WL Central will be updating news on Bahrain, with new items added at the top. All times are ET in USA.
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THURSDAY, February 24
Hassan Mashaima was arrested Tuesday at Beirut airport based on an arrest warrant issued by Interpol, the official, who requested anonymity, told AFP. "He was detained on order of the prosecutor general," he said.
He added that when Mashaima was questioned, he pointed out that he was among several opposition figures pardoned earlier this week by the king of Bahrain.
The official said that Lebanese authorities were seeking legal documents proving Mashaima had been pardoned.
"When we receive these documents, we will act accordingly," he said.
Mashaima was among 25 men charged in Bahrain in October with forming an illegal organisation, engaging in and financing terrorism and spreading false and misleading information. (Source: iloubnan.info)
Thousands of teachers from the Bahrain Teachers Society (BTS) said they would continue their demonstration indefinitely if no agreement was reached with the government by tomorrow. They forced to authorities to give up the Formula one race scheduled for next month. (Source: Trade Arabia)
"Ali Abduleman was among 23 Shi'ite activists arrested in August and charged with plotting the violent overthrow of the government. They were freed as part of what the government said was a release of 308 prisoners on the orders of the king. (Source: Reuters
"Amnesty International has called for police in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK to review their training of Libyan and Bahraini police in the light of the crackdowns against pro-democracy protesters." (Source: Guardian)
Insight into the political landscape, challenges, and solutions by Abdulla Almannai:
TUESDAY, February 22
In a country of only 500,000 people the demonstration on Tuesday was what, "organizers called the largest pro-democracy demonstration this tiny Persian Gulf nation had ever seen, according to (Source: NYT)
“This is the first time in the history of Bahrain that the majority of people, of Bahraini people, got together with one message: this regime must fall,” said Muhammad Abdullah, 43, who was almost shaking with emotion as he watched the swelling crowd. (Source: NYT )
According toAAJ News Pakistan Ki Awaz, "The protesters want a constitutional monarchy, in contrast to the current system where Bahrainis vote for a parliament that has little power and policy remains the preserve of an elite centered on the al-Khalifa family."
Euronews reports that police joined the protesters:
“We decided that our job is to protect people and not to beat them up,” said policeman Abu Noah. “The weapons that have been used against the people are weapons of shame, these weapons should be used to protect the people, and not be used against them. That’s why we’ve decided to be with the people.” (Source: Euronews
Of the 25 men in October, charged with "forming an illegal organisation, and engaging in and financing terrorism and spreading false and misleading information," 23 have been released, said Jassem Hussein, a member of the opposition Islamic National Accord Association which controls the largest bloc in the 40-strong parliament. Two men were tried in absentia: Freedom Islamic Movement secretary general Said al-Shihabi and Hassan Mashaima, the leader of the opposition Haq movement. Both men live in London. (Source: ABC Australia.)
Ebrahim Sharif, head of the secularist opposition group National Democratic Action society, said, "We've been demanding talks for the past 10 years, and we'd be the last to reject them. But we have to make sure our demands are unified." (Source: WSJ)
VOAreports that at the start of the week, Shi'ite protesters were simply calling for more rights and equalities, and for the PM to resign, but since the crimes against humanity authorized by the King at Thursday's crackdown, many protesters have been chanting for a regime change: "What we want here is for the government and the king to leave. We want to change the king and the government," said a demonstrator Salman Ali. The same report goes on to quote another demonstrator, saying: "No, we don’t agree with them actually. And that’s why we have to set a ceiling for our demands in this country and there is a huge process now on the ground to unify and make it clear which ceiling we are speaking about, but the majority of people in Bahrain agree that [the king] al-Khalifa should stay, no problem, but according to certain criteria and constitutional rights."
According to a report in WSJ, Abdul Latif al-Mahmood, a prominent Sunni cleric, called for national unity. He warned foreign states to refrain from interfering in Bahraini affairs. To anti-government demonstrators he remarked: "This is our hand reaching out to you, so we can work together...But we [don't support] changes to [the] constitution that cause trouble between the sects" he said, to whoops and chants of "Long live the king" and "Long live the prime minister."
The King of Bahrain has ordered the release of political prisoners and closed the cases against several Shia opposition leaders, accused iof plotting against the kingdom. CNN reports, King Khalifa named the  leaders during a national unity speech last year, leading to the arrest of 23 of them and the exile of two others who were out of the country at the time." The announcement, the report goes on to say, "clears the way for the return of Hassan Mushaimaa, leader of Bahrain's largest opposition party, the Haq Movement."
