US sells arms to Bahraini dictatorship as repression continues

Even as it pontificates about the “Arab Spring” and its “humanitarian” war against Libya, the United States government has signed a new arms contract with the dictatorial regime of King Hamad Al-Khalifa of Bahrain.

The US Defense Department has agreed a to provide the government of the tiny Persian Gulf monarchy with an additional $53 million of weapons.

Bahrain’s security forces killed at least 30 people during the weeks of mass demonstrations earlier this year, when hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital, Manama, to demand political and social rights.

The much larger neighboring kingdom of Saudi Arabia, also armed to the teeth with the latest US-made weaponry, aided the March crackdown in Manama, sending over 1,500 troops as well as police, armored personnel carriers and tanks across the causeway to Bahrain.

There have been frequent reports in the subsequent months of opponents of the al-Khalifa regime being abducted or assassinated. Over 1,000 people have been arrested for taking part in the protests, with many held incommunicado and tortured. Thousands of public sector workers have been fired for allegedly taking to the streets against the government.

The new US-Bahraini arms deal will provide 44 armored vehicles—of the type used to crush the demonstrations—as well as missiles and night-vision technology.

In a statement on the proposed sale, which is still to be approved by Congress, the Pentagon noted that Bahrain “has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability in the Middle East.”

An anonymous State Department official commented to the Washington Post that the US government viewed the proposed sale as “one that would help Bahrain’s defense force develop its capabilities against external threats and would ensure interoperability with our forces.”

The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which patrols the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, is based in Bahrain. In 2010, the US sold over $200 million worth of weapons to Bahrain, up from $88 million in 2009.

Brian Dooley, director of the Washington-based charity Human Rights First, condemned the arms sale as a “reward” for the Bahraini dictatorship. The Bahraini army has “committed many human rights abuses,” Dooley said, including the torture of detainees.

The arms sale to the despotic Bahraini regime comes amidst a continuation of the brutal crackdown against all signs of opposition.

Last week, a military tribunal in Manama sentenced 20 medical doctors to prison terms of up to 15 years. The doctors faced a variety of outlandish changes, including stockpiling weapons in hospitals, “occupying a hospital,” and attempting to overthrow the monarchy.

No credible evidence against the medics has been presented in the kangaroo court, while the accused have been subjected to abuse in prison and denied full access to legal counsel.

“I lost my sense of time because of the torture,” one of the convicted doctors told Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “Immediately after I was taken [there began] the beating, the cursing, the kicking, the spitting; I was even electrocuted there at that unknown place.”

“We were forced to confess on TV,” the doctor added. “We were kept together in one hall and threatened with rape. They threatened our families.”

While the ink was still wet on the arms deal signed by Washington and the Bahraini government, the US State Department issued a perfunctory statement that it was “deeply disturbed” by the doctors’ trial—a posture that will have absolutely no bearing on the arms sale or the deep military and strategic ties between the two countries.

The real “crimes” that the doctors are guilty of, as far as the US-backed Bahraini government is concerned, are treating the protesters who flooded into Manama’s medical centers as a result of assaults by the security forces and speaking about the extent of casualties to the international media.

During the mass protests in February and March, the media and humans rights organizations reported that hundreds of demonstrators were admitted to hospital suffering from gunshot wounds, tear gas inhalation and police baton beatings.

Bahraini police and army personnel repeatedly stormed hospitals and clinics during the spring uprising, rampaging through wards to arrest and intimidate patients and staff. International doctors’ groups Medecins Sans Frontiers and Physicians for Human Rights have condemned the regime in Bahrain for its abuses, saying that hospitals in the country had been made “places to be feared.”

“We were shocked by the verdicts because we were expecting the doctors would be proved innocent of the crime of occupying the Salmaniya medical complex,” said one of the defense lawyers, Mohsen al-Alawi.

Amnesty International also condemned the verdict: “The government clearly wants to send a message that anybody perceived as advocating political reforms will be dealt with severely.”

