Interview with Saeed al-Shahabi from the Bahrain Freedom Movement in London
A sectarian apartheid against the majority Shia population is taking place in Bahrain by the ruling al-Khalifa family whose support comes from Saudi Arabia and by proxy from the United States.
In an interview with Press TV, Saeed al-Shahabi, from the Bahrain Freedom Movement, talks about the continual sectarian injustices in Bahrain including the killing, torture, maiming of people, and the destruction of holy mosques by the Saudi-backed al-Khalifa family; he elaborates on the blatant ignorance from the United States and the PGCC countries despite the spotlight set by major human rights groups on the rights violation in Bahrain.
Press TV: The security forces keep destroying mosques and places of worship which is considered a sacrilegious act. Why the security forces in Bahrain - backed by the Saudis - continue with actions of this sort? And what are they trying to achieve?
Al-Shahabi: I think they have several objectives in mind. First of all, the continuation of the sectarian apartheid that has been started by the al-Khalifa family against the Shia of Bahrain. By destroying and targeting their places of worship, they aim to subdue and exterminate them gradually.
The second thing is to induce fear into the hearts and minds of people and make them feel they have been defeated completely, that they have no chance of regaining their power because their symbols of worship and their historical links with their land have been completely destroyed and severed.
Thirdly, of course, they want to change the democracy of Bahrain because their political naturalization process has completely failed. It completely failed because in the past two months these naturalized citizens failed to support the regime in any sense apart from those who have resources and access to attack the people. The majority of the naturalized people have not been seen in public.
All in all, the aim is to overcome the will of the people, to destroy their will, to break their resolve and to ensure that the al-Khalifa family is never going to be challenged again by the natives of the country. The natives are being completely wiped out, gradually, and that is why they are doing everything possible.
About the demolition of the [area near Bani Jamrah], I also know that last night the al-Khalifa have demolished several places in Diraz which is neighboring Bani Jambrah. So they are going systematically from one town to another in order to remove any place of worship, gradually.
They started with small mosques and congregation halls but it is clear that they are aiming at the large existence and large symbols of the natives of Bahrain.
Press TV: Reports reveal that Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have been treating anti-government protesters in divergence with the Geneva convention. Recently, footage coming from Bahrain shows that a protester had been beaten to death by the Saudi-backed troops in Manama.
It's day 72, as you can see on your screen there; don't you think it's about time that the United States started speaking out on the bloodshed that's going on in Bahrain?
Al-Shahabi: For now, the United States has decided to support the aggression, to support the torturers, to support the killers. It is very clear from their statements, from their stance, that they have decided to go along with the al-Khalifa and Saudi occupation until the last minute; whether they can continue that or not, I don't know.
I know that there are some Americans and human rights bodies who have expressed total outrage at what's going on in Bahrain, and the American silence on that side.
We know that the al-Khalifa family has not only killed one, two, three, or ten people in cold blood and used their extra-judicial killings as a mean of subjugating people, we know that what's happening now in the streets is something that no other regime has done in the region in the past 10, 15, or 20 years.
It is unique the way they are dealing and treating the elderly, the youth, the women, the doctors, the nurses, the teachers, the athletes, the footballers, the artists...the way they have treated them has shook many politicians apart from the United States and Great Britain who think that whatever is happening is understandable and acceptable to them.
Press TV: Why have the Arab states in the Persian Gulf shown contrasting responses in regards to Yemen and Bahrain? In Yemen, they play an intermediary role and try to make an exit for Saleh, but in Bahrain they act in a different way altogether.
Al-Shahabi: First of all, they consider Bahrain as a legitimate target for aggression. Bahrain's natives are their legitimate targets.
Second, Yemen is a bigger fish and it is troubling them. I think, although we see differences in the way they deal with the two countries, in Yemen they are trying to make the revolution fail. They are trying to find an easy exit for Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Fortunately, the revolutionaries in Yemen have rejected the [P]GCC initiatives one after the other, and that is a big blow to the Saudi diplomacy and [P]GCC diplomacy in Yemen and also, hopefully, in Libya; now they are trying to target Egypt.
The Arab world and the freedom fighters in the world must be aware that if the Saudi diplomacy and the [P]GCC diplomacy is allowed to succeed in Yemen, Bahrain, or Libya then the revolutions would have been destroyed and failed.
Even in Egypt, the revolution is not complete yet. The Saudis are trying to juggle their cards in order to ensure that their stooges, their Salafi movement, and Wahhabi followers do take leading roles in those places.
I don't think they will win but the [P]GCC countries believe they are in a race against time. They think if they lose this game, the repercussions of that loss will reverberate in various corners of the [P]GCC countries, and they themselves are threatened.
We know that these countries are the most reactionary, backward, antiquated regimes in the world. You can't have any other place in the world where you have a whole society being ruled by the father, son, grandfather, in the way that has divides property for the ruling families. It's only in those countries and they see the revolutions in the Arab world as challenging their state.
They control those revolutions to make them fail in Bahrain, in Yemen, and other countries. The hope is that the Arab intelligence and elite realizes that the sectarian that is being fed and bred by the Saudis and Wahhabis does not really take hold in the Arab land otherwise this sectarianism will destroy the revolutionary spirit in those countries.
Press TV: Let's turn back to the events that are taking place on the ground. An organization known as Physicians for Human Rights released an emergency report which documents systematic human rights abuses in Bahrain. The report also provides evidence of attacks on physicians, medical staff, patients, and even unarmed civilians with the use of physical beatings, rubber bullets, tear gas, unidentified chemical agents...the list just goes on.
My question is that for how long are these human rights violations going to continue?
Al-Shahabi: They believe that they have no other way but to kill, maim, and torture people.
They know that this report by the Physicians for Human Rights is also an addition to another report by the Doctors Without Borders [group]. Both reports have highlighted what happened to the doctors, nurses and medics. They way they have tortured them, the way they have imprisoned them, and the way they have treated them in solitary confinement behind closed doors and behind torture chambers.
Now, there is a great worry among our people that some people may have already been tortured to death in addition to the four or five bodies who have been given back to their families last week.
There is a big worry not only among the Bahrainis but even among the human rights bodies like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Frontline, and others that whatever these bodies are saying are not influencing the way the al-Khalifa are treating the Bahrainis. Why?
They know their words can become useful, strong, powerful and effective only if they are taken seriously by the governments who are allies of the al-Khalifa such as those in Washington and London. But because neither Washington nor London is taking any interest in defense of human rights, these reports become ineffective. They become propaganda against the regime.
The regime has filtered itself. They decided to ignore whatever propaganda is said against it as long as Washington and London are not taking any real physical and practical action such as referring Bahrain to the United Nations Security Council for sanctions like issuing ultimatums to the Saudis to withdraw their forces from Bahrain; such as asking the al-Khalifa to release the political prisoners.
If they don't do this, the al-Khalifa are happy to do what they are doing regardless of what these human rights bodies say.