Bahrain: Protesters condemn Saudi invasion to crush protests, accuse US of complicity

[This is a public letter, addressed to US President Barack Obama by protesters in Bahrain, under the name of the Movement of 14 February. The letter was circulated on March 15, 2011. The text first appeared at the Jadaliyya website.]

Mr President,

You certainly know about the Saudi and other gulf troops arriving to Bahrain to aid the government in clamping down the peaceful protesters. If you can find any legal, logical or ethical justification for this intervention, can you find any justification as well to them forming thugs attacking peaceful Bahrainis in their own homes and villages, killing them with live rounds, intimidating women and children in these areas, and boasting themselves with a "claimed" American green light!!

Mr President, having listened to your addresses in many occasions, we find it difficult to believe that you and the United States could stand by in such an inhumane and resentful situation that Bahrainis are witnessing today, for the simple sin of peacefully claiming civic, political and human rights. We urge you Mr. President to take a position that will be remembered by your own people as well as the Bahraini people and all peoples in this miserable region of the world.

We ask for a clear and firm stance from the US administration towards the ill-intentioned, arrogant and murderous actions of the Bahraini regime with the help of neighboring Gulf regimes.

This is the outcry of peaceful Bahraini protesters, and we heartily hope that it will meet your wise and just support.

Movement of 14 February

Coalition for a Republic position on recent events in Bahrain

[The following statement was issued by the Bahraini Coalition for a Republic on March 14, 2011. Both English and Arabic versions of the statement have been circulated together. The text first appeared at the Jadaliyya website. For more information on the Coalition, see Jadaliyya's reports on its formation as well as its first statement.]

This statement will discuss the coalition’s position on:

  • Dialogue with the regime,
  • the invasion Saudi Arabia,
  • armed government militia,
  • the US role,
  • the responsibility of the international community,
  • general labour strikes and acts of civil disobedience.

In the name of God the most merciful

In recent days, and one month after the start of the revolution, Bahrain has witnessed a series of developments related to the popular revolution which started on February 14, 2011. The people, in very large numbers and with great bravery, have responded and taken part in the events called to by the youth groups of February 14. Despite unprecedented intimidation, threats and obstacles hundreds of thousands of people joined the march to the Royal Court on Friday and to the Safriya palace on Saturday. Both marches shared a very clear and unified demand of bringing down the regime, and both proved to be peaceful despite vicious attacks carried out by the security forces in cooperation with government thugs after the end of the march to the royal court which caused injuries to hundreds of protesters.

A call by the Workers' Union and the opposition for general strike on Sunday was respected by 80% of students and workers in all parts of Bahrain, which came at the same time as escalated acts of peaceful civil disobedience for example the blocking of some main streets in the capital, Manama. Bahrain has been living, since the beginning of the week, in a state of paralysis in most government and private sectors.

On the other hand, the last few days have seen a serious escalation in the violent attacks by armed government thugs against school and university students in the University of Bahrain who raided the campus alongside security forces, and against peaceful neighbourhoods in villages and in the capital Manama, which led to many injuries from sharp objects like swords, knives and sticks.

On Sunday, a big number of security forces and government thugs attacked the peaceful protesters at Bahrain Financial Harbour and then headed towards Martyrs Sqaure (aka Pearl Roundabout), and they surrounded the roundabout from three sides preparing to attack. However, thousands of Bahrainis marched to the square, which led to the retreat of the security forces and government thugs but only after causing hundreds of injuries amongst the peaceful protesters. The protesters succeeded in lifting the siege on Martyrs Square, and they returned to their sit-in protest on martyrs square, Bahrain financial harbor and the roads leading to it.

The Coalition for a Republic has been following the statements by the regime yesterday on the principles and themes of dialogue which has been called by opposition parties and the popular movement, and also the regimes request for military help from some Gulf Cooperation Counci (GCC) countries, which started arriving to Bahrain today.

The Coalition reiterates the principles in the statement made on March 7, 2011, in particular the call for the fall of the regime and its replacement with a democratic republic, and that it will cooperate with the popular movement, the youth of February 14 and all other groups who believe in this justified popular revolutionary goal which is to be reached through peaceful means through the use of civil resistance and civil disobedience.

