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article imageOp-Ed: Mass protests planned for today (Aug. 14) in Bahrain

By Ken Hanly     Aug 14, 2013 in Politics
Manama - In Bahrain demonstrations are banned. It is a crime to "incite hatred" against the security forces and people who have called the king a "dictator" have been thrown in jail.
The king Hamad al-Khalifa is a close ally of the US. The US fifth fleet uses the island nation as a base. The king issued a warning ahead of the demonstration: “The government will forcefully confront suspect calls to violate law and order and those who stand behind them through decisive measures.”
Anyone whom the regime wants to repress is usually termed a terrorist, a move that no doubt keeps the US from complaining too much about repression. The king also blames Iran for inciting unrest and being behind protests since the majority of the protesters are Shia while the regime is run by a Sunni royal family for the most part.
Among the repressive steps taken by the regime is the revocation of citizenship of those convicted of carrying out or instigating "terrorist crimes", and inflicting severe penalties on those accused of violence and terrorism often demonstrators. Any kind of sit-in, rally, or gathering is banned in the capital Manama.
The Bahraini regime suppression has been ongoing and not let up. John Glaser writes:“Human rights groups have documented killings, beatings, torture, arbitrary arrests, disappearances, harassment, the destruction of more than 40 Shia mosques… on and on.” Nevertheless, since Obama became president in 2008, Bahrain has received almost $90 million in direct aid, but Washington also provides training and military equipment to support the kingdom: "America supports this dictatorship with anti-riot gear, small arms, short-range ballistic missiles, rocket-launchers, Blackhawk helicopters, air-to-air missiles, Stinger shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile, on and on and on.... “Approximately 250 Bahraini military students attend U.S. military schools each year,” according to a Congressional Research Service report."
Events happening now in Egypt will no doubt overshadow whatever repressive measures are taken against protests in Bahrain. The king has warned that some who take part in the protests today can loose their citizenship and face long prison sentences. The Bahraini regime is even using fake Twitter accounts to track down activists trying to avoid prosecution for criticizing the government or king. Eleven Twitter users have already been jailed for insulting the king.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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