The medics have issued an appeal to Bahrain’s high court, and have asked the United Nations Human Rights Office to investigate their treatment. One of those sentenced to 15 years in prison, Dr. Nada Daiif, expressed little hope in the appeal. “We will go for it,” she said. “But we know very well that they are using our case as a political card against the opposition.”

In a separate trial, the military court sentenced a man to death for killing a police officer during a protest in February. No police, army or government personnel have been held legally accountable for the killing and repression in Bahrain.

There is still massive hostility to the al-Khalifa regime. There are frequent small protests in the working class suburbs of Manama, and sham elections held Sunday to fill 18 seats in the 40-seat legislative council—the lower house of a rubber-stamp parliament stacked with appointees of the monarch—were largely boycotted.

Only 17 percent of voters turned out for the elections to fill seats vacated in protest by the main opposition group, al-Wefaq, a Shiite-based party that has been persecuted by the Sunni monarchy.

Dozens of people were beaten and arrested during the election campaign. Riot police attacked a demonstration of tens of thousands of people that had gathered in the predominantly Shiite suburb of Sanabis on the day of first-round of voting, September 24. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd, which had planned to march to the center of Manama to protest the ongoing government repression.

(wsws.org / 03.10.2011)

Vrouwen zijn niet minderwaardig aan mannen

Het is bewezen de vrouwen vele taken aankunnen die mannen doen, en soms zelfs nog beter. Dus waarom zouden we in in deze situaties de vrouw minderwaardig aan de man beschouwen?

Volgens de Islam, zijn vrouwen niet minderwaardig aan mannen. Allah heeft hen beiden geschapen, en zij zijn gelijk in de ogen van Allah. Wanneer zij gelijk zijn in de ogen van Allah, hoe kunnen zij dan minderwaardig zijn in de maatschappij of in de ogen van mannen?

Allah zegt in de Koran:   “O mensen, Wij hebben jullie uit een man en een vrouw geschapen en Wij hebben jullie tot volkeren en stammen gemaakt opdat jullie elkaar zouden kennen. De voortreffelijkste van jullie is bij God de godvrezendste. God is wetend en welingelicht”.   (Al-Hoedjoeraat 49:13).

Volgens de islam vullen mannen en vrouwen elkaar aan. Zij zijn gelijkwaardige leden van de maatschappij en zij hebben beide hun plichten en verantwoordelijkheden. Er zijn wat verschillen tussen de rol die de man en de vrouw hebben in de maatschappij, maar deze verschillen maken het ene geslacht niet superieur en het ander minderwaardig.

De gedachte van superieurheid en minderwaardigheid komt vanuit sommige van onze niet-islamitische culturen, maar het maakt zeer zeker geen deel uit van de islam.

Sommige mensen misinterpreteren het vers uit de Koran,  Soerat An-Nisaa 4:34  “De mannen zijn zaakwaarnemers voor de vrouwen, omdat God de een boven de ander heeft bevoorrecht…”

Deze Aya gaat niet over de absolute meerwaardigheid van alle mannen boven alle vrouwen.

Het spreekt alleen over de gezinssituatie, waar de echtgenoot de verantwoordelijkheid heeft om voor zijn vrouw en kinderen te zorgen. Het zegt niet dat alle mannen zaakwaarnemer zijn voor alle vrouwen.

Ten tweede gaat deze Aya gaat niet over de spirituele, morele of intellectuele meerwaardigheid van de echtgenoot over zijn vrouw. Het spreekt over zijn lichamelijke kracht en bekwaamheid, vanuit welke hij zijn gezin moet beschermen en de kostwinner moet zijn voor zijn vrouw en kinderen.

(www.ghuraba.nl / 03.10.2011)

B!NK Marokko Benefiet

Tijd
zaterdag 15 oktober om 19:00 – 16 oktober om 3:00

Locatie
Loods 6 / Bagagehal

KNSM laan 143
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Gemaakt door:

Meer informatie
Op zaterdag 15 oktober 2011 vindt het jaarlijks B!NK benefiet plaats! Een exclusief en fantastisch feest voor de nieuwe B!NKIES: meisjes die naar school willen in Marokko.