The alliance announces the following:

1. What the regime has announced so far in the name of dialogue is nothing but empty declarations in a desperate attempt to respond to, protract and stall the revolution. Ironically, this attempt coincides with the regime's escalation of suppression and use of armed government thugs against peaceful citizens, including women and children, and the use of foreign military forces to engage governments of neighbouring countries in the losing battle to keep their thrones propping oppressive monarchies. Thus, the false call for dialogue using empty rhetoric does not change the reality of the matter and will not tempt any of the people and the opposition parties to abandon the people's demands for real and complete change.

2. The involvement of military forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries to contribute in the suppression of a peaceful and popular revolution, is an interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain, and has no legal justification, as the military defense agreements for the GCC is to repel external aggression and not to suppress the peoples of these countries who demand freedom and democracy. This contradicts with the philosophy of the GCC which is based on cooperation between the peoples of the GCC countries and not on fueling sectarianism, which invites the interference of other forces in the region. Therefore, any presence of GCC military forces in Bahrain is an illegal occupation which aims to suppress the will of the people, and troops should be withdrawn immediately. It is worth noting that experience has shown that the security and military options will not succeed in breaking the will of the people in Bahrain or in ending their peaceful revolution.

3. The government holds complete responsibility of the horrific crimes committed by the armed government thugs rampaging and reigning terror from east to west of Bahrain by using swords, knives, guns and rifles and other sharp objects, and which have resulted in tens of serious injuries. These severe violations of human rights will be among the crimes that this government will be prosecuted for. The use of government thugs has not convinced anyone that there are sectarian clashes as the regime intended to show, it also did not provoke people into abandoning their peaceful movement which has so far made them victorious over military and security forces and will also, god willing, make them victorious over government thugs. We have seen how the attacks of these thugs has led to an initiative of forming popular committees and safety patrols in different areas and villages across the country, to protect the peaceful population. While being peaceful and civilised, as is now the trademark of this revolution and its revolutionaries, this is an important step towards the collapse of the regime and the transfer of power to the people.

4. These latest developments, from acts of repression in recent days as well as foreign military intervention, coincided with the visit of US secretary of defence to Bahrain, Robert Gates. This raises many questions about the United States’ role in the current situation and makes it a partner in what is going on from violations of human rights to denying the Bahraini people their legitimate right to democracy and freedom. This cannot be in the interest of the US administration and the consolidation of relations and common interests between the peoples of the region and the United States.

5. The Coalition for the Republic demands that the United Nations, the international community and international organisations assume their responsibility in monitoring what is happening in Bahrain, and support the peaceful popular movement and its rightful demands. Futhermore, all measures must be taken to record and document the violations of the regime, the intended absence of law and order, and the legality of the Saudi invasion of Bahrain. The international community must condemn in clear language the actions of this regime, and they must send fact-finding missions to investigate what is happening on the ground and the truth.

6. The Coalition supports the popular and open strike by students, workers and professionals. Moreover, the Coalition supports acts of organised and peaceful civil disobedience announced by February 14 youth groups. These strikes and acts of civil disobedience are the way to achieve major demands which the people have sacrificed for.

God bless our martyrs and lead us to a victory against oppressors.

Issued by the Coalition for a Republic

March 14, 2011

Official spokesman: Abdulwahab Hussain

Media spokesman: Hasan Mushaimi

بيان التطورات

موقف "التحالف من أجل الجمهورية" من تطورات الأحداث الاخيرة في البحرين
الموقف من : "الحوار"، والغزو السعودي، وبلطجة النظام، والدور الأميركي، والمسؤولية الدولية، والاضرابات العمالية وأعمال العصيان المدني

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا ونبينا محمد وأهل بيته الطيبين الطاهرين وأصحابه المنتجبي

