Manama (GPA) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Manama, Bahrain to meet Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa as part of his Middle East tour following the normalization between the United Arab Emirates and the Zionist entity on August 13.
Pompeo’s visit aims to forge further diplomatic ties between Tel Aviv and other Gulf monarchies, a step taken against the peoples’ will, who have expressed stinging criticism of this so-called “peace” deal.
For their part, the oppressed people of Bahrain have long rejected bilateral relations with the Zionist apartheid regime practiced by their despotic government. Their political history is associated with supporting the resistance of the Palestinian people and the righteous causes of the Arab and Islamic nations.
The Bahrainis, in all their spectra and factions, deem the normalization scheme as a shameful and treacherous stab in both the back of the Palestinians’ just cause and their popular will.
It is clear that the evil trio of Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the rest of the conspirators are in rush to record a fictitious achievement in the aftermath of their failures in the region.
Manama’s political turmoil has deepened and the popular will has faded beneath the government’s systematic clampdown on the pro-democracy movement since the rhetorical blank check passed in May 2017 by the then newly-elected US president Donald Trump during a convivial meeting with Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, at a summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Trump vowed to the king that, “Our countries have a wonderful relationship together, but there has been a little strain. There won’t be any strain with this administration.”
Among others, these draconian infringements have paved the way to Manama’s audacious position of normalization and which Trump called “free of strain:”
- Less than 48 hours later, the security forces violently raided the village of Diraz and suppressed a sit-in by supporters of the most high-profile Shia cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, whereby five peaceful citizens were murdered, more than 100 were wounded, and 286 were arbitrarily detained.
- Since the green light granted by Trump, Manama has imposed a collective punishment against all forms of freedom of expression, assembly, and association in the country, by abusing existing legislation.
- Arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, stiffening penalties including the death penalty and revocation of citizenship, deteriorating conditions of prisoners and negligence of medical care, a fertile culture of torture and impunity, retaliatory measures against political and human rights advocates and political activists.
The most appealing of all, and which is currently taking place, is the clampdown on religious freedoms of the Shiite majority, during the commemoration period of Ashura.
Hate speech and sectarian stereotyping in the authorities’ media coverage against the Shiite have gone through a new and controversial development. In a recent article, published in Akhbar Al-Khaleej newspaper, Abdel-Moneim Ibrahim draws an analogy between animals and the Shiites who are commemorating Ashura, ignoring the fact that Bahrain’s Shiite religious scholars have repeatedly commended the mourners’ adherence to health precautions designed to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Pompeo’s visit obviously aims at boosting President Trump who faces mounting challenges in his election campaign against his Democratic rival Joe Biden, amid the US deteriorating economy and the drastic outbreak of COVID-19.
Whatsoever, the people of Bahrain reject any agreement between the Zionist entity and the autocratic government, which lacks legitimacy, and which has been backed by those imperialist powers to silence the voice of citizens after secluding the opposition figures behind bars and in exile.
If only the people are guaranteed the right to express their opinions freely and democratically, Pompeo would have witnessed tens of thousands of Bahrainis of all ages, ideologies, and backgrounds breaking out into the streets of Manama waving the Palestinian flags and chanting for al-Quds, stressing their long-standing position on the liberation of Palestine.
Featured photo: U.S. Department of State
Sondoss Al-Asaad is a Lebanese freelance journalist and translator based in Beirut, Lebanon. Al-Asaad writes on issues of the Arab and Muslim world, with a special focus on the situation in Yemen and Bahrain.