Bahrain Update



My reliable source on Bahrain sent me this:  “This is a long email.  There’s a lot going on in Bahrain now.

As you know, the National Dialogue will be occurring in March.  The dialogue will be headed by the head of the Parliament who is sectarian and has the intellect of a first grader.  He is a hardliner and a strong supporter of the regime and the Prime Minister.  Of course he doesn’t have any authority since he isn’t from the royal family, so the government is basically sending a message to everyone that it isn’t serious.  In addition over 60 societies (political and non-political) have been invited to the dialogue. Since the government cares so much about expats all of a sudden, they will be invited too.  Here’s a highly informative blogpost discussing the issue:
Also Al Wefaq had a major rally on friday.  Ali Salman’s speech (head of Al Wefaq) wasn’t really clear but from what I understood he is saying that the government isn’t serious about dialogue and that they want meaningful reform.  The National Unity Gathering (pro-government coalition) was supposed to hold a rally on Saturday with the Prime Minister in attendance but for some odd reason, they were asked by the government to cancel the event.  Why?  Who knows
As you probably know, Waad, the secular leftist political society and the strongest opposition group after Al-Wefaq was banned earlier in the crackdown.  Waad offices were destroyed, its leader Ebrahim Sharif was thrown in jail and the house of Muneera Fakhro, one of Waads prominent members was attacked twice.  As a result, Waad had completely disappeared from the picture.
Now for reasons I don’t understand, the government has decided to lift the ban on Waad [See here:  ].  There are also rumors that Ebrahim Sharif as well as many other political prisoners will be released on friday of next week.  Waad also apparently issued an apology to the government on facebook:    The apology basically recognizes the legitimacy of the current Bahraini regime.  If this is true then Waad will have betrayed its constituents.  However, Mureena Fakhro was recently interviewed on twitter and she stated that Waad has no intention of backing down from its original demands, that it stands firmly with Al Wefaq and that it will settle for nothing less than a constitutional monarchy.  She said that no official statement has been released by Waad and that they will be releasing one shortly.
There also have been rumors that many Waad members are resigning due to political differences (i.e. the rumors are that many members of waad no longer support it and instead now support the national unity gathering) but Muneera Fakhro stated that there are no resignations that she is aware of.  Al Wefaq then tweeted that it welcomes the decision to reinstate Waad and that it is confident that Waad will remain strong and faithful to its history although it recognizes that because it was banned it was under a lot of pressure.  The Democratic Progressive Tribune (smaller leftist opposition society) also tweeted that it stands firmly with Waad and Al Wefaq.  Al Wefaq, the Progressive Democratic Tribune and Muneera Fakhro’s statements all appear to be in response that the 7 opposition societies are splitting because of Waads apology (which Muneera Fakhro seems to deny).
Meanwhile, the US Assistant Secretary of State is in Bahrain and he gave a speech on the importance of dialogue and moving on:  / This speech would have been welcomed had it been issued on February 14 but now things have changed.  Also the editor of Al Wasat is on trial: And in an idiotic move, the Bahraini government has decided to sue the Independent:
As usual, the government is sending mixed messages.  What does the reinstatement of Waad mean?  Why now?  Is it because of US pressure or do they have a plan in mind?  The government is obviously not serious about dialogue.  If you can provide any sort of analysis as to what is going on please let us all know!  I am really worried about what will happen next.  Of course there is one thing that consoles me:  The government has made mistake after mistake after mistake so I doubt they will be getting any smarter (but you never know – the US is in Bahrain now and might try to advise them)”

Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil

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