International Institute for Strategic Studies received cash over five years, partly to pay for Gulf conference at which Boris Johnson is due to speak
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International Institute for Strategic Studies received cash over five years, partly to pay for Gulf conference at which Boris Johnson is due to speak
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“We do not expect the agreement on Feb. 16 between oil ministers from Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela to freeze oil output.”
– U.S. Government Reinstates Arm Sales to Bahrain Despite Rampant Human Rights Abuses (Liberty Blitzkrieg, July 21, 2015):
One of the many destructive myths Americans like to tell themselves is that the U.S. government is a staunch defender of human rights and democracy around the world. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes its true, there are plenty of well intentioned individuals and organizations across America that do care very deeply about such things; the U.S. government just isn’t one of them. The facts on the ground clearly prove this to be the case. The only thing those in charge care about is raw imperial power and money. Of course, they know this. They also know that keeping the myth alive is extremely important in order to maintain the moral high ground and some degree of legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Continue reading »
– Obama Becoming Global Joke? King Of Bahrain Snubs US President, Meets Horse Instead (ZeroHedge, May 14, 2015):
Having been ‘snubbed’ by the new Saudi King Salman, it appears the uneasy relationshipo with our ‘allies’ in The Gulf is ebbing. In what the State Department will, we are sure, just brush off, Politico reports that the king of Bahrain has apparently also snubbed President Barack Obama, preferring instead to attend a horse show with Queen Elizabeth
– ‘US in panic because of its waning power’ (RT, May 2, 2014):
Political and economic power is draining away from the US, while other states make bilateral agreements like the investment deal between Bahrain and Russia, which makes the US extremely worried, Professor of Binary Economics Rodney Shakespeare told RT.
The US has sent a message of discontent to its ally Bahrain, which signed an investment deal with Russia. Washington has said that it is concerned with the Gulf state cozying up to Russia, which is currently under sanctions due to the Ukrainian crisis.
RT: Washington and Bahrain have long been close on political and economic terms. Why would the Gulf state cross its Western ally in the first place? Continue reading »
– Isolated Russia Makes Friends: To Hold Military Drill With China; Strikes Multi-Billion Deals Qatar And Iran (ZeroHedge, April 29, 2014):
The G-8 may be no more as the G-7 throws every possible case of harsh language known to man at the Kremlin, which obstinately refuses to back down, while re-escalating sanctions against a Russia which merely has done what the US does every single time its national interest abroad is threatened, but one thing is becoming ever clearer: while the west isolates Russia with ever stricter measures, Russia has decided to make some new friends.
China and Russia will hold a “maritime cooperation-2014” drill in East China Sea at end-May, Voice of Russia reports on its Chinese-language website yesterday.
China and Russia will conduct reconnaissance in the area within 3 days to prepare for the drill, the report says, citing an unidentified representative from Russian navy.
– The Bahrain Ghetto: Barbed Wire Fencing Goes Up Around Certain Neighborhoods (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Aug 14, 2013):
The regime in Bahrain has been one of the world’s greatest human rights abusers over the past several years, yet there’s barely a peep by our “most transparent ever” President Barrack Obama. Why?
Well, as anyone with even the slightest degree of geopolitical awareness knows, Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which represents the regional forces responsible for protecting regional “democracy,” ie the petrodollar. In exchange for our key military base, the U.S. turns a blind eye to the autocratic activities of the feudal monarchy that runs the place. The latest civil rights abuse is the emergence of razor-wire and concrete structures around certain neighborhoods of the capital city of Manama so that the citizenry cannot engage in protest.
From the Washington Post:
MANAMA, Bahrain — Inspired by the movement behind Egypt’s military coup, anti-government activists seeking more influence in Bahrain are hoping to gain new momentum by calling for nationwide protests Wednesday. Authorities warned they will “forcefully confront” any large demonstrations, raising fears of more violence in the strategic Gulf kingdom.
Concrete barriers lined major streets in the capital, Manama, and security checkpoints surrounded by barbed wire guarded roads leading to the city from majority Shiite neighborhoods that house many of the protesters. And hundreds of security forces in riot gear stood guard near armored personnel carriers around what used to be Pearl Square, the epicenter of weeks of anti-government rallies that were met with a crackdown in 2011.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the American media act as presstitutes for rich and powerful Americans.
