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YEMEN AND BAHRAIN June 3, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Middle East.
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Yemen appears to have entered into a civil war and by implication the collapse of the dictatorship. In Bahrain it seems that the dictatorship reinforced by Saudi Arabia is engaged in a vicious suppression of all dissents.

Regarding Yemen, ABC News Online reports:

Heavy battles continue to rage in the Yemeni capital Sanaa where scores of opposition fighters from a key tribe have clashed with government forces. Thousands of armed men are moving towards Sanaa in the latest escalation of violence between forces loyal to president Ali Abdullah Saleh and fighters from the powerful Hashid tribe.

Dozens of people have been killed or wounded, and there are reports of heavy shelling around the city and government warplanes circling above. But Yemen’s defence ministry says army troops have managed to keep the fighters back.

Clearly the situation has developed beyond what is suggested by this report, but the fact that this has occurred is evidence that the system of the dictatorship is now broken. It is interesting to find out what effect the endorsement of the US drone attacks have had on this outcome.

In Bahrain the Monarchy has successfully undertaken a reign of terror against the peaceful protesters. At Counter Punch, Patrick Cockburn writes:

Bahrain’s security forces are increasingly targeting women in their campaign against pro-democracy protestors, despite the official lifting of martial law in the island kingdom yesterday.

The ending of martial law and a call for dialogue from King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, appear to be part of a campaign to show that normal life is returning to Bahrain.

The Bahraini government is also eager to host the Formula One motor race, which was postponed from earlier in the year, but may be rescheduled to take place in Bahrain by the sports governing body meeting in Barcelona tomorrow.

There are growing signs that Bahraini police, riot police and special security are detaining and mistreating more and more women. Many are held incommunicado, forced to sign confessions or threatened with rape according to Bahraini human rights groups.

Ayat al-Gormezi, a 20-year old poet and student at the Faculty of teachers in Bahrain, was arrested on March 30 for reciting a poem critical of the government during the pro-democracy protests in Pearl Square, the main gathering place for demonstrators, in February. She was forced to give herself up after police raided her parents’ house and made four of Ayat’s brothers lie on the shore at gunpoint. She was not there at the time. One policeman shouted at their father “tell us where Ayat is in fifteen minutes or we will kill each of your sons in front of your eyes.”

Masked police and special riot police later took Ayat away telling her mother that her daughter would be interrogated and would have to sign a document. Her mother was told to pick up her daughter from “Al-Howra” police station, but has not seen her since her arrest. She did speak to her once on the phone when Ayat told her that she had been forced to sign a false confession. Her mother has been told confidentially that Ayat is in a military hospital as a result of injuries inflicted when she was tortured.

It is remarkable when a country hosts a US naval base the behavior of the government is not sanctioned for egregious violations of human rights. Still, I suppose, since torture is now part of US Government practice, it is not the behavior they would wish to highlight.

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