Het B!NK goes Marokko benefiet is een mix van sensationele muziek, hoog gewaardeerde kunst, vele bekende artiesten, wereldse sferen, dolende dansers en heerlijke happen. Over de top met Kamelen, Alladin, rode sofa’s, prachtige Oosterse werken, beroemde stemme…n, buikdanseressen, en een 7 gangen diner van chef-kok Mohammed el Harouchi van het met een Michelin-ster bekroonde restaurant Solo.

Wil je bij dit onvergetelijke benefiet zijn op 15 oktober? En, hierdoor je steun geven aan het goede doel? Zorg dan dat je snel je kaarten op zak hebt want OP=OP > www.stichtingbink.com of www.ticketpoint.nl

Tickets : diner ( 7 gangen, inclusief bier/wijn/fris ), inclusief veiling/modeshow en afsluitende party = € 75,- ( vanaf 19:00 till late )

Tickets : party ( inclusief welkomsdrankje ) = € 15,- ( vanaf 22:30 till late )

Met o.a : Kareem Raihani, Celine Cairo, Monique Klemann, Hadewych Minis, Lex Empress,  DJ Alankara met Jazz D, Robin Koerts, Marco Hijl en Sarina Voorn, Teema, Fya Hopeless, Oriental Princesses en MC host Nickie Nicole en nog veel meer………. hosted by Howard Komproe en Anousha Nzume

Palestijnen de straat op na brandstichting moskee

(Novum/AP) – JERUZALEM – Vandalen hebben maandag een moskee in het Arabisch-Israëlische dorp Tuba-Zangria, in het noorden van Israël, in brand gestoken. Dit leidde tot protesten en confrontaties tussen Palestijnen en de politie. Leuzen op de muren van de moskee doen vermoeden dat joodse extremisten betrokken zijn bij de brandstichting.Palestijnen de straat op na brandstichting moskee

Volgens politiewoordvoerder Micky Rosenfeld was op de muur van het gebedshuis het woord ‘prijskaartje’ gespoten, een verwijzing die vaak door joodse kolonisten wordt gebruikt bij vergeldingsacties tegen Palestijnen of hun eigendommen. Volgens de Israëlische legerradio was op een muur van de moskee ook de achternaam gespoten van een kolonist, die vorige week samen met zijn zoontje in zijn auto bij Hebron dodelijk verongelukte nadat hij achter het stuur aan zijn hoofd was getroffen door een steen gegooid door Palestijnen.

In de moskee werd een tapijt in brand gestoken en de binnenmuren raakten beschadigd, aldus Rosenfeld. Israëlische media meldden dat er tevens korans in
brand gestoken waren.

Rond de tweehonderd inwoners van Tuba-Zangria marcheerden naar een belangrijk
kruispunt met als doel de weg te blokkeren. Sommige betogers staken autobanden
in brand en gooiden stenen naar agenten die de betogers met traangas uiteen joegen. Er vielen geen gewonden. De politie is gemobiliseerd om te voorkomen dat zich ongeregeldheden voordoen en is in gesprek met de dorpsoudsten om de
spanningen weg te nemen.

De Israëlische premier Benjamin Netanyahu keurde de aanval op de moskee af.
Volgens Netanyahu staat de aanval ‘haaks op de waarden van de staat Israël’.

(buitenland.nieuws.nl / 03.10.2011)

Swedes call for academic boycott of Israel

More than 200 students, professors and lecturers across Sweden have signed on to a growing academic boycott call demanding that Swedish universities not participate in any academic cooperation with Israeli educational institutions. They also called on the Swedish government to “act [towards] the cessation of the [European Union’s] research support to Israel.”