Arab News reports that Saudi Arabia reiterated its support for Bahrain: “The Kingdom will stand by the sisterly state of Bahrain with all its capabilities,” the Council of Ministers said following its weekly meeting: "The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, backed a recent resolution taken by the GCC Ministerial Council that the GCC would stand jointly to confront any threats facing its member countries."
Bahrain's ruling Sunni family have ruled the country for 200 years. Sunnis make up only only 30 per cent of the country's population. WSJ writes that "the ruling family has worried that Shiite-led Iran seeks to gain influence with Bahrain's Shiites to sow instability."
But, in the same report, Sheik Ali Salman, the head of Shiite opposition group Wefaq, said "portraying the protests as an Iranian-backed Shiite uprising is a 'political tactic' by the royal family to win sympathy and support from other Sunni-dominated Gulf monarchies.
The Washington Post reports a cablegate story that illustrated how the relationship between Bahrain and the United States runs deeper than the 5th Fleet headquarters and Naval Support Activity base in Bahrain.
Find WL Central's coverage of the Bahraini regimes human rights abuses, revealed in U.S. State Department Cables here.
On Tuesday President Barack Obama found it ironic that an Iranian regime which had celebrated the popular uprising in Egypt had gunned down and beaten Iranians demonstrating peacefully. Two days later the boot was on the other foot. Security forces in Bahrain, a kingdom the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, described in December as a model partner for the US, gunned down protesters, some in their sleep, assaulted doctors who came to their aid, and beat anyone they came into contact with. Women and children were not spared. (Source: )
"'We are also demanding from the government they come clean on the number of people killed in the violent crackdown at Pearl Roundabout on Thursday and give us a clear picture on the number of casualties.'
The protester, a senior official at a construction company, said they also feared the injured being treated at the hospital could be taken away by the security forces if they lifted the siege, which started on Thursday.
'We are already trying to determine where around 70 people who are missing are,' he said.
'We are also trying to compile their names in consultation with the families.' (Source: Trade Arabia)
Society of Bahrain Doctors denies the Minister of Health statements on media and demands him to resign.
Al-Zayani, Bahraini Special Envoy to the US, lying about crimes against humanity on CNN February 19,2011:
[Bahrain's crown prince, Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa,] has been assigned to try to broker a dialogue with the mostly Shiite-led opposition, which is demanding the resignation of the prime minister, who has held the post for four decades. Protesters also want greater representation and other democratic reforms in a country where most power is wielded by the Sunni minority. He appears to hope that by halting the harsh tactics employed by security services over the past few days, he can create an opening for discussion of the demonstrators' grievances...
In a statement released Saturday, the crown prince appealed to all political factions to join hands and 'begin a new phase' in which 'we will discuss all our issues sincerely and honestly.'
The statement represented a "180-degree change of policy,' said Jassim Hussain, a member of the Shiite political party al-Wefaq, which withdrew its 18 members from the 40-seat parliament to protest the government's attacks on protesters. (Source: The Washington Post
The party has still not decided whether to sit down with the crown prince. "Al-Wefaq made a decree that they need the right environment before any serious dialogue can start. I'm sure this kind of environment will help," Hussain said. But he added, referring to the broader opposition movement: "We still have people who are not in the mood to talk." (Source: The Washington Post)
Interviews with Sunnis and Shiites in the Pearl roundabout in Bahrain on February 20, 2011:
At state-run Gulf Air, union leaders urged workers to join the strike. But an e-mail to employees by the airline's director warned that any no-shows could face dismissal. The carrier said no flights have been disrupted. At another state-owned giant, The Bahrain Petroleum Company (BopCo), the trade union told workers they have the right to strike and some managers even told workers to leave work, said Mehdi Hasan, an electrical engineer at BopCo. Several managers were noting names of employees on strike, Hasan said, estimating that hundred have not showed up for work.
'I am striking because right now in my life my demands to get rights from the government is my top priority,' Hasan said. 'I want the right to choose and elect those I want in the government.'
Lawyers wearing suites and ties joined protesters at the Pearl Square, holding lessons in Bahrain's constitution and calling for government officials to be put on trial after security forces opened fire and "inflicted harm on citizens" — a constitutional offense — as people chanted anti-government slogans and demanded the king be held responsible.
