Sunday Jan 22, 201210:03 AM GMT
Bahrain regime braces for February 14
Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:2AM
Interview with Ali al-Ahmad, Director of IGA (Institute for Gulf Affairs), Washington.
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February 14, 2012 will mark the one year anniversary of the Bahrain revolution, which continues despite violent crackdowns by Saudi and Bahraini police forces.

Press TV has interviewed Ali al-Ahmad, Director of IGA (Institute for Gulf Affairs) in Washington about the significance of the upcoming first anniversary of the peoples revolution in Bahrain and about the continued silence of the international community in the face of human rights abuses against a majority of Bahrain's population. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: There are some critics when Bahrain is discussed they say that basically it is not talked about so much because not that many people have been killed.

When we look at it percentage-wise though in Bahrain a population of 1.2 million people, percentage-wise, a larger percentage of Bahraini protesters have been killed than any other countries in the region that have been facing a revolution.

What is your take on this? It just seems that even though this high percentage of people has been killed it's basically been trying to be swept under the rug.

al-Ahmad: I think the numbers here do not mean very much for those who are ignoring the situation in Bahrain. Even if 500 people were killed in Bahrain that would still would be their reaction.

The issue in Bahrain is not the number of people being killed because obviously the numbers are very high in comparison to the population. The issue here, like my colleague in Beirut said, is about how the Western countries especially the US view the people in the region.

They do not view the people as equal human beings to them and to their culture. And it is that level of bigotry toward the people of the region that the policy makers still are unable to separate themselves from that policy and culture of bigotry toward the people of the region.

They do not see the people of the region as able and capable and respectable human beings; they see only the leaders and the dictators there who are the only elements there that they can deal with.

The US policy is not based on human rights. This is very clear if you assess the sixty years of relationship between the Gulf countries i.e. the (P)GCC countries and the West in general. These are the most autocratic countries in the region yet at the same time they have strong and viable relationships with the Western countries in general including the US in terms of support and defense of these regimes.

Yet at the same time these are the regimes that deprive their citizens from the basic human rights in terms of religious freedom, women's rights, and freedom of the press. So, that shows you the West has not had, even previously not only in the past few years, but for sixty years it has not given the issue of human rights and the value of the people of the region any importance. And that is unfortunately the truth about the Western policy in general.

Press TV: It seems everyday now, even today, we have seen funeral processions that are being attacked. Now, the regime seems to be getting more and more violent by the day.

Some analysts are saying that the regime is running scared now at this point in time and that's why it's becoming even more and more violent - what's your take on that? Are they becoming scared or do they think with brutal force they can stop this revolution from moving forward?

al-Ahmad: I think the Bahraini monarchy has been always scared of its population, but what they are trying to do in advance of the first anniversary of the revolution on February 14th they are trying to stop any gatherings, any funerals and they're attacking and we saw what they did in attacking the funerals and preventing them from even entering the cemetery to bury.

I mean, this is just people trying to bury a dead person that the monarchy has killed yet they were attacked and they (regime forces) prevented the people from holding the funeral respectfully. They don't even respect the death of a young man whom they have killed.

So, the issue here is this monarchy continues to oppress its people. The Saudi and Emirati officials… a few days ago the son of the Saudi minister Mohammad Naif al-Saud and the deputy ruler of UAE Mohammad Bin Rashid both were in Bahrain and had a meeting with the King of Bahrain at the same time in advance of the revolution - February 14th the first anniversary to coordinate how best to contain the first anniversary.

I think what we will see is more troops from the UAE; more troops from Saudi Arabia go into Bahrain to prevent a collapse of the regime because on February 14th we will see massive protests across Bahrain and we might see a collapse - an imminent collapse of the regime.

But the Saudis and Emirates and other Gulf countries are trying to stop them from collapsing. Hopefully they will not be successful.

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