Thursday, 17 February 2011

A Different Type Of Protest In Bahrain

One thing i have noticed about the protests in the Middle East recently is the lack of American and Israeli flags being burned in the streets.
Usually when a protest erupts in Middle Eastern streets, it is boom time for whoever has the licence to supply the star and stripes in those countries. I take that to mean that the protesters are acting out of their own interests to remove dodgy leaders running their countries rather than being angry at being at the beck and call of the West.
There was a moment during the Egyptian protest when a protester held up a tear gas canister to the camera and pointed out the 'Made in America' stamp on the side of it but America cannot be blamed for supplying the riot gear to Bahrain, because Britain beat them to it.
The batons, riot shields and tear gas being fired at the protesters has all been supplied by good old Blighty which has led to MP's calling for an end to the export of riot control equipment to Bahrain.
Bahrain's record on human rights has been praised as one of the most progressive in the Middle East by human rights groups and the UN, although it was starting from a very low level where brutal suppression of demonstrations were usual, so the protests are not so much against a corrupt and heavy handed leadership, its mainly the majority Shia population who are sidelined by the ruling Sunni's.
America has its 5th Fleet and the UK Navy ships stationed in Bahrain so the King of Bahrain won't be receiving a phone call from Obama or Cameron suggesting he steps down anytime soon. Also in the mix is Saudi Arabia who give support, military and logistical, to Bahrain mostly because it is in its own interests to suppress any Shia uprisng less they make things uncomfortable for the Saudi Arabian leadership in their own country.
If Iran, a Shia country, begins sniffing around then things could take a very different turn to how they went in Egypt and Tunisia and if America is seen to be backing the King and the security forces killing protesters, the flag suppliers had better start stocking up.


Anonymous said...

you act like nobody else would make weapons if the US and UK didn't. that seems unlikely Polly...


Lucy said...

Don't you feel a bit ashamed when you see police or the army of another country wading into peaceful protesters and know that we sold them the weapons? Even worse, they are our 'friends'.

Anonymous said...


i dont feel ashamed by the action of other people. i cant make someone be nice or mean. and they cant make me be nice or mean.

dont you have enough to deal with without being responsible for the choices of others?

i care about people, that is why i organize and lead mission trips. that is why i spend a lot of time with youth. but, i won't take credit or blame for what they do... it would overstate my control and understand theirs.