Saudi petrodollar hinders freedom in Bahrain

bahrainAn interview with Jalal Fairooz, former Bahraini MP from London, to discuss calls by the demonstrators in Bahrain for the downfall of the ruling Al Khalifa regime has been conducted by Press TV.

A rough transcript of the interview follows.

Press TV: In your opinion, sir, why is very little being mentioned about the situation in Bahrain, when all the demonstrators want is to have a ‘one person, one vote’ to be fairly implemented and a representative government?


Well, it is simply the petrodollar which is working. It is actually the Saudi regime who is actually putting its billions of dollars of money on the table.
Actually, three weeks ago there was a conference in the House of Parliament in UK and there were lots of media representatives and they said that there are some of the influences from the Saudi Arabia for not to cover Bahrain’s events actually and that is very unfortunate.

…Even though the Bahraini events have been continuing daily for the past almost three years and even though everywhere else there has been some deals in the Arab Spring governments but in Bahrain, no, they do not want it because of the western interest in the [Persian] Gulf area with the Saudis mainly. And they do no want to see any change in that even though lots of atrocities are being committed on the civil grounds and the NGOs and the western countries are saying that there are huge, massive violations of human rights and it is the right of the people.

What the people of Bahrain want is only democracy. They want to get rid of this Prime Minister being there for 43 years. No one would accept that. The people want to stop all these atrocities which are being committed every day and night …

Press TV: What about Mr. Moustafa [the other guest of the program] said that it seemed many many entities have interests and also he talked about the Sunni-Shia interest. What is your perspective? Because we have seen when rarely reported by western media that it has continuously tried to turn this into a Shia-Sunni situation.

Your perspective on what is really taking place on the ground in Bahrain, sir?

Fairooz: Well, I send my regards to Mr. Wafik Moustafa. I think he will agree with me that it is the solid right of the Bahraini people like any other countries in the Arab world or elsewhere to choose their governments, to have elected governments rather than one tribe being on their shoulders for so many years and having all the power and being a big part of all this corruption and all the stealing of all the wealth away from the people and leaving the people in unemployment and poverty.

That is why the people have asked for their rights. Nowhere in the world you have a Prime Minister there for 43 years. And he has Alzheimers, he is very much corrupt and he is still being there. And also you have masses of people getting out in the streets very peacefully. We are not calling it a kind of so much massive revolutionary but they are very much peaceful. They want a reform but the opposition have called for a legitimate dialog not any dialog.

There was a dialog in 2011 but all the world including President Obama have not accepted it because it was a decoration. Again in 2013 there was so-called a dialog but the opposition was just put as small portion.

There has to be a legitimate dialog the opposition have put forward and it is called Manama Document which states all very clearly that there has to be equal and legitimate dialog to reach to these goals which are not only for the people, it is for the sake also of the tribe of Al Khalifa and the interest of Saudis as well.

It is that the government is not coming to the common ground of people. They are just using their weapons and the crackdowns.

Press TV: Mr. Moustafa [the other guest of the program] said that the Bahraini people can solve their own problems but we see the Saudi intervention, we see Saudi troops inside Bahrain. So, are the Bahraini people actually given a fair chance to solve their own problems, in your perspective?

Fairooz: Well, I respect very much what my colleague Mr. Wafik Moustafa is saying. He sounds very logical and I respect him for that.

But the problem is that the government of Bahrain is not ready to share the power with the people even though the international politics and democracy means people ruling themselves but we are ready to what is called sharing power with Al Khalifa tribe. As opposition, we do not want to overthrow the tribe. We want a constitutional monarchy.

But we want to stop the atrocities which have continued for decades and all the stealing of the wealth to the Royal family members and you see, all this discrimination which is happening in the Cabinet and the Civil Service even though for example, I am just saying what the UK Parliament mentioned in their report which was issued two months ago, they said Bahrain has 70 percent Shias, 30 percent Sunnis but in the Civil Service you can see the high ranks, there are only 15 percent Shias and 85 percent Sunnis; this is discrimination.

Why would a government go and demolish tens of mosques? Why would any government do that? There are peaceful demonstrations. Why are you going and demolishing the mosques? Why are you sacking thousands and thousands of people just because they were in the street asking for their rights?

Press TV: What will it take in your perspective to get the government that you are saying the majority of people want. What has to happen?

Fairooz: Well, of course it is very clear in the Manama Document which has been very much respected by the UN High Commission of Human Rights and it was respected by the BICI Commission [the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry] which Mr. Wafik is mentioning.

For example, the BICI have put 26 main recommendations. Now the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, even the High commission of Human Rights Navi Pillay, they said that… Actually yesterday the Al Qabas newspaper of Kuwait, Mr. Bassiouni was quoted just yesterday saying that the government of Bahrain have failed to apply these recommendations.

Why would you have all these? And of course the people of Bahrain are asking to be treated like human beings not to have the main powers in the hand of the Al Khalifa, all the wealth would be in the hands of Al Khalifa.

In 2010 in the Parliament, I was part of the investigation team and we found that 70 percent of Bahrain’s coasts have been taken over by the Al Khalifa family for nothing. That is why we want to see progress but it has to be internationally observed and it has to be very legitimate. And we have asked for a referendum. Why would we not go for a constitution and a referendum? The government have said no to that.

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