But it turns out that the American media will turn “tricks” for foreign johns as well …
Specifically, three time Emmy award winning reporter Amber Lyon was until very recently a respected CNN reporter:
Lyon was fired from CNN after she refused to stop reporting on her first-hand experience of the systematic torture and murder of peaceful protesters by the government of Bahrain.
Lyon’s special report on Bahrain was scheduled to run on both CNN’s U.S. and international networks, but was pulled after only a limited showing due to pressure from the Bahrainis and their lobbyists.
At the same time that Lyon was risking her life to do on-the-ground reporting in Bahrain, another CNN journalist was filming a paid propaganda piece on how the Bahraini leaders are a bunch of friendly pro-democracy reformers.
That’s right … the Bahraini government paid CNN to do what was literally an infomercial for that brutal regime and pretend it was real journalism.
Lyon says that China and many other foreign, authoritarian regimes also pay CNN and other mainstream networks to run flattering propaganda pieces.
We are grateful for Ms. Lyon’s exposé of this revolting practice … especially because real reporting is treated as terrorism by the American government.
– The Truth About The Woman Who Stopped The 2007 Invasion Of Iran (Veterans Today)
Tags: Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaida, Bahrain, Banking, Benjamin Netanyahu, Christopher Stevens, CIA, Civil war, Dictatorship, Economy, Egypt, Fascism, FBI, Free Syria Army, Germany, Global News, Google, Government, Hezbollah, Iran, Islam, Israel, Italy, John Bolton, Libya, Military, Mind-Control, Mitt Romney, Muslims, NATO, New World Order, NSA, Paul Ryan, Politics, Quantitative Easing, Religion, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Syria, U.K., U.S., USS John C. Stennis, Vladimir Putin, Wall Street, Webster Tarpley, WW II, WW III
– Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: ‘War Criminals Run The State Department And The Entire US Government’
YouTube Added: 07.08.2012
If Nostradamus were alive today, he’d have a hard time keeping up with Gerald Celente.
– New York Post
When CNN wants to know about the Top Trends, we ask Gerald Celente.
– CNN Headline News
There’s not a better trend forecaster than Gerald Celente. The man knows what he’s talking about.
Those who take their predictions seriously … consider the Trends Research Institute.
– The Wall Street Journal
A network of 25 experts whose range of specialties would rival many university faculties.
– The Economist
Tags: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Banking, Barack Obama, Barclays, Charles Rangel, Economy, EU, Europe, Gerald Celente, Global News, Goldman Sachs, Government, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Libor, Obama administration, Politics, Riots, Saudi Arabia, Society, Somalia, Spain, Syria, U.S., War, WWW III, Yemen
An article about Dr. Paul Craig Roberts:
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
The US government is the second worst human rights abuser on the planet and the sole enabler of the worst–Israel. But this doesn’t hamper Washington from pointing the finger elsewhere.
The US State Department’s “human rights report” focuses its ire on Iran and Syria, two countries whose real sin is their independence from Washington, and on the bogyman- in-the-making–China, the country selected for the role of Washington’s new Cold War enemy.
Hillary Clinton, another in a long line of unqualified Secretaries of State, informed “governments around the world: we are watching, and we are holding you accountable,” only we are not holding ourselves accountable or Washington’s allies like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the NATO puppets.
Hillary also made it “clear to citizens and activists everywhere: You are not alone. We are standing with you,” only not with protesters at the Chicago NATO summit or with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, or anywhere else in the US where there are protests. (ref)
The State Department stands with the protesters funded by the US in the countries whose governments the US wishes to overthrow. Protesters in the US stand alone as do the occupied Palestinians who apparently have no human rights to their homes, lands, olive groves, or lives.
Tags: Bahrain, Barack Obama, Dictatorship, Fascism, Global News, Government, Iran, Israel, NATO, New World Order, Obama administration, Paul Craig Roberts, Politics, Saudi Arabia, Society, Syria, U.S.
YouTube Added: 02.04.2012
– Torture In Bahrain Aided By Nokia Siemens (Bloomberg)
– Bahrain Seeks Mercenaries From Indonesia, Malaysia And Pakistan (ABC Radio Australia)
– UK Training Saudi Forces Used To Crush Arab Spring (Guardian)
All to protect civilians, right?
– Bahrain Seeks Mercenaries From Indonesia, Malaysia And Pakistan (ABC Radio Australia)
– UK Training Saudi Forces Used To Crush Arab Spring (Guardian)
– Torture in Bahrain Aided by Nokia Siemens (Bloomberg, Aug 23, 2011):
The interrogation of Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar followed a pattern.