At the Sanabis Intermediate Girls School about 10 women teachers sat outside the empty school yard in a sign of support for the strike. 'We are on strike to support our fellow people in the square,' said Samira Ali, 40, a science teacher. 'We feel emboldened with our cause after blood was spilled. I want a real constitutional monarchy where my voice is heard and my message reaches to the government.' Samira Salman, a 48-year-old Arabic teacher, carried a sign reading: 'You can take my life, but you can't take my freedom.' She wore a Bahrain flag as a cape.
'We won't leave until our demands for the government to resign are met. I want everything to do with the system to fall. Our blood was on the street and I feel more confident about our cause,' she said after returning from the protests crowds refilling Pearl Square in central Manama. (Source: AP)
Britain responded to the violence by revoking licenses that have allowed the Bahraini kingdom to buy tear-gas canisters, crowd-control ammunition and other equipment. France suspended exports of security equipment to the country...
The United States last year provided Bahrain with about $21 million in military assistance, a substantial amount given the country's relatively small size. Of that total, about $1 million was designated for counterterrorism aid, much of it for the police and military forces that are suppressing the protests in the country's capital.
Administration officials have discussed the possible suspension of military licensing to Bahrain, according to one U.S. official. As of late Friday, however, a senior official at U.S. Central Command said it had not received notification of a suspension. (Source: The Washington Post)
"Bahraini troops and armoured vehicles have rolled out of a Manama square that had been a base for anti-government protesters, meeting one opposition condition for a dialogue proposed by the king.
But when a few protesters tried to regain their former stronghold in Pearl Square, police beat them back.
At least 100 riot police took up position, while a group of about 50 demonstrators stood about 50 metres away.
One man raced to the centre of the traffic circle, fell to his knees to kiss the yellowed grass and began praying as other protesters celebrated. Moments later, 10 police cars pulled up and policemen beat up one protester and fired teargas.
But after about half an hour, police suddenly ran to their buses and retreated...Bahrain's crown prince announced that all troops had been ordered off the streets and that police would maintain order." (Source: ABC Australia)
Bahrain's army deliberately kills peaceful protesters with live rounds:
FT coverage of the horror coming out of Bahrain today: Video
Aftermath at the Salmaniya Hospital:
Jonathan Rugman, foreign affairs correspondent, Channel 4 News:
Michael Slackman of the NYT reports from Manama, moments after an attack on protesters by security forces:
One man showed me a mobile phone snapshot in which the three trucks could be seen clearly, parked behind several army armoured personnel carriers. According to other demonstrators, the vehicles, which bore Saudi registration plates, were later seen on the highway to Saudi Arabia. It is easy to dismiss such ghoulish stories, but I found one man – another male nurse at the hospital who works under the umbrella of the United Nations – who told me that an American colleague, he gave his name as "Jarrod", had videotaped the bodies being put into the trucks but was then arrested by the police and had not been seen since. (Source: The Independent
Foreign ministers of the six-nation alliance of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Bahrain is a member, affirmed at a meeting in Manama on Thursday their political, economic, security and defence support for Bahrain. (Source: Mail & Guardian)
"Gulf states cannot accept a fundamental and radical change in Bahrain. The demand for constitutional monarchy cannot be imposed without [natural] political development that takes its due course," Saudi political analyst Dakheel al-Dakheel said. (Source: Mail & Guardian)
"This will create a state of political and security confusion in Bahrain that opens the door for Iranian and non-Iranian interference, which will not be acceptable to Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia," said Dakheel. (Source: Mail & Guardian)
'Peaceful Rally to Support HM King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa and Bahrain' on Facebook.
"RALLY TO SUPPORT HRH KING HAMAD AND BAHRAIN IS ON FRIDAY 18-02-2011 AT AL - FATEH MOSQUE 1230 pm JUFFAIR PLEASE ATTEND THIS RALLY TO SHOW YOUR LOVE TOWARDS KING ,HIS PEOPLE AND HIS KINGDOM." NB On Tuesday, the invite was public, and was called a 'virtual rally'...now it is private 4,975 Attending, 22,304 Awaiting Reply, 623 Maybe Attending. (Facebook)
Jose Nazario, the senior manager of security research at Arbor, which is based in Massachusetts, said that the traffic was 10 percent to 20 percent below expected levels. The measurements gauge the amount of information flowing through Internet backbone lines into and out of Bahrain.
