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The POMED Wire Archives
Category: Bahrain
President Obama Condemns Violent Repression of Protesters
February 18th, 2011 by Kyle
President Barack Obama, issued a statement condemning the violence that took place across the region on Friday in Yemen, Bahrain and Libya. President Obama stated: “I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur.” He went on to say: “Wherever they are, people have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly.” President Obama urged these governments to use restraint in their response to peaceful protesters and to respect their rights.
Posted in Bahrain, Diplomacy, Freedom, Human Rights, Libya, Protests, US foreign policy, Yemen | Comment »
Bahrain: Video of Doctor Beaten by Bahraini Authorities
February 18th, 2011 by Kyle
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Posted in Bahrain, Military, Protests | Comment »
Bahrain: NY Times Reporter in Manama
February 18th, 2011 by Kyle
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Posted in Bahrain, Human Rights, Military, Protests | Comment »
Bahrain: After Violence US Analyzes Military Aid
February 18th, 2011 by Kyle
Following the Bahraini security forces’ attack on sleeping protesters in Lulu Square, U.S. officials are calling for a re-examination of aid to Bahrain and an investigation to determine whether U.S. aid was used in the attack.  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, “has asked State officials…to identify the equipment and units involved in the attacks,” Leahy’s spokesman David Carle told POLITICO Thursday. Under the “Leahy Law,” aid will be cut off to any forces determined to have perpetrated human rights abuses; the United States gives aid to the Bahraini military.
Senator John Kerry (D-MA) stated: “Using tear gas, batons, and rubber bullets on peaceful protestors is the worst kind of response to a nonviolent demonstration… I urge the government of Bahrain to put an end to the violence and allow the Bahrainis to voice their call for greater political freedom.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged restraint in a Thursday phone call with her Bahraini counterpart, Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa , she said: “The United States strongly opposes the use of violence and strongly supports reform that moves toward democratic institution building and economic openness.”
Posted in Bahrain, Congress, Diplomacy, Military, US foreign policy | Comment »
Bahrain: Protests Upset Gulf Status Quo
February 18th, 2011 by Kyle
Toby C. Jones, writing at Foreign Policy, states that, “Bahrain is burning,” in response to the recent violent repression of protesters by Bahraini police and military officials.  Jones states: “Bahrain’s rulers and their mercenaries have laid siege to their own country.” The protesters he has met with remain resolute in their non-violent goals by “emulating the example of their fellow democracy activists elsewhere in the Middle East” even in the face of a repressive security apparatus, he says. The recent events in the Bahrain have elicited a strong response from Gulf neighbors, according to Jones, including rumors that Saudi Arabia is not only strongly supporting the violent crackdown, but has also sent tactical equipment and personnel support. Amidst claims from the Bahraini government that this is a Shi’a plot with Iranian support to disrupt the gulf, Jones asserts: “For Bahrainis and for other citizens in the Gulf, this moment is not about sectarian politics, score settling against Sunnis, or advancing Iran’s interests. It is about justice, democracy and political rights.”
Posted in Bahrain, Iran, Military, Saudi Arabia | Comment »
Bahrain: Doctor Leads Protest Outside of Hospital
February 18th, 2011 by Kyle
Posted in Bahrain, Protests | Comment »
Bahrain: Violent Attacks Against Protesters
February 18th, 2011 by Kyle
Nick Kristof of The New York Times and Middle East analyst Emile Hokayem are tweeting from Bahrain that the army has opened fire with live ammunition on peaceful protests taking place in Manama. Kristof reports that tear gas has also been fired at protesters who have gathered outside of a hospital where wounded protesters are being treated.
Posted in Bahrain, Military, Protests | Comment »
Kristof Details Brutal Crackdown in Bahrain
February 17th, 2011 by Alec
Nicholas Kristoff, writing for the New York Timesrecounts the brutal crackdown of protesters by Bahraini security forces on Thursday.  He says that the police have been firing tear gas, rubber bullets, and shotgun pellets at peaceful protesters, who, contrary to claims by government officials and Bahrain state TV, were entirely unarmed. He also documents the harrowing experience of hospital staff dealing with the severely injured and dead from the violence and recounts a story told to him by a nurse who said she saw police execute a young male protester of about 24 at point blank range. A doctor was also threatened with rape by security forces some of whom are reportedly from Saudi Arabia.  Kristof also states that it’s possible that some of the military tanks patrolling the streets were also Saudi, although he could not confirm such claims. Ambulatory services have also been suspended with response teams only answering calls after receiving explicit approval from the Interior Ministry.  Some protesters have demanded the ouster of King Hamad to which Kristof replied: “[…] when a king opens fire on his people, he no longer deserves to be ruler. That might be the only way to purge this land of ineffable heartbreak.”