First, Bahraini jailers armed with stiff rubber hoses beat the 39-year-old school administrator and human rights activist in a windowless room two stories below ground in the Persian Gulf kingdom’s National Security Apparatus building. Then, they dragged him upstairs for questioning by a uniformed officer armed with another kind of weapon: transcripts of his text messages and details from personal mobile phone conversations, he says.
If he refused to sufficiently explain his communications, he was sent back for more beatings, says Al Khanjar, who was detained from August 2010 to February.
“It was amazing,” he says of the messages they obtained. “How did they know about these?”
The answer: Computers loaded with Western-made surveillance software generated the transcripts wielded in the interrogations described by Al Khanjar and scores of other detainees whose similar treatment was tracked by rights activists, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its October issue.
The spy gear in Bahrain was sold by Siemens AG (SIE), and maintained by Nokia Siemens Networks and NSN’s divested unit, Trovicor GmbH, according to two people whose positions at the companies gave them direct knowledge of the installations. Both requested anonymity because they have signed nondisclosure agreements. The sale and maintenance contracts were also confirmed by Ben Roome, a Nokia Siemens spokesman based in Farnborough, England. Continue reading »
Tags: Bahrain, Big Brother, Civil liberties, Dictatorship, Fascism, Global News, Government, Human Rights, Interrogation, New World Order, Nice Systems, Nokia, Police State, Politics, Privacy, Siemens, Society, Surveillance, Technology, Torture, Trovicor, Verint Systems
And the attack on Libya is not about protecting civilians.
YouTube Added: 06.07.2011
Germany is reportedly selling two hundred battle tanks to Saudi Arabia. Talk of a deal has caused outrage among Germany’s opposition politicians, who claim the government would be breaking its own export rules. Peace activist Jens Wagner says he fears the heavy weapons could be used to crush anti-regime protests in the region.
– Bahrain Doctors Tortured Into Confessing, Say Families (BBC News, June 20, 2011):
Twenty Bahraini doctors on trial for taking part in anti-government protests were tortured into making false confessions, their families have told the BBC.
The wife of one of the suspects said they had been forced to stand for three weeks and unable to sleep.
• British military personnel run courses for snipers
• Human rights groups furious over Riyadh link
Saudi special forces, seen here training in Mecca, were used to crush protests in neighbouring Bahrain. Photograph: Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images
Britain is training Saudi Arabia’s national guard – the elite security force deployed during the recent protests in Bahrain – in public order enforcement measures and the use of sniper rifles. The revelation has outraged human rights groups, which point out that the Foreign Office recognises that the kingdom’s human rights record is “a major concern”.
In response to questions made under the Freedom of Information Act, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed that British personnel regularly run courses for the national guard in “weapons, fieldcraft and general military skills training, as well as incident handling, bomb disposal, search, public order and sniper training”. The courses are organised through the British Military Mission to the Saudi Arabian National Guard, an obscure unit that consists of 11 British army personnel under the command of a brigadier.
The MoD response, obtained yesterday by the Observer, reveals that Britain sends up to 20 training teams to the kingdom a year. Saudi Arabia pays for “all BMM personnel, as well as support costs such as accommodation and transport”.
Bahrain’s royal family used 1,200 Saudi troops to help put down demonstrations in March. At the time the British government said it was “deeply concerned” about reports of human rights abuses being perpetrated by the troops.
(Asia Times) — You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes” vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya – the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.
The revelation came from two different diplomats, a European and a member of the BRIC group, and was made separately to a US scholar and Asia Times Online. According to diplomatic protocol, their names cannot be disclosed. One of the diplomats said, “This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission. We maintain our official position that the resolution is not clear, and may be interpreted in a belligerent manner.”
As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to “seduce” three other members to get the vote.
Translation: only nine out of 22 members of the Arab League voted for the no-fly zone. The vote was essentially a House of Saud-led operation, with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa keen to polish his CV with Washington with an eye to become the next Egyptian President.
Thus, in the beginning, there was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution. Continue reading »
– Bahrain riot police fire tear gas at protesters (Independent):
Bahrain riot police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at an anti-government protest camp in the capital, eyewitnesses claimed today.
Demonstrators who blocked roads into the main financial district were also said to have faced similar measures.
Today’s morning police operation was the largest effort to clear the protesters from Pearl Square in the capital, Manama, since the Shia demonstrations, inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, started in mid-February.
