State terror in Bahrain


From Common Dreams:

The intimidation and detention of doctors treating dying and injured pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain is revealed today in a series of chilling emails obtained by The Independent.

At least 32 doctors, including surgeons, physicians, pediatricians and obstetricians, have been arrested and detained by Bahrain’s police in the last month in a campaign of intimidation that runs directly counter to the Geneva Convention guaranteeing medical care to people wounded in conflict. Doctors around the world have expressed their shock and outrage.

One doctor, an intensive care specialist, was held after she was photographed weeping over a dead protester. Another was arrested in the theater room while operating on a patient.

Many of the doctors, aged from 33 to 65, have been “disappeared” – held incommunicado or at undisclosed locations. Their families do not know where they are. Nurses, paramedics and ambulance staff have also been detained.

From The Angry Arab News Service:

A person with a Western NGO sent me this:

“Since I’m working for …organization…I would like to inform you about the situation in Bahrain concerning the access to medical care and medical facilities. When we arrive to the country, salmani the reference public hospital, though operational was totally empty. In fact during the demonstrations, people wounded, or having typical wounds resulting from demonstrations were arrested at the hospital, some of them beaten. So most of them are afraid to seek medical care. The chocking news is some shi’a sick people (non wounded) are now afraid to seek care at hospitals because they risk to be arrested . Simply the situation is very sad in arab medias remains silent. As a ..NGO, we had to keep a low profile attitude otherwise, we are at the risk to be kicked out as one official told us . I hope this information would be of your interest.
Best regards
M. ..
P.S: please cite without the name of the organization or my name”

12 responses to “State terror in Bahrain

  1. This is a difficult situation for the Obama Administration. Bahrain is home to the US Fifth Fleet. Meanwhile, Iran is waging a proxy war via local Shia in Bahrain. Since the Shia represent about 70% of the popupation there, the Sunni leaders are understandably trigger happy. Should a Shia revolt succeed there, iran’s next target will be Saudi Arabia. Given Saudi Arabia’s position as the main provider of global spare capacity for oil production, if Saudi falls, so falls the American economy.

    It’s a vicious political calculus, but the Obama Administration’s options are more limited here.

    As much as I’ve criticized the President on Libya, he is doing the prudent thing here by not getting directly involved, but continuing to urge that the Bahraini monarchy use restraint in subduing the Shia threat.

    It’s horrible to watch, but a larger proxy war between Iran and the United States is happening in the shadows now. Iran’s nuclear program was also recently set back by the mysterious Stuxnet virus, which likely came from a US or joint US-Israeli effort – another Bush-Obama victory that neither President can openly claim credit for.


  2. maggieannthoeni

    I’ve heard an occasional telephone interview (via BBC internet radio) on this from personnel within hospitals (a hospital?) in Bahrain, but ?not for a week or so?. What I’ve heard so closely matches what you’ve posted here. I’m so glad you’ve written on this.

    Do, or do any of your readers, have clarity on what can be done to – are there calls from any group(s) for the United Nations to address this misery?

    I keep thinking what “we” really need to do is to shift ‘paradigm’ – or rather, we need to shift the ‘set of paradigms’ we use as ‘definition of human social/governance behavior’. It seems we can’t think beyond hierarchical structures. To my observation, this restricts us to perpetual power-struggle. And perpetual power-struggle means manipulation and political maneuvering – too often by cruel and brutal means. Even when not as cruel or brutal we still ‘accept’ that a ‘statistically measurable number’ of living beings are acceptable ‘collateral loss’.

    I’m not suggesting the Bahrain suffering can be fixed by philosophical discussion. I think we need to address conditions as we find them. But if we don’t have our minds set on a goal of genuine responsibility for life, we won’t begin to shape our structures toward that end.

    Buckminster Fuller said: “We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.” I agree with him, and I’m concerned!

    Any feedback offering clear direction for present conditions that I can support would be much appreciated!!


    • Maggie, your statement: “…we can’t think beyond hierarchical structures…this restricts us to perpetual power-struggle…living beings are acceptable ‘collateral loss’.”, reminds me of the depths of the Cold War, when some high-level US officials actually believed the way to save America was to launch a nuclear first-strike on the Eastern hemisphere of the planet. Or the (possible) US-Iran proxy war described by a commenter above, with the people of Bahrain and other nations in the region used as pawns. The power structure believes what they’re doing is right and good, and as long as they do, ordinary people will suffer.

      I posted this to help draw attention to the situation, but don’t have any concrete answers. If anyone can add to this, please comment.


      • maggieannthoeni

        I hope for an increasing ‘blunt statement’ voice that IF we genuinely want to leave a quality legacy to generations to follow, we’ve got to ‘get real’ and ‘get honest’ (the whole of humanity). Buckminster Fuller observed much that is absolutely on-point now. I think we’re still under some kind of confusion about how ‘pleasantness’, kindness and genuine respect’ can be fitted with ‘unadorned honesty’. (Even if the honesty is only asking blunt questions.) We soften, pull punches, and ‘explain away’ policies and practices that we ‘know’ are ultimately toxic. We do this because we have empathy and genuinely care for and about others.

        I think we need to shift a bit to increased comfort with a ‘clinical’ description of ‘who we humans are.’ I think we can learn that human ‘ignoble’ impulses are not in themselves “wrong” – they are merely innate impulses. We’ve got ‘counter’ innate impulses, such as empathy and spontaneous cooperation – these are ‘our way out’ (imo).

        I’m a huge enthusiast of late 20th Century insights into human psychology. In my teaching experience (high needs elementary school) we practiced a range of “open, honest, respectful, intentional” systems of human relationship, and taught these to kids. The result was greatly improved ‘felt’ safety and enjoyment, which in turn led to much shared cooperative learning, much increased smiles and laughter, and much increased creative expression, comprehension, and ‘felt’ individual confidence.

        This is my ‘drum beat’: That we take the next step in human responsibility for who we are, the step of ‘literacy’ about who/what we are.

        I hope we can make the difference that lets the 21st Century be a major shift in earthly experience! Moe’s work, and the contributions of comments here, are definitely what we need – “all over the place”!

        Thanks for your reply!


        • I believe humans are just as hard-wired for cooperation and empathy as we are for competition and domination. The social and economic structure in any given society, at any given time, determines which characteristics we tend to manifest.


  3. Sean, I seriously doubt the US will abandon Saudi Arabia, its oldest and closest partner in the region, to be overrun by Ahmadinejad’s hordes, for exactly the reasons you state. Neither would Israel.

    But for now, I’m assuming the “threat” is democracy, not Shia Islam. As you say, Obama will publicly urge restraint, while privately doing everything possible to support the monarchy.


    • Iran won’t overtly act against Saudi Arabia, but can target oil infrastructure like the massive Ras Tanura processing facility via Saudi Hizbullah, one of Iran’s Shia proxies.

      The threat is both Shia Islam and democracy. They are one and the same for Bahrain’s rulers.

      Hopefully, Obama can persuade the monarchy to show a lot more restraint. Unfortunately, many of the militaries in this part of the world are not as well-trained as ours to minimize civilian casualties. Add a multiple-century blood fued between two rival religious factions and you have a bloody mess.

      Saudi Arabia is so concerned about the situation that they even sent troops to Bahrain to help quell the revolts.

      What a mess.,


      • Well, I’m not so sure about the intentions of the Iranians, but I would imagine the political situation in Iraq will be a major factor. If Iraq ends up Shia-controlled, it would definitely put major pressure on Saudi Arabia in the east.


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