Nachricht aus Bahrain

In Reaktion auf den Kommentar der Journalistin Reem Khalifa zu den Aufständen in Bahrain haben wir Post bekommen. Die Information Affairs Authority des Königreichs hat uns eine Gegendarstellung geschickt, die wir in bester Debatten-Tradition auch veröffentlichen:

“First of all, to characterize the clearing of the GCC Roundabout on February 17th as a “massacre” is inaccurate and not even upheld by the recently published BICI report (Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry). The sad fact is that 4 people were fatally wounded during that operation, which while regrettable cannot be termed a “massacre” (see BICI report, paragraph 659).

After HRH Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa ordered the security forces to stand down, allowing the protestors to re-occupy the roundabout, he attempted to launch talks with the Opposition leadership, as well as pardon a large number of individuals convicted in political cases and allowing the return of political exiles (see BICI report, paragraphs 662 and 663). It is also important to note that the protests were not limited to the roundabout after February 19, but began to expand to other vital locations in the Kingdom, blocking main roads and bring business to a halt (see BICI report, paragraph 648).

But perhaps what is most disconcerting about the events of February and March is the extraordinary efforts made by the Crown Prince to engage in a dialogue with leaders of the political opposition which were rebuffed. By March 12, the Crown Prince offered a Memorandum of Understanding outlining 7 principles as a prelude to discussion that included a Parliament with full authority; a government representing the will of the people; naturalization; fair voting districts; combating corruption; state property; and addressing sectarian tension (see BICI report, paragraph 669). While these principles were accepted by the Gathering of National Unity, they were rejected by Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, who began to make additional demands (see BICI report, paragraph 669 & 671). Then on March 13, Al-Wefaq once again amended its position and decided not to engage in a national dialogue, in favor of forcing the resignation of the government and electing a “Constituent Assembly” to address all political and constitutional matters (see BICI report, paragraph 671). It is important to quote that the BICI report (paragraph 672) here: “If HRH the Crown Prince’s initiative to hold a national dialogue at the time had been accepted, it could have paved the way for significant constitutional and political reform in Bahrain.”

It was after this point – and not before, as Ms. Khalifa would have you believe – that the Government of Bahrain made the decision to invite the GCC Peninsula Shield forces into Bahrain to secure vital strategic facilities. With respect for law and order rapidly devolving, a state of National Safety was applied. And yet, Ms. Khalifa recites a litany of fabrications and exaggerations: “… all independent media people and organizations were attacked, the main hospital was turned into a military garrison …. and a sectarian cleansing process started”.

Again, I must refer you to the BICI Report which found that both pro-government and anti-government journalists were targeted through social media (see BICI report, paragraph 1638), but does not find any evidence implicating the Government of Bahrain in these matters. Furthermore, with regard to Salmaniya Medical Complex, the BICI report found that significant parts of the hospital were taken over and controlled by medical personnel, essentially controlling the Emergency Section, ICU, Administrative Section and the majority of the ground floor of the main hospital (see BICI report, paragraph 847). It was in this context that one must understand the orders to secure SMC by security forces on March 16.

Lastly, I must take issue with Ms. Khalifa’s repugnant claim that Bahrain has instituted “sectarian cleansing”. Bahrain is a religiously diverse society that has been the beloved home of Shia, Sunni, Christians and Jews throughout its history. Our spirit of peaceful co-existence will carry us through into a brighter future.”

Autorin: Frau Ebtisam Khalifa Bahar, Media Specialist der Information Affairs Authority Bahrain

Wir haben Frau Khalifa kontaktiert und wollen ihr die Möglichkeit geben, auf die hier erhobenen Vorwürfe einzugehen.