Posted in Bahrain, Human Rights, Protests | Comment »
Bahrain Update: Al Wefaq Suspends Parliamentary Participation
February 17th, 2011 by Naureen
On Thursday, al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s main Shia Muslim opposition group, announced that it was suspending its participation in parliament and called for the government to initiate dialogue. Protesters have continued to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, who has governed Bahrain since its independence in 1971. They are also demanding the release of political prisoners and the creation of a new parliament.
Posted in Bahrain, Islam and Democracy, Protests | Comment »
Photos: Injured Protesters in Bahrain
February 17th, 2011 by Alec

Posted in Bahrain, Protests | Comment »
Why Bahrain May Be Next
February 17th, 2011 by Naureen
Writing in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof argues that Bahrain is a reminder that “authoritarian regimes are slow learners.” The Bahraini government, he states, has failed to learn the lessons of Tunisia and Egypt that the use of violence will “undermine the legitimacy of the government.”  Kristof states that while at first the protesters were demanding the release of political prisoners, an end to torture and less concentration of power in the al-Khalifa family that controls the country, the violence against protesters have led to calls for the overthrow of the ruling family with some calling for a British-style constitutional monarchy, where King Hamad would reign without power, and others calling for the ouster of the king. “All of this puts the United States in a bind,” Kristof says, as Bahrain houses a U.S. navy fleet and has been considered a model in the region by U.S. government officials, who maintain close ties to the al-Khalifa family.  Kristof calls on the U.S. to be cautious of that “our cozy relations with those in power won’t dull our appreciation that history is more likely to side with protesters being shot with rubber bullets than with the regimes doing the shooting.”
Posted in Bahrain, Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Protests, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
Bahrain Update: Sporadic Clashes Spread, Tanks On The Streets
February 17th, 2011 by Alec
Al Jazeera is reporting that sporadic clashes have been erupting around the capital city of Manama, hours after a brutal pre-dawn raid by police on peaceful protesters camped out at Lulu square.  Tanks and troops are patrolling the streets according to sources.  Six people have been killed and dozens injured.
Posted in Bahrain, Protests | Comment »
Bahrain: Importing Sunnis To Suppress Shia Majority
February 17th, 2011 by Alec
Ian Black, writing for The Guardiannotes that the Bahraini government has been hiring non-native Sunni Muslims from Jordan, Yemen and Pakistan, while also importing tanks and troops from Saudi Arabia to grow its police and security forces.  Sixty-five percent of the Bahraini population is Shia while the ruling family and government elite are Sunni.  Black states that there has been a concerted effort, despite lack of official statistics, on the part of the government to import Sunnis to change the demographic balance in their own favor.  Bahrainis often complain about police officers of Pakistani origin who often do not speak Arabic. Black also notes that Iraqi Ba’athists have been streaming into the country since the U.S. led invasion in 2003 and points out that the Bahraini secret police, known as the Mukhabarat, is currently headed by a Jordanian.
Posted in Bahrain, Human Rights, Sectarianism | Comment »
Video: Bahraini Police Attack On Protesters in Lulu Square (Thursday)
February 17th, 2011 by Alec
The first video shows the beginning of the police attack on peaceful protesters that were camped out in Manama’s Lulu Square over Thursday night.  The second video shows protesters streaming out of the area during the attack.

Videos courtesy of the NYT’s The Lede.
Posted in Bahrain, Protests | Comment »
Audio: Eyewitness Calls Bahrain Police Attack on Protesters ‘Massacre’
February 17th, 2011 by Alec
BBCNews has audio from an eyewitness to the police raid on Lulu Square last night in the capital Manama.  Two people have been confirmed killed and 60 people have been claimed missing.
