In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

UK backs Bahraini king crimes

Posted by seumasach on December 19, 2011


19th December, 2011

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In the midst of continued violence by Saudi backed forces in Bahrain, the latest of which has resulted in the death of an infant by teargas, Press TV talks with Saeed Shahabi of the Bahrain Freedom Movement in London about a recent meeting conducted between Al Khalifa and Cameron on reform and how this can be achieved when the Al Khalifa wants to remain in power with immunity and Britain wants also to keep the Sunni minority in power over the 70 percent Shiite majority population who are demanding the collapse of the regime in favor of a democracy. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Upon King Al Khalifa’s visit to London, Prime Minister David Cameron did ask for reform, but what kind of reform is he actually looking for?

Saeed Shahabi We have been following the dictator’s visit to London and it was clear that first of all he was summoned by the prime minister here (London) because I think Western governments are realizing that this regime is incapable of implementing the recommendations contained in the pursuing report. This is one thing.

The other thing unfortunately is the opposite and that is welcoming a dictator whose hands have a lot of blood on them sends the wrong message to the people of Bahrain who are suffering under this regime.

Thirdly, we could see that there is a difference between the public’s stand – the stand by the people; and by the press; and the regime – the government here in the UK. We saw that several newspapers have talked frankly and accused and lambasted the prime minister for receiving a dictator at his office. Also, other human rights bodies have expressed dismay at the way the meeting had taken place.

So, all in all I don’t think it has been a successful trip for either side. The regime of Bahrain has received condemnation; the government of Britain is also condemned for receiving this dictator.

Press TV: We heard the report giving advice to the Bahraini king to try and make some reform. Do you think we might see some kind of change in this stance?

Saeed Shahabi Well, as our other analyst has said, this regime is incapable of reforming itself. If you saw the king himself two days ago when one of our colleagues stood in front of his car outside downing Street in London – he asked his driver to move on; to hit Mr. Abdali and it shows you how arrogant these people are.

Will he pick a fight with his uncle who has been the prime minister for forty years? Unlikely. Will he accept and agree that his son Nasser who had himself tortured some of the prisoners to be tried and brought to justice? Unlikely – impossible. Would he like to give some of the powers to the people and allow the people to govern themselves? It is almost impossible. So, I do not think a dictatorial regime can be transformed into a democratic one whatever it takes even it is probably ready to die and to fall rather than accepting that the citizens become rulers themselves. So, it is very unlikely that this regime can be reformed in any sense.

Press TV: We did hear a call for free elections. Doesn’t this entail the king to let the voice of the people be heard and perhaps even change the prime minister?

Saeed Shahabi First of all we are not calling for elections, we have had elections for the past ten years, but sometimes you may go and elect council to administer torture – an election itself is not really a solution. We need write our own constitution; we need to determine our own destiny; we have to elect our own government.

All of these – none of them are acceptable to the regime. This Al Khalifa has grown for 200 years and has grown used to enslaving people. And this is why they are unlikely to accept that they should be equal to others – they can’t be equal. They will never accept to be equal with the rest of Bahrainis.

And the Bahrainis have decided that the time has come that they should come out of this servitude to a dictatorial regime so I think the bridge between the two sides is unbridgeable, you cannot bridge the differences between the Bahraini people and the ruling family and this is why we believe that it is time that the West puts the pressure on this ruling family to go. If not, the people will topple them sooner or later.

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