February 18, 2011
Bahrain's Monarchy is flagrantly stupid
First, the bloody repression they launched seems to me to have been mostly unnecessary and just plain idiocy - unless they are willing to go the full Qadhdhafi. Of course doing so would fuck their aspirations as a banking and commerce centre right into a cocked hat.
This note from BBC on Nicholas Kristof is quite on:
BBC News - Protests across the Middle East and North Africa
1023: Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times tells the BBC World Service that he has heard Bahrain's royal family is unhappy with his reporting: "I've heard that through the PR firms that they hire. There is apparently a campaign to get me fired - I don't really know how they're going to proceed with that. Most remarkably, one member of the royal family tweeted that I am supplying weapons to outlaws and that I have ties to Hezbollah. To me this was a reflection of the completely delusional world in which the government lives. The government does not want reporters here... This is a wealthy country, it's cosmopolitan, it's well-educated, it's a banking centre. And then they have this thuggish behaviour, with police sent in firing on people, crowds. It is astonishing and it breaks your heart."
Presuming Kristof is correctly reporting the Royal Tweets (to be taken with a grain of salt, as of course a Tweet I am not sure is confirmable as to source, etc), that is indeed delusional. It does seem in keeping with the style of response. But the response really makes no sense given Bahrain's aspirations.
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They're still shooting. It's hard to see the monarchy coming out of this stronger.
Posted by: Dubaiwalla at February 18, 2011 12:55 PM
indeed, and this is their diplo offensive:
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Bahrani anti-goverment protesters carry coffin of Ali Massour Khodier, in Sitra village, Bahrain Bahraini anti-government protesters carry the coffin of Ali Massour Khodier, 22, who died during clashes with riot police on Thursday, during his funeral procession in Sitra village, Bahrain, this morning. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP
7pm GMT - Bahrain:
The Washington Post's Janine Zacharia has also been doing some excellent work this week in Manama. Today she reports on the latest violence with eyewitnessing saying that armoured personal carriers opened fire with their machine guns near Pearl roundabout:
"The APCs came, three or four of them, and started firing shots," Mazen Mahdi, a Bahraini photojournalist who was accompanying the procession, said in an interview. "The first was a warning shot in the air. But after that, they just opened fire at the people."
Mahdi described the shooting as live fire from machine guns. After about 30 minutes, the police, who had retreated to let the APCs approach, returned and fired tear gas, dispersing all demonstrators from the area.
Mahdi said he saw ambulance crews being prevented from reaching the site. "They shot at the ambulances when they came in," he said.
There was no statement from the military, but an official at the Interior Ministry sent a text message to Bahrainis Friday night urging them to stay indoors.
6.45pm GMT - Bahrain:
The Bahraini diplomatic offensive continues with the country's special envoy to the US, Latif al-Zayani, appearing on CNN to say that the attacks on the protesters this week were legal and "necessary", as well as "proportional":
The kingdom is really committed to democracy. Democracy is a trip we have started.
It could be a long trip, if today's events are anything to go by
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 18, 2011 02:26 PM
I wonder: at what point would Saudi Arabia decide to send tanks across the King Fahd bridge?
Surely a Shia takeover of Bahrain, right next to their own Shia-populated oil fields, is well beyond their red lines...
Posted by: alle at February 18, 2011 06:24 PM
Unrelated (get an open thread!), but I just heard that the Obama admin has used their Security Council veto for the first time ever, to stop a resolution about - yeah, guess.
Indeed: to block a resolution backed by every other SC member, becaused it criticized Israeli settlements.
It wouldn't even have made any difference if it had passed, since SC policy is already that the settlements are illegal (there are lots of old resolutions on this), but apparently the State Department felt that this is the perfect moment to provoke Arab public opinion.
Well played by the PLO though (for once), even if they didn't get the resolution.
Posted by: alle at February 18, 2011 06:50 PM