شهدت البحرين في الايام الاخيرة وبعد مرور شهر كامل على إنطلاقة الثورة المباركة جملة تطورات نوعية تتعلق بمسار الثورة الشعبية التي انطلقت في 14 فبراير 2011م، فقد تجاوب الشعب باعداد هائلة وبشجاعة منقطعة النظير مع دعوة مجموعات شباب 14 فبراير إلى الزحف نحو الديوان الملكي في يوم الجمعة ونحو قصر الصافرية في يوم السبت الماضيين رغم الترويع والتهديدات غير المسبوقة والمعوقات الكثيرة، وكان شعاره موحدا وواضحا وهو المطالبة باسقاط النظام، واثبت مجددا نهجه السلمي برغم الاعتداء الآثم الذي قامت به قوات الامن بالتعاون مع الميليشيات المسلحة (بلطجية النظام الحاكم) بعد انفضاض مسيرة الديوان الملكي مما ادى الى اصابة مئات المواطنين، كما بدأ منذ يوم الاحد الاضراب عن الدراسة والعمل في جميع انحاء البحرين، وتزامن ذلك مع تصعيد اعمال العصيان المدني السلمية ومنها قطع بعض الشوارع الرئيسية في العاصمة المنامة، وتعيش البحرين منذ بداية الاسبوع حالة من الشلل في معظم المرافق الحكومية والخاصة .

في المقابل شهدت الايام الاخيرة تصاعدا خطيرا في الهجمات الآثمة لميلشيات النظام (البلطجية) ضد الطلبة والطالبات في المدارس وجامعة البحرين وضد السكان الآمنين في احياء العاصمة المنامة وبعض القرى، مما ادى الى العشرات من الاصابات بالادوات الحادة ومنها السيوف والسكاكين والعصي . وفي يوم الاحد قامت اعداد ضخمة من قوات الأمن المصحوبة بالمليشيات بمهاجمة المعتصمين بساحة المرفأ المالي ثم اتجهت الى ميدان الشهداء (دوار اللؤلؤة) حيث حاصرته من ثلاث جهات تمهيدا لاقتحامه، الا ان زحف عشرات الآلاف من ابناء الشعب نحو الميدان ادى الى هروب القوات الامنية والميليشيات بعد ان اوقعت المئات من المصابين بين المحتجين المسالمين، ونجح الثوار في فك الحصار عن ميدان الشهداء واعاد ابناء الثورة تواجدهم السلمي في المرفأ المالي والشوارع المؤدي اليه


وقد تابع "التحالف من اجل الجمهورية" ما اعلن عنه النظام الحاكم امس الاحد بشأن مبادئ ومواضيع الحوار الذي ما فتأ يدعو اليه اطراف المعارضة والتحرك الشعبي، وكذلك لجوء النظام لطلب المساعدة العسكرية من بعض دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي، والتي بدأت اليوم في الوصول الى البحرين

ان "التحالف من اجل الجمهورية" اذ يؤكد على جميع ما أعلنه في بيانه الأول بتاريخ 7 مارس 2011، وخصوصا بشأن تبنى خيار إسقاط النظام القائم في البحرين وإقامة نظام جمهوري ديمقراطي، وبأنه يعمل مع جماهير أبناء الشعب الأحرار ومجموعات ثورة (14/ فبراير) وكل القوى الاخرى المؤمنة بهذا الخيار الثوري الشعبي المشروع لانجازه بإرادة شعبية وبالأساليب السلمية الثورية ضمن منهج المقاومة المدنية والعصيان المدني، فان التحالف يعلن التالي

أولا : ان ما اعلنه نظام الحكم حتى الآن باسم الحوار لا يعدو اعلانات فارغة وغير جدية ومحاولات يائسة للالتفاف على مطالب الشعب الاساسية، والمثير للسخرية انها تتزامن مع تصعيده للقمع الامني واستخدام المليشيات المسلحة ضد المواطنين الآمنين والنساء والاطفال، والاستعانة بقوات عسكرية خارجية لتوريط حكومات بلدان مجاورة في معركته الخاسرة للاحتفاظ بكرسي الحكم في المملكة الاستبدادية، وبالتالي فان تزويق الدعوة للحوار ببعض العبارات او المطالب لن يغير من واقع الحال شيئا ولن يغري اي من اطراف الشعب والمعارضة للتخلي عن مطالب الشعب في التغيير الحقيقي الشامل