After witnessing the police force brutality and disregard for human life, the nurses and doctors and Salmaniya Hospital joined the protests and asked for the Minister of Health to resign. Reports of the following violations were spread on the nets:
1- Anti -Riot forces around the Lulu pearl rounadbout [sic] prevented ambulances from accessing the wounded and CUVs and small tanks were used as roadblocks.
2- Doctors and Nurses and EMTs were attacked and beaten indifferently by the anti-riot forces.
3- The extent of the damage on the wounded and the non-descrimination [sic] of the victims whether young or old, male or female was shocking to all the hospital staff.
4- The minister of health ordered the Hospital staff to withhold treatment from the wounded protestors[sic].
An official response comes from the Bahraini government, with a statement by the ministry of the interior. It confirms that police have cleared Pearl Square "after trying full opportunities for dialogue." The ministry's spokesman also said that it had received complaints from the public, and that some protesters had "exploited the tolerant atmosphere" for illegal purposes. (Source: Guardian)
At around 3 a.m., hundreds of security forces surrounded and then attacked the camp of protesters who had peacefully gathered earlier Wednesday. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that riot police were armed with teargas, batons, and "birdshot." ABC-TV reporter Miguel Marquez, in a live broadcast from the scene, said police were "firing tons of tear gas" into the encampment. Moments later Marquez was beaten by men in street clothes whom he characterized as "thugs." (Source: Human Rights Watch)
New York Times reports:
NPR (Audio) Reporter, Peter Kenyon, in Bahrain: "I have just seen one of the more gruesome sites in 10 years of covering the Middle East"
The injuries have been widespread — clubbing and some shot and rubber-bullet injuries. Paramedics who were trying to get to the scene told me they were pulled from their ambulances and dragged to the ground and beaten. (Source: NPR)
It's ... it's been a scene, kind of. It's a bit quiet at the moment, I have to say, but just moments ago, this compound in the hospital was filled with screaming people. The grief is turning to anger very rapidly here. (Source: NPR)
WEDNESDAY, February 16
*Picture of Lulu square, 'a peaceful protest' via @kyrah
Speech, Mr. Abdul Wahab Hussein, the field of Pearl February 16, 2011.
TUESDAY, February 15
MONDAY, February 14
The Facebook profile associated with the 14th February 2011 Revolution Day in Bahrainreports 20 people injured and being transferred to Salamiya Hospital.
"Participants in the protest calling for abolition of the 2002 Constitution and replace a constitution written by the people and the government and prime ministers are elected by the people directly. As well as to dissolve the Shura and Representatives, and the work of a new Parliament has full legislative powers."
Bloomberg reprorts that "police fired tear gas into crowds in the areas of Diraz and Bani Jamrah. Earlier, residents of the Shiite Muslim village of Nuweidrat said clashes broke out between activists and police after morning prayers. Police were present on the outskirts of Nuweidrat, where Shiite flags adorned buildings along alleyways." (Source: Bloomberg)
BBC reports that "security forces erected checkpoints around the Shiite villages, and in the capital Manama in anticipation of the new exit events to commemorate the development of the country's constitution in 2002. As police stepped up patrols in the main streets and shopping centers in Manama, in what appeared a clear warning of any gatherings."
SUNDAY, February 13
A "21-year-old Bahraini youth suffered gunshot wounds and several others sustained minor injuries when anti- riot police and protesters clashed in the Shiite village of Karzakan on Sunday night." (Source: Monsters & Critics)
"Police fired rubber rounds and tear-gas at wedding-goers inside a religious community hall, after protesters allegedly mixed with those in attendance to evade police. The partygoers had refused to disperse before police opened fire, witnesses said." (Source: Monsters & Critics)
"The Sunni Salafist al-Asalah Islamic Movement has warned of the dangers of protesting. The country was visibly on heightened alert on Sunday with strong police presence across the small Gulf island, practically around Shiite villages and key infrastructure." (Source: Monsters & Critics)
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12
"BCHR reports a widespread and fast going call on Facebook and other internet mediums for wide protests on Monday 14 February 2010 as a “Day of Rage” in Bahrain BCHR calls on the King of Bahrain to ease tensions by: releasing detainees, dissolving the National Security Apparatus and engaging in serious dialogue on disputed issues BCHR calls to avoid the use of force against peaceful protests and to guarantee basic rights such as freedom of assembly and freedom of opinion including the free use of social networking"