Anti-government protesters form the words “Game Over” with bricks as they block the roads from riot police at the junction of Bahrain Financial Harbor in Manama March 14. Bahrain has been gripped by its worst unrest since the 1990s after protesters took to the streets last month, inspired by uprisings that toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. (Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)
Cairo — Saudi forces have reportedly arrived in Bahrain to reinforce its police, who clashed with protesters yesterday in an escalation of the month-long Shiite-led protests calling for democratic reform.
The Saudi forces are there on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the regional organization of which Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are both members. Their intervention underlines Saudi Arabia’s deep worry over the unrest on its border, but it’s likely only to harden the stance of the protesters, who have been unsatisfied by the government’s response to their demands.
The protest is led by Shiites, who make up about 70 percent of Bahrain’s population, which has been ruled by the Sunni Al Khalifa family since the late 1700s. The country’s Shiites complain of discrimination and have called for government reforms.
Opposition groups said Monday that the Saudi intervention was a declaration of war. Protests that began with calls for democratic reform and an end to Shiite discrimination are now calling for regime change.
“The entry of the Saudis does not mean these people are going to go back to their villages quietly,” says Toby Jones, a Gulf expert at Rutgers University. “It raises the stakes.”
Meanwhile, a pro-government parliamentary bloc on Monday called on the king to impose martial law after 100 people were reportedly wounded Sunday. Police attacked the mostly Shiite protesters who were blocking a highway leading to the financial district in the capital Manama. They used tear gas and rubber bullets against the demonstrators, but were unable to disperse them.
– Bahraini protesters move to parliament building (Reuters):
MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrainis campaigning for democratic reforms in the Gulf Arab state staged a protest outside the U.S. ally’s parliament building on Monday, demanding that all its members resign over protester deaths.
Seven people were killed and hundreds wounded in protests earlier this month by Bahrainis mainly from the majority Shi’ite Muslim community who complain of repression by the Sunni monarchy and Sunni ruling elite.
“We came to this parliament to say that you represent the people and you represent us — take an honourable position over the killings by the army,” said Mirza al-Shihabi, one of around 500 protesters outside the building in central Manama.
– Oman protests spread, road to port blocked (Reuters):
(Reuters) – Demonstrators blocked roads to a main port in northern Oman and looted a nearby supermarket on Monday, part of protests to demand more jobs and political reform that have spread to the sultanate’s capital.
A doctor said six people had been killed in clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police on Sunday in the northern industrial town of Sohar. Oman’s health minister said one person had been killed and 20 wounded.
Hundreds of protesters blocked access to an industrial area that includes the port, a refinery and aluminium factory. A port spokeswoman said exports of refined oil products of about 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the port were unaffected.
“We want to see the benefit of our oil wealth distributed evenly,” one protester yelled over a loudhailer near the port. “We want to see a scale-down of expatriates in Oman so more jobs can be created for Omanis.”
– Congo coup attempt leaves six dead, say authorities (Guardian):
Six people were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in what authorities said was a coup attempt on the presidential palace in the capital Kinshasa.
“We have witnessed a coup attempt,” the information minister, Lambert Mende, said.
“A group of heavily armed people attacked the presidential palace. They were stopped at the first roadblock. Our soldiers fought with them, arrested some of them and six people were killed.”
Police in Beijing and other cities mounted a major show of force following an anonymous call for protests inspired by the Middle East uprisings.
A US journalist was punched and kicked in the face and more than a dozen other journalists manhandled, detained or delayed as they covered the events which revealed official anxiety over similar protests against authoritarian rule in China.
– Bloomberg Journalist Assaulted as China Heightens Security (Blommberg):
A Bloomberg News journalist was assaulted yesterday in Beijing while covering the deployment of police in response to online calls for protests in the Chinese capital.
At least five men in plain clothes, who appeared to be security personnel, punched and kicked the reporter at Beijing’s Wangfujing shopping street at 2:45 p.m. local time yesterday. They also took the video camera he was carrying and detained him in a roadside store.
Uniformed police arrived after the attack and escorted the journalist to a nearby station where he filed a report of the attack before seeking treatment for his injuries at a local hospital. Police returned the video camera while the reporter was at the station, saying a passerby had found it.
– China’s working poor not yet ready to revolt (Guardian):
Like the Tunisian whose self-immolation sparked a revolt, Xu Mingao is a young street vendor. Fourteen-hour days selling flatbread in Zhongguancun – the capital’s Silicon Valley – earn him about 7,500 yuan (£709) a year.