ثانيا : ان تدخل قوات عسكرية من المملكة العربية السعودية ودول مجاورة للمساهمة في قمع الثورة الشعبية السلمية في البحرين، هو تدخل في الشؤون الداخلية للبحرين، وليس له اي مبرر قانوني حيث ان اتفاقيات الدفاع العسكرى لمجلس التعاون هي لصد العدوان الخارجي وليس لقمع شعوب هذه الدول المطالبة بالحرية والديمقراطية، وهذا يخالف فلسفة المجلس القائمة على التعاون بين شعوب دول المجلس وليس اذكاء الفتن الطائفية، وهي دعوة لتدخل قوى اخرى في المنطقة، وبناء على ذلك فان اي تواجد لقوى عسكرية خليجية في البحرين هو بمثابة احتلال غير شرعي يهدف إلى قهر ارادة الشعب، ولابد من سحبه فورا، وقد ثبت بالتجربة مع الثورة في البحرين بأن الخيار الامني والعسكري لن ينجح في كسر ارادة الشعب وتغيير نهجهم السلمي 

ثالثا : ان نظام الحكم يتحمل كامل المسؤلية بشأن الاعمال الشنيعة التي تقوم بها المليشيات المسلحة بالسيوف والسكاكين والادوات الحادة (البلطجية) والتي خلفت حتى الآن العشرات من الاصابات الخطيرة، وان هذه من الخروقات البليغة لحقوق الانسان ستكون من ضمن الجرائم التي سيتم ملاحقة المسؤولين في النظام عليها، علما بان استخدام هذه المليشيات لم يقنع حتى الآن اي احد بوجود صدامات طائفية كما كان يريد ان يوحي النظام، كما انها لن تستفز ابناء الشعب والثورة للتخلي عن سلمية تحركهم التي انتصروا بها حتى الآن على قوات النظام العسكرية والامنية وسوف ينتصرون بها باذن الله على الميليشيات البلطجية، وقد راينا كيف ان استخدام النظام لتلك الميليشيات قد ادى الى مبادرة المناطق والقرى في انحاء البلاد الى تشكيل اللجان الشعبية لحماية السكان الآمنين مع احتفاظهم التام بنهجهم السلمي ومظهرهم الحضاري المشرف للثورة والثوار، وهي خطوة مهمة في طريق انهيار النظام وانتقال السلطة الى الشعب 

رابعا : ان ما حدث من اعمال القمع خلال الايام الاخيرة وكذلك التدخل العسكري الخارجي، جاء متزامنا مع زيارة وزير الدفاع الاميركي الى البحرين يوم الجمعة أو لاحقا لها، مما يطرح العديد من علامات الاستفهام على الدور الاميركي، ويجعله شريكا في ما يحدث من انتهاكات لحقوق الانسان وفي حرمان الشعب البحريني من حقوقه المشروعة في الديمقراطية والحرية، وذلك لا يمكن ان يكون في مصلحة الإدارة الأمريكية وتوطيد العلاقات والمصالح المشتركة بين شعوب المنطقة والولايات المتحدة الاميركية 

خامسا : ان "التحالف من اجل الجمهورية" يطالب الامم المتحدة والمجتمع الدولي والمنظمات الدولية ان تتحمل مسؤوليتها في مراقبة ما حدث ويحدث في البحرين، ومساندة حركة الشعب السلمية ومطالبه العادلة، واتخاذ كافة الاجراءات لكشف وتوثيق ما يجري واتخاذ اجراءات فعالة لوقف الانتهاكات التي يقوم بها النظام، ومن ذلك التحدث بلغة واضحة وصريحة مع نظام الحكم، وارسال بعثات تقصي الحقائق لما يجري على الارض 

سادسا : يساند "التحالف من اجل الجمهورية" الاضراب الشامل والمفتوح الذي يقوم به الطلبة والعمال والموظفين واصحاب المهن، كما يؤيد على الفعاليات واعمال العصيان المدني السلمية المنظمة التي تعلن عنها مجموعات شباب 14 فبراير، باعتبار ان استمرار تلك الاضرابات والفعاليات هي الطريق الى تحقيق المطالب الكبرى وحفظ دماء الشهداء وتضحيات المواطنين . 

