Despite initial fear and speculation about foreign support to AlSaud’s offensive aggression on Yemen, UK has now confirmed that it is providing precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia to use in airstrikes against targets in Yemen, according to The Times Newspaper (17th July). In a written response to a House of Lords question, the defence minister, Earl Howe, said: “We are providing technical support, precision-guided weapons and exchanging information with the Saudi Arabian armed forces through pre-existing arrangements.” He conceded that “In addition to the personnel who continue to provide support for equipment supplied, we have a small number of liaison personnel in Saudi and coalition air and maritime headquarters. This includes personnel in the Maritime Coalition Co-ordination Centre in the region, supporting the delivery of humanitarian aid into Yemen.” Defence News, an online magazine said that the weapons are understood to be Paveway IV precision-guided bombs originally destined for the RAF. This is the first official admission by a Western country of involvement in the Saudi aggression on Yemen’s people. Lord Howe’s admission has sent shock waves and added new dimensions to the illegitimate war. Saudi Arabia, like Britain, flies Typhoon and Tornado fast jets, which carry the 500lb munitions. The Saudis have been using the weapons for strike missions against ISIS targets in Syria and against Yemeni people, Defence News reported.
In the week between 13-19th July at least 29 native Bahrainis including six children were arrested by the Alkhalifa regime. More people were arrested in the past two days. Yesterday four people were detained from the Sanabis Town; Hussain Al Sami’e, Taha Hakim AlSheikh, Murtada Adwin and Mohammad Jassim Al Awainati. A female prisoner of conscience, Taiba Darwish, has been remanded in custody for two more weeks for taking part in anti-regime protests. The release of another female political detainee, Zahra Al Sheikh and her 15 months baby only happened after she had served her full sentence of one year in jail for being involved in anti-regime protests.
As the Revolutionary groups declared preparation to mark what they call “Bahraini Hostage Day” on 24th July, many inmates at Jaw Central Prison started hunger strike to protest the deteriorating conditions in the notorious torture centre. The situation there is described as “appallingly overcrowded and unfit for human habitation”.
It’s the time of the year when high school students graduate and prepare to go to the universities of their choice. But for some students in Bahrain, specifically Shiites, activists and government opponents, the path that awaits them is not so bright. One of these ill-fated students is Mustafa Mohammed Ismael who is in jail instead of pursuing his dream of studying medicine. Mustafa graduated top of his class from high school with grades averaging 98.8 percent. OnAugust 15, 2013, Mustafa, who is now 18, was walking out of his grandfather’s house in Nuwaidrat when he was stopped by security patrol. He was charged with illegal gathering and initially sentenced to six months. The court of appeal later reduced the sentence to three months and released him on bail 24 days later. This year the regime has committed what is termed “scholarships massacre”, denying bright students of native origin the chance to pursue their studies while granting pro-regime loyalists grants and scholarships. This is one of the most outrageous Apartheid policies of Bahrain’s dictator.
The ferocious and systematic attack on freedom of speech has outraged even the supporters of the regime. The arrest of Ibrahim Sharif has deprived the dictator of any praise for the release of Nabeel Rajab. There are strong demands that all charges against him, Mr Sharif, Sheikh Ali Salman and Bahrain 13, be dropped. The United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, criticized the Bahraini “government’s crackdown on three opposition figures,” referring to the arrest of Wa’ad leader “Ebrahim Sharif,” prosecution of the Al-Wefaq figure Majeed Milad and retrial of the leader of the opposition in Bahrain, Sheikh Ali Salman. Index on Censorship calls on King Hamad to release all the political prisoners currently serving sentences on spurious charges,” Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg said. UN experts have also called for releasing all political prisoners and dropping charges relating to freedom of expression levelled against most of them. In London 39 MPs have signed Petition 241 calling on the Government of Bahrain to allow free speech and stop persecution of people for speaking out, protesting or calling for their rights. It also calls on the UK Government to list Bahrain as a “0country of concern”.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
22 July 2015