Bahrain Protests ahead of Formula One Race

Protesters in Bahrain on Thursday came out against the holding of the Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday, and met repression by police, who used stun guns and tear gas to clear them away. Bahrain has seen over a year of protests, but the Sunni monarchy has largely managed to quell the Shiite majority (the latter are mostly demanding a constitutional monarchy and an end to discrimination against them). Bahrain’s human rights record is widely seen as poor, and activists have called on Formula One to cancel lest it bestow legitimacy on the regime.

The largest and most influential Shiite party, al-Wefaq, led by cleric Ali Salman, however, says it is all right with the race being held. The monarchists accuse the protesters of defaming and harming the nation.

The United States, while it has been harshly critical of other Arab governments that crushed their dissidents, has treated Bahrain with kid gloves. The island nation is the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet, charged with providing security to the Gulf, from which 20% of the world’s petroleum comes. The Obama administration’s non-committal stand pleases Saudi Arabia, which incorrectly sees Bahrain Shiites as pawns of Shiite Iran. In fact, their demands are local and they for the mostpart don’t even adhere to the same school of Shiism as Iran.

Reuters reports on the controversy

Reuters also has raw video of the Thursday protests.

Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has called for a boycott of the race in Bahrain.

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5 Responses

  1. “the US Fifth Fleet, charged with providing security to the Gulf.”


    One of those “things” that everybody just KNOWS is “indisputably true.”

    Weel, maybe if one defines “security” in a rather cramped sense — like maybe the way the 5th Fleet provides “job security” for what, maybe 50-60,000 people, especially Admiral-class dreadnoughts needing a nice set of quarters and a comfortable wardroom and lots of uniformed dudes (do they still preferentially fill those slots with Filipinos?) to hold their coats and chairs and fawn on and feed them lavishly. So they can be in top form for all the Asymmetric Power Projection Drills that go along with the Mission Statement:

    Fifth Fleet exemplifies the Department of the Navy’s strategic concept “Forward… From the sea,” by providing the ability to respond immediately to any emerging crisis from peace-keeping and humanitarian missions to asserting necessary force in regional conflicts.

    Does that not sound all really well thought out, and, like, you know, “necessary,” whatever that is supposed to mean?

    Oh, and it gives the liberal-arts grads an opportunity to test their Psych 101 and Creative Writing skills by coming up with catchy, obfuscating names and acronyms for “operations,” like “Operation Iraqi Liberation Freedom.” Because “O.I.F” is less obvious than “O.I.L.” And how’s that “operation” worked out, again? Defined as a “success,” mission accomplished, but in the parlance of the surgeon who said “oops,” the patient still is left half-dead, on the kind of infinitely expensive life support that “conservatives” would deny to most of us Americans…

    Call it what it is. This huge enterprise, another part of Gen. Smedley Butler’s “racket,” steams on in the actual service of a bunch of all the silent, venal goals that actually lie behind that quaint notion that the US military, out on far foreign adventures, is “protecting our freedoms,” another nauseating shibboleth, while turning huge amounts of real wealth into dispensable munitions, guided mostly by notions and systems that have proved, so many times now, to be foolish, fraudulent and vain.

    Today’s bit of “milbabble:” link to The received wisdom used to be that the largest dinosaurs had to grow several “brains” to manage their lumbering locomotion and other activities, a requirement dictated by the speed of nerve cell transmission. By the time the Head Brain perceived the cliff or tar sands and issued the “Whoa!” command, and the butt brain said “Say what?”, the butt end was still driving forward with all the power of the rump and hind leg muscles (and a lot of inertia and momentum.) But the Networked Battlespace, and all its interoperable constituents and sub-tasks and offshoots and open-ended, metastatic Doctrines and Strategies and infinite stream of New Technologies and Really Cool Counter-counter-counter-counter…threat Weapons, is NOTHING like a Diplodocus, now is it? Ask Marine General Riper how that works: link to Now there’s “security” for you, complete with post-hoc spinning on a planetary scale.

    I wonder when the next K-T event is due? I’m sure the militarists have plans to emerge Victorious… somehow. If only by hanging on, somehow, to the power to define “Victory…”

    Resistance to all that futility is, of course, futile.

  2. Ah JTM—-

    You’ve obviously smoked out the real story here, namely the underlying Illuminati conspiracy. Be careful tho. We don’t want anyone to start getting the idea it really is something more than a metaphor.

    • I kind of don’t think it’s got anything to do with “conspiracy,” TB. It’s the nature of the whole complex clumsy inbred incompetent institution itself that chaps me. And I suppose the nature of the “human,” too — the knowledge that we could do so much better, at least what I consider better, as in safer and kinder and closer to that Golden Rule thing, and the pretty-much-certainty that we, the top-of-the-food-chain, peak-predator species, won’t.

      Maybe someone would like to make a case how a geometrically growing “Military Solution” to Everything will lead us or our grandkids into some better future? Or how the McClellans and McChrystals and MacArthurs and Westmorelands and all the huge ponderous inflexible bureaucracy and Giant Wealth Vacuum behind them, and their equivalents across the planet, are actually providing “security” for the critters who make the actual real-money wealth that they get to “deploy?”

      But thanks for the response. And I hope you can find it in your spirit to forgive my little rant. It occurs to me, at least, that there is a big picture, here, behind all the little local tactical and pseudo-strategic and Grand Doctrinal pieces that are mostly too much trouble to assemble, since putting one’s mind to the task kind of involves setting aside all the false fronts and tribal loyalties and personal interests that drive the present mess. A fourth of the world’s wealth and a huge chunk of consumable resources (not counting all the proprietary scams like the Egyptian and Israeli and AfPakistani and Chinese military, etc., have racketeered their way into,) all that growing pile of wealth going into the grasping, clumsy hands of the Warlords.

      An Israeli Experienced Player recently warned that the “Iranian Problem” might end up, like has happened many other times in history, creating a Pretty Awful Scenario by some tiny bit of “inadvertence,” a typo in some “intelligence summary” or “strategic plan” or tripwire bit of What’s Shaking in the Neocon Playbook. And every day, millions of humans grind away at creating, for various “very good reasons,” more tripwires and hair-trigger mechanisms attached to ever more complex and out-of-control doomsday devices.

      What’s the end game look like, to you?

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