Home is a tiny cubicle in a dusty, hastily constructed neighbourhood where adverts pasted to lampposts seek workers who can “eat bitterness” – endure the grind.
But the 30-year-old is “pretty happy” with his life: “The difference [from the old days] is huge. When I was small my family had to borrow money for my schooling and we wore hand-me-downs,” he said.
He and his wife have built a house back in their home town in Anhui with their earnings and hope for an office career for their boy.
– Chile President faces protests a year after quake (Guardian):
Associated Press= SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — President Sebastian Pinera marked Sunday’s anniversary of one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history by praising his government’s progress on reconstruction and calling for national unity.
Instead, his political opponents staged protests and questioned his numbers.
“Massacre – it’s a massacre,” the doctors were shouting. Three dead. Four dead. One man was carried past me on a stretcher in the emergency room, blood spurting on to the floor from a massive bullet wound in his thigh.
A few feet away, six nurses were fighting for the life of a pale-faced, bearded man with blood oozing out of his chest. “I have to take him to theatre now,” a doctor screamed. “There is no time – he’s dying!”
Others were closer to death. One poor youth – 18, 19 years old, perhaps – had a terrible head wound, a bullet hole in the leg and a bloody mess on his chest. The doctor beside him turned to me weeping, tears splashing on to his blood-stained gown. “He has a fragmented bullet in his brain and I can’t get the bits out, and the bones on the left side of his head are completely smashed. His arteries are all broken. I just can’t help him.” Blood was cascading on to the floor. It was pitiful, outrageous, shameful. These were not armed men but mourners returning from a funeral, Shia Muslims of course, shot down by their own Bahraini army yesterday afternoon.
A medical orderly was returning with thousands of other men and women from the funeral at Daih of one of the demonstrators killed at Pearl Square in the early hours of Thursday.
– Bahrain: riot police fire on protest camp (Telegraph):
Riot police have stormed a protest camp in Bahrain’s capital, killing at least four people, as the government tried to quell three days of protest.
Hundreds of security forces used batons, rubber bullets and tear gas on demonstrators who had been camped out in Pearl Square calling for political reform.
In the clashes that followed, an estimated 100 people were injured.
After the police had cleared the square in the capital Manama, 50 tanks were deployed to patrol the city’s streets in a show of force by the authorities.
“Police are coming, they are shooting teargas at us,” one protestor said amid the chaos. Another said: “I am wounded, I am bleeding. They are killing us.”
At least four people have been killed in an early-morning raid by security forces on Pearl Square, the focal point of anti-government demonstrations in Bahrain, sparking street battles with riot police.
Armoured trucks have been seen in central Manama and key roads are blocked by security forces. The crackdown follows a dramatic and violent turn in three days of protests calling for widespread reform within Bahrain’s ruling minority. Dozens of wounded protesters were being taken to hospitals across the city on Thursday morning.
Riot police stormed the rallying point for the demonstrations, a landmark known as Pearl roundabout, at around 3.15am, firing teargas and birdshot, and wielding clubs and knives, which they used to cut through tents set up by demonstrators.
“We were asleep and they started slicing through our tent,” said Nabeel Ebrahim, who was sleeping alongside two trauma surgeons from Salmaniya hospital. “They started firing gas from the overpass and attacking us from all directions.”
One of the doctors, Sadiq al-Ikri, is receiving treatment in the critical care unit of the hospital he works in. “He was handcuffed and then kicked repeatedly in the head, face and body,” one of his colleagues said. “We have nine other seriously wounded patients.”
In the nearby morgue, two protesters lay dead, their bodies covered by wounds from birdshot rounds. Their deaths take to four the number of demonstrators killed in the past four days and place intense pressure on a regime that has been struggling to contain the fallout from an uprising that is gaining momentum.
As calls for democracy continued to spill across the Middle East from Tunisia and Egypt, the King of Bahrain was forced to make a rare implicit apology for the behaviour of his security forces.
Two young protesters have been killed by police in the last two days – the second yesterday outside the hospital where 10,000 people gathered as the body of the first was being taken away for his funeral.
“We extend our condolences to the parents of the dear sons who died yesterday and today,” King Hamad said in a broadcast address. He promised an investigation headed by the deputy prime minister and said democratic reforms would continue.