Posted in Bahrain, Protests | Comment »
Bahrain: Riot Police Attack Sleeping Protesters in Lulu Roundabout
February 16th, 2011 by Naureen
On Wednesday night, protesters in Lulu Roundabout, in the Bahraini capital, Manama, were attacked while they slept. Without warning, hundreds of riot police descended on the square, firing rubber bullets and tear gas on the sleeping demonstrators.  POMED spoke directly by telephone with a contact, who was present at the time of the attack and described how the Lulu Roundabout was full of people, families, asleep, mostly in tents that had been set up.  Here is the verbatim account, minutes after our contact escaped from the scene:
We suddenly see numerous jeeps going all the way up over the bridge that goes over the roundabout … and then we saw a lot of  riot police, they came to the edge of the bridge and they just started shooting into everyone.  And people started running, they started backing off, ….,  they were starting to retreat to one side of the roundabout, we saw that the riot police had also come from the other side and they started shooting at the people that were backing off from the riot police  in the front, and they started shooting, and the thing is they were shooting from both sides and they were shooting continuously … and so people started to run in the other direction, there were women, carrying children, running, people were pushing each other, trying to get out of the way because they were shooting so much you couldn’t see from the smoke.  People kept running, there were people telling people to stand, and not to run, some people actually were trying to go back into the square, to not allow the riot police to take over it.  People were chanting “peaceful, peaceful!” That obviously didn’t have any effect. But, I mean, the main concern was to get the children out of there.  I don’t know, when I was leaving, I heard someone screaming, “the women and children still in the roundabout!”  And I also heard that one of the tents set on fire, because the tear gas that they throw, actually lights on fire when it’s thrown, so we also heard that some of the tents were on fire. And I don’t what the situation is right now because I’m not there anymore … but all the way from where I am, I can hear ambulances - I saw several people wounded and being carried.
All of the shooting described above appears to have been rubber bullets and tear gas, not live ammunition, but nonetheless there are fatalities confirmed.  More recently, from the hospital, our contact confirmed that at least two people were killed, with many more injured and dozens more still arriving on stretchers, some of whom may also be dead.  We were also just informed that, “the riot police are still attacking everyone. There are tanks and many riot police outside of the hospital. We fear that they will attack us at any moment.”
Update: ABC News correspondent Miguel Marquez was beaten ”by a gang of thugs” while on the phone with New York office tonight as riot police cracked down on protesters in Lulu Roundabout. “These people are not screwing around,” he said. “They’re going to clear that square, tonight, ahead of any protest, on Friday. The government clearly does not want this to get any bigger.”
Posted in Bahrain, Human Rights, Protests | Comment »
Bahrain: Protesters Hold Lulu Square
February 16th, 2011 by Kyle
Anti-government protesters continue to occupy Pearl (Lulu) Square in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, after two days of violent clashes left at least two demonstrators dead. Two protesters have been killed so far by attacks from riot police. On Tuesday, Bahrain’s ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa made a television appearance in which he expressed his condolences for “the deaths of two of our dear sons” and said a committee would investigate the killings. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley responded to the protest violence stating: “The United States is very concerned by recent violence surrounding protests in Bahrain.” Crowley also supported Al-Khalifa’s comments and called for a quick investigation into the killings of protesters and urged, “all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from violence.”
Posted in Bahrain, Diplomacy, Freedom, Human Rights, US foreign policy | Comment »
Bahrain: CNN Video Coverage of Protests
February 16th, 2011 by Kyle
Posted in Bahrain, Democracy Promotion, Human Rights, Protests | Comment »
President Obama Speaks About Unrest Across the Middle East
February 15th, 2011 by Kyle
President Barack Obama made statements to the press on Tuesday in regards to his proposed budget as well as the current uprisings taking place across the Middle East. When asked about the recent uprisings in Yemen, Bahrain, and Egypt and whether the US values stability over freedom Obama responded by stating that there is a lot of work to be done in Egypt, but “we’re seeing the right signals coming out of Egypt” including the military’s reaffirmation of Egypt’s treaties and their initial work in seeking free and fair elections.  For the rest of the region he reaffirmed the US’ beliefs in universal rights and stated that he urged all allies not to use “violence as a form of coercion.”  Obama went further to state that he was concerned about stability in the region but that a “young, vibrant generation” in the Middle East is looking for change and he urged Arab leaders “you’ve got to get out ahead of change.  You can’t be behind the curve.”
On Iran, Obama stated, “And my hope and expectation is, is that we’re going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government,” and condemned the regime’s response to protests, “which is to shoot people and beat people and arrest people.”
Posted in Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, US foreign policy, Yemen | Comment »
Bahrain: Video Update on Protests and Violecne
February 15th, 2011 by Kyle
Posted in Bahrain, Protests | Comment »
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President Obama Condemns Violent Repression of Protesters
Bahrain: Video of Doctor Beaten by Bahraini Authorities
Bahrain: NY Times Reporter in Manama
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