Trump Praises Despotic Bahraini Regime
by Stephen Lendman
Despotic Bahraini authorities terrorize majority Shias in a Sunni-run state, along with anyone challenging their ruthlessness.
During a photo-op session with king Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa in Riyadh last weekend, Trump said “(o)ur countries have a wonderful relationship together…(T)here won’t be strain with this administration.”
During his Sunday Muslim world address, he assured despotic regimes participating that “our friends will never question our support.”
Bahraini authorities took his remarks to mean he’ll look the other way no matter how harshly they crack down on resisters.
On Tuesday, they launched a deadly raid against nonviolent regime critics, following the wrongful sentencing of Sheikh Isa Qasim, Bahrain’s leading Shia cleric, killing at least five, injuring others, arresting and detaining hundreds.
An interior ministry statement called the attack an action to “preserve law and order.” Activists consider it police state terror.
London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy director of advocacy Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei said “(t)he killing of five protesters is a heinous crime enabled by the unconditional support of the Bahraini rulers’ key allies in Riyadh, Washington and London.”
“The bloodshed, the blood that’s on their hands, will only continue unless it is met with severe consequences from the international community.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced Bahrain and Washington, calling Tuesday’s raid the “(f)irst concrete result of POTUS cozying up to despots in Riyadh: Deadly attack on peaceful protesters by the emboldened Rahrain regime.”
Washington and its rogue allies turn a blind eye, tacitly going along with regional police state harshness, above all by Israel against defenseless Palestinians.
Following the revocation of Sheikh Qasim’s citizenship in June 2016, his village of Duraz has been under siege.
Residents staged open-ended peaceful sit-ins in front of his house, participants viciously persecuted for their activism, facing arrests, detentions and assaults like on Tuesday.
In early April, seven US-based human rights groups, including Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), wrote king Hamad, expressing concern for the persecution and arbitrary denaturalization of Sheikh Qassim – asking for all charges and actions against him to be dropped, along with restoring his nationality.
No response followed. Persecution continued, then wrongful conviction and sentencing.
His sham trial occurred while Trump was in Riyadh, ADHRB executive director Hunain Abdulla, saying while the US president spoke to Muslim leaders about religious tolerance, despotic Bahraini officials practice “religious intolerance.”
“(B)y denaturalizing and prosecuting Sheikh Isa Qassim for religious practices, (they) have shown they will criminalize actions of individuals based solely on religion. This will only continue to cause further instability in the country.”
Commenting on Qassim’s show trial, Sheikh Maytham al-Salman explained he’s “solely being punished for supporting democratic and human rights reforms in Bahrain.”
His “trial for practicing religious rituals is baseless and could lead to further instability in Bahrain and in an already tense region.”
Since mid-2016 alone, scores of Shia clerics were harassed and persecuted, at least nine arrested, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned by exercising their assembly and expression rights.
Like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain is a fascist police state, a major human rights abuser, a valued US ally, ignoring its high crimes.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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