A political analyst says that the Western-backed repressive regime in Bahrain is crumbling from within, Press TV reports.
Bahrain’s popular uprising began 18 months ago and still continues despite an excessively violent crackdown by the regime and a subsequent invasion and occupation by Saudi Arabia which aimed to save the regime from collapse.
The demands for democracy by the people have intentionally been avoided by mainstream Western media to aid their governments in hiding the anti-democratic and anti-human rights role played by them in the region.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Saeed Shahabi to discuss the situation in Bahrain.
Dr. Shahabi, it appears that the crackdown of the regime is getting more harsh without the regime even worrying about its image or repercussions. Why are we seeing what appears to be an escalation of harsh treatment against demonstrators?
Thank you very much and I of course welcome the other guests as well. Let me first say, that the regime has no option but to crack down, because it can either democratize itself, reform itself, or become harsher. It cannot remain where it was. So, I think because they are unable to democratize themselves or to reform their system, or to adapt to the new challenges and the new situation in the region.
So, the only thing that is open to an already terrorist regime is to crack down harsher. Especially, with the support it is receiving from America, the United States especially, from Britain, the security arrangement with the British, and also the military back-up by the Saudis. So, they are emboldened to stand against the wishes of the people.
They [Bahrain regime] fear nothing because they think that America will always support them. However, they are wrong in thinking so, because the people’s demands are there. They want the regime to go and there is no way that the regime will go easily. We are likely to see an intensification of attacks and an intensification of repression as we have seen in the past two, three days, how they attack peaceful demonstration in Manama and in other villages and towns.
And also, we have seen how they reconfirmed the harsh sentences of the military court. Of course, we believe that whether it is a military or civilian court, the decision is political from dictator downwards. So, we are waiting for more of an escalation because the people will have no stomach to have more of this repression of the dictatorial regime.
This regime has failed in all its duties and consequently the people are fed up and they are continuing their daily protests everywhere without fear of this repression that is intensifying, but at the same time the people are becoming more involved and more courageous and more determined.
We’re talking about how much the United States and the UK seem to be in support of what is going on, on the ground and that you said this will not be that way forever. What do you think would be the key factors in changing what we’re seeing what appears as buying support from the US, from the UK for the regime in Bahrain?
I think that there are a few scenarios that could take place. Number one, we can see an escalation is Saudi Arabia, of the reform movement, whether in the eastern province. Only two, three days ago we saw one of the largest demonstrations ever in the eastern peninsula in Qatif and other places.
We also, see quite a few demonstrations almost on a daily basis in al-Jawf, in Riyadh itself, in Medina, also in al-Taif and in Jeddah. And these demonstrations are becoming more frequent inside Saudi Arabia against the Saudi dictatorship. So, this is the scenario that could put some pressure on the Americans and the world forces to change their attitude. Secondly, the people in Bahrain have reached a point of no return as I said earlier, and the likelihood is that there will be more discretion to the extent that the American people will be compelled to change their track because they have strategic implications and interests in the region and they cannot just wait and see for the dictatorial regime to act in violation of its own [Implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry] BICI report.
Thirdly, I think the regime itself is crumbling from within. There are dissenting voices; they feel that they have alienated even their own allies. Even the US has expressed disappointment; the British also have expressed disappointment at the confirmation of the military court verdicts against our group, who has sentenced to life imprisonment and other terms of jail sentences. Fourthly and lastly, I think the political turmoil in the gulf region itself, within the [P]GCC countries is continuing.
We see in Kuwait there is some tension. In Saudi Arabia as I mentioned earlier, in the United Arab Emirates. So, I think unless the situation in Bahrain is sorted out, it could spill over into other countries and this is worrying to the Americans themselves who have always relied on those monarchies to keep the peace and the tranquility. But now they have failed, because they are not able to accommodate the new trends in the society and they cannot meet the challenges and aspirations of the young generation.
So, all these factors are likely, of course this is in addition to the likelihood that more pressure [will come] from the international NGOs, human rights organizations. Los Angeles Times
yesterday wrote a piece expressing surprise and disappointment, and also other media outlets. So, all in all, I am hopeful and there is going to be some change.
Dr. Shahabi, what does that mean for you and your people, when you hear our guest in New York saying basically, there is nothing even being discussed in the country so the people can’t even exert pressure on the government because the majority of them don’t really realize what is going on in Bahrain?
So what does it take in your perspective now to get the word out? And is it that perhaps the shift might be from the West and look towards more of the eastern countries to see if these countries can actually exert pressure in trying to help the movement go forward?
Sister, it is not only America that is the player in the region. Washington has always claimed to take the leading role in the region. Now if it fails its role, if it fails to take up the challenge and to stand up to the democratic challenges, especially in the gulf, then I think other powers will intervene. And we know that there is already a tendency by the Russians to take a leading role. They have now taken the case of Bahrain to the extent that they try to present it to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last month. And of course, that is something that is very worrying to the United States and Britain, who have all along thought that that region is theirs.
No one else should be allowed to intervene. Now if they fail to take up their duties, and to stand against dictatorship and support or to listen at least to the pro-democracy movements, then I think they will lose and gradually their influence will diminish. At the same time they will get the blame by people, human rights activists, some congressmen, [and] some lobbyists from the human rights organizations. And I think this will all amount to real pressure on the administration.
Yes, they are preparing for elections, but at the same time there are cries of the martyrs in Bahrain. The shouts of those who are being tortured relentlessly, they cannot be just ignored. They will wake up the conscience of people and I think this challenge to the American domination and hegemony in the world will either leave it with a more active or pro-active role or it may just lose out or will be diminished in the Middle East.