Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bahrain update

Angry Arab chief correspondent in Bahrain sent me this (her identity can't be revealed for the obvious GCC reasons):  "The February 14 Youth Movement have declared today as Youm Haq taqrir alma9eer (I guess the translation would be, the  day of the right to self determination).  There are protests everywhere, much bigger than usual. So far, I have heard of the following villages being attacked:  AlDaih, AlDair, AlBurhama, Bani Jamra, AlNuaam, and Salmabad.  AlDair, next to the airport and on the island of Muharraq was aggressively attacked. I am unclear as to whether they were attacked by the royal guard, the army the riot police or a combination of all three.  The slogans were directed at the King himself instead of the Prime Minister (as the slogans of the legal opposition are).  The rest of the villages went out in larger numbers to distract the regime and to remove their focus from AlDair. They are resisting bravely though they are not armed. They did manage to cause some disruption. Flights from the airport have been delayed/cancelled.  From what I am understanding, these are the biggest protests yet after the crackdown or at least during this month.  The protests are still dispersed and of course incomparable to the large protests that existed in february. But they are still extremely well coordinated. They are all happening and the same time and it seems like they are all in contact with one another. 
Another interesting thing that happened is the re-opening of Waads headquarters (remember it was destroyed during the crackdown). All the legal opposition groups were there and for a first time in a long time they all gave speeches stressing the unity of the opposition and the fact that they will not be backing away from their goals.  They seemed much stronger, more unified and more confident than they have been the past few months.  They are going back to the february days where they are speaking in a united strong voice.  Of course they reiterated their demands: A constitutional monarchy, an elected PM and parliament, the release of all prisoners, the reinstatement of the workers etc.  Ebrahim Sharif even managed to smuggle out a message to everyone from prison which the head of Waad read.  Their latest move is of course to boycott the elections which is driving the regime crazy.  I told you in my previous email that half of the districts have no candidates.  Well the government seemed to have scrambled and found a bunch of slaves to run now.  I wonder what the turnout will be.  I forgot to mention to you previously, there is now a religious shia pro-government political party:  I'm guessing they have some candidates.