اللهم ارحم شهداءنا الابرار، وانعم علينا بالنصر القريب

صادر عن : التحالف من أجل الجمهورية

بتاريخ : 19 / ربيع الأول / 1432هج

الموافق : 14 / مارس ـ آذار / 2011م

`Save the people of Bahrain from the threat of a foreign army'

March 14, 2011 -- Jadaliyya -- Troops from the Gulf Cooperation Counci (GCC) Peninsula Shield Forces, originating mostly from Saudi Arabia but also the United Arab Emirates, arrived in Bahrain on March 14. When the Bahraini Crown Prince visited Saudi Arabia last week, he was given an ultimatum and a deadline: either the Bahraini government takes control of the situation and ends the month old anti-government protests, or Saudi Arabia would send its troops to do the job.

While Bahrain’s ruler did issue an appeal for help to the GCC, critics have said that this was in response to pressure by Saudi Arabia, whose deadline given to the Bahraini ruler expired March 13. According to the BBC, Saudi King Abdullah informed the US administration of the decision to send GCC troops into Bahrain to quell the pro-democracy protests. Today the White House announced that it does not consider the entry of over 1000 foreign troops -- mostly Saudi Arabian  --into Bahrain an “invasion” and called on the Bahraini government to “exercise restraint”.

Omanis and Kuwaitis have threatened their respective governments with major strikes if their national troops are sent with the GCC Shield Forces into Bahrain. Foreign journalists have reported being harassed by the Bahraini government in the lead up to the troops’ arrival, with many journalists “asked” to leave the country by the end of the day. Others have simply been refused entry into Bahrain at the airport. The UK has issued a travel advisory warning its citizens against travel to Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia has evacuated its students who attend universities in the neighboring island.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered at the now famous Pearl Roundabout today in response to the news of foreign troops reaching Bahrain.

Tens of casualties have been reported due to clashes between protesters and pro-government thugs using live ammunition. According to eyewitness accounts from Bahrain, pro-government thugs are wreaking havoc everywhere, trying to create the impression that the security situation is out of control, dangerous and merits foreign GCC military intervention. The use of tear gas and rubber bullets has also been reported in several Bahraini towns, including Dar Kleyb and Shahrakan. As opposition figures currently meet with the King, Bahrain TV has announced that the second wave of GCC
 Shield Troops has arrived in Bahrain.

Below is a Jadaliyya translation of a plea by civil society institutions and political parties allied to the opposition in Bahrain calling on the United Nations Secretary General to convene the Security Council and prevent what they see as a foreign military intervention by the GCC. The original Arabic version is reproduced below the translation.

14 March 2011

Urgent Appeal: Save the people of Bahrain from the threat of a foreign army.

Mr. Ban Ki-moon

Secretary General of the United Nations

We are the people of Bahrain, and when we went out in a peaceful and
 civilised manner to demand our rights that are guaranteed under international conventions, our demands were met with violent campaigns planned by the security and military apparatuses and executed by those under its command.

The more dangerous development at the time of writing this urgent appeal is the serious threat of entry by Saudi Arabian and other Gulf forces to confront the isolated, unarmed people of Bahrain. This situation means that the people of Bahrain are in real danger of being threatened with a [real] war waged by an armed force against the citizens of Bahrain without [having issued] a formal [public] declaration of war. We consider the entry of any soldier or military vehicle into the territory -- whether air space, land, or waters -- of the Kingdom of Bahrain an occupation of the Kingdom of Bahrain, a conspiracy against the isolated people of Bahrain, and a in violation of international treaties and international understandings of war and peace.

