Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:7AM
Britain is set to ban the head of Syria’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) from the London 2012 Games because of alleged human rights concerns over his links to the Syrian government, reports say. This comes as London is not expected to ban Bahraini officials despite the small Persian Gulf kingdom’s crimes against its own citizens, after Britain’s chief envoy for the Middle East Alistair Burt said at the end of his visit to Manama on Monday that London remains a close friend of Bahrain. Government sources in Britain have indicated that NOC chief General Mowaffak Joumaa could be denied entry for the Olympics, The Guardian reported. Western governments including officials in Britain accuse Syria of killing of civilians but the Syrian government says it is protecting civilians from terrorists, which analysts say are trained and funded by foreign governments. “It is exactly what happened in Libya last year. An insurgency began. Washington orchestrated it. Insurgents were recruited. They were funded. They were armed,” American author and analyst Stephen Lendman told Press TV last week. This comes as The Independent quoted an Ankara-based western diplomat today, as saying that the US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are arming the Syrian rebels. British Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne said back in May “where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK.” However, that seems out of the question for Britain’s ‘close friends’ in Bahrain especially after the British Queen welcomed the Persian Gulf country’s ruler king Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to her Diamond Jubilee lunch in London last month. There are abundant independent and reliable evidence of the Bahraini regime’s human rights abuses including the report by the fact-finding committee of the country’s own government as well as frequent reports by leading international human rights organizations. The Human Right Watch, for one, keeps Bahraini human rights situation in a “critical” level for the government’s failure to hold “senior officials accountable for crimes such as torture”, continued detention of protesters for exercising their right to “peaceful assembly” and persistent “reports of deaths from beatings and excessive use of tear gas.” Bahrain is of strategic significance for Britain and the US as an occasional hub for western fighter jets and the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet. AMR/HE