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    Bahrain: The Struggle Continues

    By Azza Rojbi

    Protesters in Bahrain have been holding peaceful demonstrations across the country since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty’s over-40-year rule. As their struggle for human rights and democracy continues, the government has escalated its brutal repression.

    According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, at least 79 people have been killed since the protests began. Thousands more have been detained, including Ali Hasan, an 11-year-old Bahraini boy accused of taking part in anti-government protests. Hasan had spent a month behind bars before being released on June 11 under the condition that he must be monitored by a social worker for a year.

    Despite the government’s attempts to crush the protest movement, the brave Bahraini people continue protesting daily in the streets.

    On July 20, thousands took to the street in several cities across the country, calling on the government to release all political prisoners and denouncing the government’s plans to limit oppositional marches. Immediately, government forces responded brutally with riot police firing massive amounts of tear gas at the peaceful protesters. Following the government crackdown, clashes and street battles erupted across the small Gulf Kingdom.

    Meanwhile the Bahraini Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa held a series of meetings with United States top officials and members of the Senate, as well as congressmen, during an official two-day visit to the US. He also met with CIA director-general David Petraeus and FBI director Robert Mueller.

    During the meetings, Shaikh Rashid expressed Bahrain’s eagerness in reinforcing security, co-operation, and expertise exchanges, with the US. According to Bahrain News Agency, the US officials praised the King’s reforms project and highlighted the importance of Bahrain as a strong ally and friend of the US, expressing sincere appreciation to the Kingdom for hosting the US Fifth Fleet.

    The United States is not just turning a blind eye to the repressive practices of the Bahraini government but also providing the Al Khalifa regime with full political support and military expertise. In fact the US is working in complete complicity with the Bahraini regime in its crackdown on its people, while at the same time preaching to the Syrian government on human rights.

    It becomes clear that the United States and its allies like Saudi Arabia, which on March 14, 2011 sent 1,200 troops to assist the Bahraini government in suppressing the protests, have no real interest in promoting democracy or human rights in North Africa or the Middle East. The hypocritical position of these regimes is only driven by the economic and strategic interest of their imperialist masters.

    As peace loving people around the world we must agree that the United States and other imperialist countries have no right in imposing their will on weaker and poor nations, and we must demand the right of all oppressed nations to self-determination. Liberation from the yoke of colonial powers is the true step for independence and dignity for all oppressed nations. We must demand US out of the Middle East and North Africa!

    For further reading please refer to "Bahrain: Exposing US Hypocrisy in the Middle East" By Nita Palmer in Fire This Time Volume 7 Issue 3, online at http://www.firethistime.net/articles/Volume7/V7N3/FTTV7N3-bahrain.html

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