February 14, 2013

Bahrain Monarchy Greets Feb14 With Gas, Pellets

In order to tamp down national and international pressure against its totalitarian methods - especially during the 2nd marking of Bahrain's revolutionary ignition - King Hamad's monarchy has arranged the second launch of a National Dialogue to buy time and appease foreign backers. A detailed report of this process will be published shortly, but the National Dialogue is already treading on thin ice and may collapse soon if the situation fails to improve.

To mark February 14th, 2011’s "Day of Rage," Bahraini protesters flooded the streets on Thursday to express their demands for political representation and judicial accountability. Many were met with the type of force that suggests that Bahrain's monarchy won't be changing its ways any time soon. Clashes between demonstrators and state security have been reported around the capital of Manama, which generally remains off limits to organized protests, and feature the King's ubiquitous combination tear gas and bird pellets. Particular incidents were recorded by cell phone in Al Musalla, Bani Jamra, Bilad Al Qadeem, Duraz, Karranah, Sar and other villages that incubate the uprising outside Manama. 

Most urgently, clashes in Al Daih resulted in multiple injuries and at least one casualty after 16-year old Hussein al-Jazeri was shot at close range with a pellet gun. Photographic evidence indicates that he was unarmed - and throwing rocks or Molotovs wouldn't justify the excessive use of force applied to his body. 

On the contrary, disproportionate force is both the strength and fatal weakness of an autocratic regime. Al-Jazeri's killing immediately raised parallels to Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima, whose murder accelerated the uprising on February 14th, 2011, and the residents of Al Daih (home to Mushaima and al-Jazeri) have already responded in the streets.

They too encountered the toxic gas of Bahrain's King and are currently demonstrating in resistance.

Both sides have wasted no time responding with further escalation to Thursday's events. A maximum deployment of security forces has established checkpoints around Manama, leading protesters creating makeshift roadblocks to counter government patrols, and neither side holds any intention of backing down. Meanwhile, the monarchy is content to keep Bahrain's political leadership in cells and further inflame the streets, rather than work to reduce tensions. Various opposition leaders outside of jail have preconditioned their participation on the release of Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and their comrades.

A functioning National Dialogue cannot exist under the present conditions - not when force and deception remain the only languages of Bahrain's monarchy. So long as these types of actions continue, it shouldn't be long before the wobbly legs of King Hamad's "Dialogue" give out again.

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