Police State Terror in Bahrain - by Stephen Lendman
Last summer sporadic protests began. By mid-February, major ones erupted. Demonstrators held firm against King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa's regime. Repression and several deaths were reported from live fire.
Anti-government protesters occupied Manama's Pearl Roundabout, Bahrain's equivalent of Cairo's Tahrir Square. They demanded democratic elections, ending sectarian discrimination favoring Sunnis over Shias, equitable distribution of the country's oil wealth, and resignation of the king's uncle, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, prime minister since 1971. They also want political prisoners released and state terror ended.
For weeks, many thousands defied government demands, braving police attacks with tear gas, beatings, rubber bullets, live fire, arrests, torture, and disappearances.
On February 14, Canada's National Post writer Peter Goodspeed headlined, "Trouble in tiny Bahrain (population 1.2 million) carries big implications," saying:
If Bahrain becomes democratic, people throughout the region will be inspired to demand it. As a result, "the ramifications for US foreign policy could be severe. Bahrain is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet," the Pentagon "station(ing) 15 warships, including an aircraft battle group, in the very heart of the Persian Gulf."
"The island state off the coast of Saudi Arabia provides Washington with a perfect base from which it can protect the (region's) flow of oil, keep an eye on Iran and support pro-Western monarchies against potential threats."
On March 14, fearing uprisings against their own regimes, over 1,500 Saudi Arabia-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) military and police security forces invaded Bahrain guns blazing. They attacked peaceful protesters, arrested opposition leaders and activists, occupied the country, denied wounded men and women medical treatment, and imposed police state control in support of the hated monarchy.