The video at left shows a group of Jordanian activists calling for the release of Al Khawaja during a presentation by Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Ministry of Culture in Amman, Jordan. (h/t TheLadyInRed) Mai Khalifa is just one of the royal family members who control all major roles in the Bahrain government. Apparently, this anti-democratic arrangement is just fine with the Obama administration. After all, they have now resumed arms shipments to the Bahrain monarchy at the very moment when Al Khalifa announced an even sharper crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.
Bahrain vowed on Tuesday to crack down harder on anti-government protests as a leading opposition figure said the government had put a stop to talks on addressing the political grievances that fuelled last year’s pro-democracy uprising.
The Obama administration had put a hold on arms sales while Bahrain investigated itself on human rights violations. That report included clear accounts of severe torture and brutality including the details of the torture of Human Rights Defender Al Khawaja last summer and fall. Now Obama is approving arms sales even as Al Khawaja is on his death bed as he continues his hunger strike for freedom.
Apparently we are supposed to be grateful that Obama is still not selling the regime more tear gas, as Senator Patrick Leahynoted:
“While I am pleased that the administration is continuing to withhold tear gas, small arms and other crowd-control items from the Bahraini security forces, this arms sale sends the wrong message,” Leahy, a Democrat, said in a statement.
“The government of Bahrain has yet to respect the Bahraini people’s legitimate demands, or to hold accountable its own police and military officers for arresting, torturing and killing Bahraini protesters,” Leahy said.
While the torture and killing of Bahraini protestors continues, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was entertaining Crown Prince Al Khalifa. Some see the arms sale as a gesture of support for the Crown Prince who has consistently been promoted as a more reform minded royal even though, as Foreign Policy reports from an administration conference call briefing on the sale:
On the conference call, administration officials could not name one concession or deliverable the crown prince gave or promised in exchange for the goodies he is bringing home with him.
The clearest analysis of this new arms sale comes from Khadija Almousawi, ? wife of AlKhawaja, mother of Zeinab who also remains jailed. Khadija writes:
So I know now that Obama and Clinton do not care if my husband lives or not despite there sugary human rights talk.
OK is given 4 murder of my husband and other Bahrainies.It is not personal,It is business. Its OIL its MONEY that counts
This second video is an episode of Julian Assange’s new program in which he interviews Nabeel Rajab & Alaa Abd. Right after the interview was taped, Rajab was arrested on his return to Bahrain for “insulting tweets” and he remains in jail today. Rajab’s comments about the role of the US in Bahrain and the Gulf are particularly important for understanding the situation and the entire interview really is must viewing for activists. (h/t @Taltool11)