Will the UK and US Push Bahrain Towards 4 More Dark Years?!
2018-12-02 - 12:50 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The two top Western allies, Britain and America, announced their support for comprehensive reconciliation in Bahrain, yet they are working against what they claim to support when they encouraged the legislative elections that took place last weekend, disregarding the statements made by international organizations describing the election environment as "oppressive".
The Bahraini elections have witnessed a full-on campaign of political isolation, as the authorities have excluded a large number of parties from the electoral process. Among these was Al-Wefaq Society, the largest political group in the country, as well as Wa'ad, the second-largest opposition society, and the Islamic Action Society (Amal). Allied groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood were also not safe from this isolation.
In addition to these parties, a broad list of voters was banned. The authorities removed tens of thousands of names from the voters' lists, justifying that by stating that it was because they did not participate in the previous elections. A large number of citizens like them decided to boycott the elections for political and economic reasons.
In view of the miserable picture of the results of the first round of elections, it was shocking for the active Bahraini groups and international organizations to see Washington and London applaud it. What took place were sham elections and unclear statements made with no explanations to back them on the ground.
"Welcome the successful conclusion of the first round of voting in Bahraini elections," said British Foreign Secretary Alistair Burt said in a tweet. "Bahrain is one of only two Gulf countries with a democratically elected parliament," referring to Kuwait as the other Gulf country.
Are Bahrain and Kuwait really similar experiences in the region? Everyone certainly knows that there is no comparison in terms of democratic experience in general as well as in terms of the powers enjoyed by the parliament in both countries. The Bahraini opposition even at one stage of its national struggle demanded reaching a similar experience to Kuwait.
Mr. Burt would have made a statement closer to reality had he compared Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. It is closer to it in terms of opposing public liberties and its record full of violations of human rights and women's rights as well; let alone its tight partnership in the war on Yemen and siege imposed on Qatar. It seems that Mr. Burt does not excel at making analogies unless he deliberately falsified the facts.
For her part, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Twitter that the United States "encourages a continued commitment to an inclusive, peaceful, and democratic political process as voters return to the polls this Saturday," in reference to the second round of elections.
If this is a description of the process encouraged by the American spokeswoman, she certainly does not mean the Bahraini elections. It is not taking place within the framework of a comprehensive political or democratic process. It is a whitewashed frame for a terrifying painting. Amid the horror of the imprisonment of opposition leaders and their isolation from the political scene in the country, this fake polished image of the elections they are putting up cannot fool anyone.
No one needs to tell the US State Department about the reality of the situation in Bahrain, as its latest report on the situation in Bahrain included details of those who face abuses every day- the same report in which it said that officials urged Bahrain to "end discrimination against Shiites."
Bahrain, who is a US ally, did not end discrimination against Shiites but opened another door for it when it excluded the largest parties from participating in the elections and prevented tens of thousands from practicing their right to vote. Allies usually move in the same direction, so what is the United States waiting for when it applauds such actions?
Standing behind these elections will push Bahrain to close the doors for four additional years in the face of dialogue and national reconciliation, and encourage it to press ahead with its hard-line policies against its opponents. This cannot preserve America's interests in Bahrain or the unity of this island plagued with divisions.
It does not seem encouraging to say that there are non-public statements pushing Bahrain to another direction. What the ruling family understands is what is required of it is what is being said in public and any practical measures taken that would push it to stop the seven-year-long ongoing violations. As for the "pressure behind closed doors" is only side talk to Bahrain.
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