Dissent in Bahrain like fire under ashes, Al Khalifah resorts to Israel to suppress uprising: Opposition leader

Bahraini protesters are seen raising national flags during an anti-regime protest. (File photo by AFP)

The leader of Bahraini opposition al-Wafa Islamic Party says dissent in the Persian Gulf country is there like a fire under the ashes, stressing the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty has turned to Israel to stave off public uprising.

“Bahrain’s February 14 revolution is still in progress. One of the strong indications of its continuation is that prisons are packed with political opponents, some of whom are serving life terms,” Morteza al-Sandi said on Monday.

He added that the Al Khalifah regime has handed down severe sentences, including 24 years of imprisonment or even longer periods, to a host of distinguished Bahraini opposition figures.

Sandi pointed to the case of prominent Bahraini Shia cleric and head of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, Sheikh Ali Salman, who has been sentenced to 29 years in jail.

The Manama regime seemingly put down the 2011 popular uprising as Saudi and Emirati troops crossed into Bahrain after the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom's ruling family asked for help from neighboring states, he added, noting that the Al Khalifah family relies heavily on security directives and military instructions from Canada, the United States and Britain.

“The Bahraini nation's popular uprising is going on. Its extent has, however, reduced in the face of the Al Khalifah regime's strict security measures and heavy-handed clampdown,” the Bahraini opposition leader said.

The Manama regime sees no boundaries to its harsh repression of dissent, as it has executed a large number of people, and several political activists have even been forcibly displaced abroad, he said.

Sandi also referred to security agreements between Bahrain and Israel, saying, “The Al Khalifah regime has employed a number of measures aimed at securitization of society. King Hamas has, therefore, ordered restructuring Bahrain's National Security Agency by the Israeli regime's so-called internal security service, Shin Bet.”

“Bahraini regime authorities are very concerned about continuation of the popular uprising in the country. Hence they have expanded their cooperation with Israel, and allowed an Israeli naval officer to be stationed in the Persian Gulf state.

“The Al Khalifah regime is aware of widespread public discontent and the fact that the rage could boil over at any time. Dissent in Bahrain glows like fire under ashes, and could re-emerge before long,” Sandi highlighted.

Meanwhile, Bahrain’s most prominent cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim has said that drawing up a new constitution is the only way out of the political crisis in the protest-hit tiny Persian Gulf country, urging the regime in Manama to pursue an agreement with the Bahraini opposition instead of increasingly suppressing dissent.

Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.

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