But his words failed to assuage the protesters, who gathered on Pearl Square, a vast traffic concourse in the capital, Manama, renaming it “Bahrain’s Tahrir Square” after the epicentre of protests in Egypt.
Mohammed al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Centre for Human Rights, said the demonstrators were demanding the replacement of the prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, an uncle of the king who has held the post for 40 years, with an elected politician.
They also wanted a new constitution, improved living conditions, and an end to human rights violations.
“The leaders of these protests are the youth – they are not connected to any political parties,” he said. “We will press on until the government makes concessions.”
An unidentified Bahraini shows a wound Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, he says came when riot police opened fire on a demonstration in the village of Karzakan, Bahrain. Demonstrations began Sunday in several parts of Bahrain as opposition groups blanketed social media sites with calls to stage the first major anti-government protests in the Gulf since the uprising in Egypt. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali) (Hasan Jamali – AP)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bahrain’s security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets Monday at thousands of anti-government protesters heeding calls to unite in a major rally and bring the Arab reform wave to the Gulf for the first time.
The punishing tactics by authorities appeared to foil plans for a mass gathering in Bahrain’s capital Manama, but it underscored the sharply rising tensions in the tiny island kingdom – a strategic Western ally and home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
At least 25 people were treated for injuries, and one man died after being found on the street with severe head trauma, according to family members.
Egypt Effect: Activists have called for protests to demand political, social and economic reforms [Reuters]
Ahead of protests planned to take place in Bahrain next week, the nation’s king has said he will give 1,000 dinars ($2,650) to each Bahraini family.
Friday’s announcement on state media came as the latest step that Sunni rulers have taken to appease the majority Shia public.
Activists have called for protests in Bahrain, starting from Monday, to demand political, social and economic reforms. The demonstrations will coincide with the tenth anniversary of Bahrain’s constitution.
Although most analysts do not see any immediate risk of revolt after popular uprisings toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, the small island nation is considered the most vulnerable to unrest among Gulf Arab countries.
“The Gulf monetary union pact has come into effect,” said Kuwait’s finance minister, Mustafa al-Shamali, speaking at a Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait.
The move will give the hyper-rich club of oil exporters a petro-currency of their own, greatly increasing their influence in the global exchange and capital markets and potentially displacing the US dollar as the pricing currency for oil contracts. Between them they amount to regional superpower with a GDP of $1.2 trillion (£739bn), some 40pc of the world’s proven oil reserves, and financial clout equal to that of China.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar are to launch the first phase next year, creating a Gulf Monetary Council that will evolve quickly into a full-fledged central bank.
The Emirates are staying out for now – irked that the bank will be located in Riyadh at the insistence of Saudi King Abdullah rather than in Abu Dhabi. They are expected join later, along with Oman.
The Gulf states remain divided over the wisdom of anchoring their economies to the US dollar. The Gulf currency – dubbed “Gulfo” – is likely to track a global exchange basket and may ultimately float as a regional reserve currency in its own right. “The US dollar has failed. We need to delink,” said Nahed Taher, chief executive of Bahrain’s Gulf One Investment Bank.
The project is inspired by Europe’s monetary union, seen as a huge success in the Arab world. But there are concerns that the region is trying to run before it can walk. Continue reading »
Saudi Arabia dwarfs other states in the region and analysts say there is concern that a common currency would serve to concentrate power in Riyadh
A project to establish a common currency for the Gulf has been dealt a near-fatal blow with the decision by the United Arab Emirates to abandon monetary union after disagreement with Saudi Arabia over the location of a future central bank.
The loss of the Emirates to the currency project could accelerate decisions within some Gulf states to diverge from Saudi Arabia’s desire to maintain a currency peg with the dollar. This could lead eventually to the UAE, the Gulf’s most sophisticated economy, floating its dirham, analysts in the region said.
The UAE attributed its decision to quit the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) project to the choice of Saudi Arabia as host of the key monetary institution.
Evidence of mounting rivalry and distrust between the Gulf’s two biggest economies emerged two weeks ago, when a meeting of the GCC voted to locate the central bank in Riyadh. UAE officials expressed reservations about the decision. The choice of Riyadh would enhance the physical presence of Saudi Arabia within the GCC, as the organisation’s secretariat is already headquartered in the Saudi capital.
The UAE is the second state in the six-member GCC to pull out of the common currency, which was due to be launched next year. Oman had said already that it would not take part, but the loss of the Emirates, which has the greatest international trading links, makes it unlikely that the project will get off the ground.