Bahrain Shiites Withdraw from Parliament, Call for King’s Overthrow

Members of parliament from the Shiite Wifaq Party, which had 18 of 40 seats in the lower house of the Bahrain legislature, have resigned en masse from their positions. They were objecting thereby to the deaths so far of 5 protesters and the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators early on Thursday morning by government security forces.

Streets were empty late Thursday in Manama, in the wake of the clearing of the downtown Pearl roundabout of demonstrators by security police, who took down their tents.

Euronews in Arabic reports that the Bahrain army stationed tanks in downtown Manama and then announced a ‘Communique No. 1’ in which they pledged (or threatened) to use decisive force to establish ‘order’ in the country (i.e. no more big demonstrations will be tolerated).

In the meantime, physicians and nurses demonstrated at having been prevented from treating in the field the hundreds of injured after the crackdown on Thursday morning.

Friday morning, a small group of 200 mourners came out for the funeral in a village of protesters killed by security police on Thursday. They chanted slogans calling for the overthrow of the Sunni monarchy.

Both the withdrawal of Wifaq from the government and the turn of chanting to anti-monarchy slogans are very bad signs for national cohesion. The Shiites of Bahrain, about 70% of the citizen population, have now largely withdrawn from the body politic, remaining only as disenfranchised and sullen subjects of a monarchy many can no longer abide. Many Shiites are saying that the government, by attacking peaceful protesters, has lost all credibility.

Aljazeera English has video on Thursday’s violent crackdown:

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7 Responses

  1. I am sorry but every time I read about a grand park in a vital middle of a major middle eastern city being taken by the protesters, I wonder if the United States would allow protesters to take like central park in New York and camp in it for weeks and preventing businesses and major government building from functioning.

    • Well, we might be about to find out in Madison, Wisconsin, where the far-right governor attempted a legislative ambush to destroy the state’s public service employee unions on the pretext of closing a budget gap caused by his own tax cuts, and instead caused 30,000 protestors to appear. But now the Tea Party is holding a counter-demonstration to attack the evil Communist public school teachers and janitors. Will they ride camels?

      link to

      • If these 30.000 protesters start camping, then you betcha.. but they will ride elephants instead, there is no tax cut on imported camels. So the protesters better bring a lot of peanuts to steer them away.

  2. Thanks, Dr. Cole, so very much for your continuing service in helping us follow and understand events in MENA (etc.) Your blog is absolutely required reading for anyone who gives a damn. I recommend your books, too.

    I’d like to share part of what I wrote on my blog yesterday morning about this horrible attack by the ruling family’s foreign mercenary thugs on these peaceful protestors. (The blog is at:
    link to

    The U.S. has a lot at stake in preserving its dominant naval presence in the Gulf. And apparently the rulers of this kingdom aren’t too worried about what their good friend, the United States will do in response to their heavy-handed police torture and repression; for now, they can laugh at American rebukes so long as they have what the U.S. can’t do without, as have so many other ruthless and savage regimes. –But, what if the security situation continues to deteriorate?

    A major question is, what will be the response of the Saudis, who showed a willingness to intervene in favor of its allies during the Egyptian crisis when it floated the idea of making up America’s military aid to Egypt if the flow were cut off? According to the Tactical Report, “Saudi Interior Ministry and the situation in Bahrain”,

    “The Saudi Interior Ministry is said to have plans to help the Bahraini Interior Ministry get more anti-riot equipment to keep the situation in Bahrain under control. ”

    As we noted, the Egypt lesson has not been learned — and they’ve got one very mad hornet’s nest.

    • You can be sure if democracy was a real possibility in Yemen or Bahrain, Obama and Clinton would try and crush it in the name of “orderly transition” just as they are trying to do in Egypt. The US does not wan democracy in place of dictatorships that serve the Empire. Libya is an unreliable dictatorship so maybe Barack the artful liar would not be too concerned, but even their he would probably prefer dictatorship because nothing is harder to mange than a democracy. — Joe

  3. In the Feb 18 New York Times Kristof reports that Saudi tanks and troops have been involved in suppressing the Bahrain protests. Care to comment?

  4. As to why al-Jazerra’s Arabic coverage of Bahrain is so poor, and the reasons for the Gulf Cooperation Council’s support for Bahrian’s repression, there is this small scoop provided by Angry Arab:

    “Aljazeera Arabic: why the cover up of the massacre in Bahrain (why democracy is not permitted in the Gulf)
    The meeting of the GCC today to support Bahraini repression and oppression was clear. The GCC (a tool created by the US) intended to prevent democracy from arriving to an Arab gulf country. I do believe that the Qatari government deliberately protected the Bahraini monarchy through its lousy coverage of the repression in Bahrain. I just remembered the last conversation I had with the Emir of Qatar back in July: I asked him for the reasons why political parties can’t be formed in Qatar, and why societies dedicated to combating normalization between Qatar and Israel are not permitted in Qatar. I remember his words today (and now I know what he meant): he said that he can’t. That political development and progress in Qatar can’t be ahead of other political levels of developments in other Gulf countries. I asked why: and he said that they just can’t be ahead, in political development. I guess that GCC countries disagree on many things but that they all agree on preventing democracy in their region. But: make no mistake about it. There is so much at stake–physically in terms of military and intelligence bases–to to allow for democracy in that part of the world. I think that the US was prepared to deploy troops to support the Bahraini monarchy.” [Emphasis mine]
    link to

    This is a clear case of Colonialism, and a very good indicator of why the US Empire has a fiscal crisis. Imperial Stromtroopers are not required to ensure hydrocarbons are exported as it’s in the interest of the nations producing them to sell them. Hundreds of Billions of dollars could be redirected to far more productive uses by liquidating the whole rationale for the Carter Doctrine, and the peoples of the Middle East could enjoy the fruits of self-determination and struggle of self-government.

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