We thus call on the international community to shoulder the responsibility of international peace and security in a speedy manner, to protect the people of Bahrain from the dangers of foreign military intervention, to urgently move towards preventing any soldiers and military vehicles from entering the territories of Bahrain, and to take whatever necessary steps are needed to protect civilians by calling on the Security Council to hold an immediate emergency session to discuss these developments.

Signed by the following political societies and the National Coalition:

al-Wifaq National Islamic Society

National Democratic Action Society

al-Minbar Progressive Democratic Society

Nationalist Democratic Gathering Society

Islamic Action Society

al-Ikha’ National Society

National Democratic Gathering Society

The National Coalition

Below is the original Arabic appeal that has been circulating on the internet.

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Sat, 03/19/2011 - 22:30


by Jadaliyya Reports
[Image from unknown archive.]
[Image from unknown archive.]

The Pearl Roundabout is gone. On Friday, March 18, Bahraini government forces exploded the structure that had been built in 1932 as a commemoration to the importance of pearl diving to Bahrain's pre-oil economy. The six twisted arms of the sculpture (meant to be dhow sails) that held the concrete Pearl in place symbolized the different emirates that together form the Gulf Cooperation Council. More recently, the site had become the focal point of ongoing anti-government protests and violence unleashed against these civilian protestors by both Bahraini and GCC security forces. Because of these protests, the site had experienced a re-signification of meaning for Bahrainis, the Arab world, and the international community. It became one more bone in a skeleton that joins Egypt's Tahrir square, Yemen's Sana`a University, and Libya's Benghazi. No longer a site that ties the history of the Bahraini monarchy to the history of that country's economic modernization and to the history (and successes) of the GCC, the Pearl Roundabout came to index histories of protest against the excesses of monarchical rule and the history of violence that calls for democratization will, and have been, met with. Today, the Pearl roundabout incites thoughts of uprising against oppressive regimes. It inspires people to revolution. That is why the Bahraini government, on Friday, March 18, laced it with explosives and imploded it, exposing its insides for the world and more importantly, Bahrainis, to see. It wanted to destroy this new meaning that the roundabout spoke, to silence the possibilities that the roundabout stood for. The Bahraini government and its Saudi conspirators have shown that they will destroy even the infrastructure of protest.

The Peal Roundabout is gone. But for now, the Bahraini uprising remains.

Photgraph of demonstrators gathered at Pearl Roundabout:


Video of Bahrain security forces dispersing protesters at Pearl Roundabout the night before demolition:

Another video of Bahrain security forces dispersing protesters at Pearl Roundabout the night before demolition:

Video of demolition of Pearl Roundabout:

Sequence photos of the demolition of the Pearl Roundabout [image source]:

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Mon, 03/21/2011 - 00:38


Bongani Masuku, COSATU International Relations Secretary, 17 March 2011

COSATU has expressed support for the trade union movement and workers of Bahrain in their resolute struggle for democracy and social justice. We call upon the regime of Prime Minister Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa to heed the demands of workers and the people of Bahrain.

We note with serious concern the escalating situation in that country, particularly after the occupying forces of Saudi Arabia entered in gross violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bahrain. We seriously condemn the interference of Saudi Arabian forces in another country and the imposition of the state of emergency in the country by the illegitimate regime of Prime Minister Khalifa.

We also call for full solidarity with the call for a general strike as declared by the General Trade Union of the Workers of Bahrain as security forces intensify their repression, evident in the way they attacked protestors nearby Al Marfaa and the Loulou square using excessive force.

We also call upon the media to pay as much attention to the suffering people and workers of Bahrain and not be selective by avoiding attention to an area which is dominantly controlled by US forces who have now intervened to talk about dialogue that maintains the basis of the oppressive regime. We know that Bahrain and its neighbouring states, particularly Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and even Yemen are all satellite states of the US and most have military bases of the US, hence their strategic and political significance to the empire.

We support the ITUC call for global action in solidarity with the working and struggling people of Bahrain and further support the world to expose the double standards of the powerful countries and their vested interests in this part of the world. In this regard, we reiterate our call for support of the workers and people of the whole Middle East in their heroic struggles for democracy, justice and human dignity.