The public boycott call, initiated by the Action group for the Boycott of Israel at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, follows similar boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns across Europe and the world — including the recent move by London student unions to support the boycott, as well as the nation-wide academic boycott move in South Africa after the University of Johannesburg’s severing of ties with Ben Gurion University in March. The action group’s calladds:

The boycott is not aimed at individuals but against institutions. So far no Israeli academic institution has dissociated itself from Israel’s apartheid policy or the discrimination of Palestinians in Israel. Therefore all collaboration with Israeli academic institutions should be stopped, the signatories say. [The action group] demands that KTH shall cancel its ongoing agreement with Technion, the leading Israeli technical university. Technion has close collaboration with the Israeli military forces. As an example it may be mentioned that Technion is developing new types of drones for the destruction of Palestinian houses … Researchers of Technion act as advisors to Israel’s military and the university collaborates closely with Israel’s biggest weapons producer Elbit.

A network of activists, students and academics in European Union countries doing work to support the cultural and academic BDS call can be found here: www.epacbi.eu.  For further information on the KTH action group, visit www.psabi.net.

(electronicintifada.net / 03.10.2011)

The Palestinians’ Next Move

Rashid Khalidi
As the dust settles after last week’s “showdown” at the United Nations over the Palestinian application for membership, several initial conclusions can be drawn.

First, the United States now is thoroughly out of touch with most of the international community when it comes to Palestine and Israel. It has positioned itself to the right of the most right-wing, pro-settler government in Israeli history. This was reflected in the joyful reception of President Obama’s speech by Israeli prime minister Netanyahu and his right-wing foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, as well as in the Israel lobby’s satisfied response to Obama’s caving in to Israeli demands all along the line.

In an almost surreal display of pandering, Republican presidential candidates—notably Texas governor Rick Perry—disparaged the president for “appeasing” the Palestinians and thereby betraying Israel. This rhetoric came despite the fact that Obama single-handedly sabotaged the Palestinians’ UN bid while publicly lecturing them and the entire General Assembly on the suffering of Israelis without so much as a word acknowledging Israeli occupation, violence and settlements—not to mention the Palestinian suffering caused by these American-supported policies. Obama’s domestic electioneering in the face of a historic demand by the long-suffering Palestinians was not lost on the world. Taken in the context of the Arab Spring and its wave of popular demands for human and political rights, it means that the United States has lost all credibility as an honest broker in this conflict.

The second conclusion to be drawn is that after two decades of the U.S. behaving as “Israel’s lawyer,” the two-state solution is now dead. It has been buried by forty-four years of unceasing Israeli colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem under the benevolent gaze of nine successive U.S. administrations. The most recent in a long line of boastful Israeli announcements of further settlement construction in occupied Arab East Jerusalem last week is a perfect illustration of this truth. Despite the usual expression of “disappointment” from the White House and the State Department, the United States has, in fact, again acquiesced to the illegal colonization of more occupied Palestinian territory. This served as a ceremonial last nail in the coffin of the disastrous American-led process that since the beginning of peace negotiations in Madrid in 1991 oversaw and facilitated the near tripling of the illegal Israeli settler population to well over half a million and the imposition of severe restrictions on the movement of over 4 million Palestinians.

For those of us who have watched this “peace” process unfold since then, the status quo should perhaps be seen not so much as signifying the failure of the process but rather as underlining its sole purpose. As Mouin Rabbani put it in the London Review of Books, “the so-called peace process is working precisely as designed, to give political cover to Israeli colonization and maintain America’s diplomatic monopoly.”
Though the time of the two-state solution has passed, it is undoubtedly time for the U.S. government to be pushed aside as sole mediator.

The final conclusion to be drawn is that the Palestinian leadership is at a crossroads: It has taken a long-overdue first step to re-internationalize Palestine’s struggle for liberty and self-determination and to take matters out of the hands of American diplomats who for decades have systematically advanced Israel’s interests at the expense of the Palestinians. The attempt to produce more objective stewardship of negotiations by taking the Palestinian case to the UN will clearly fail in the short term due to U.S. opposition. Nevertheless, it was relatively successful in galvanizing international support for the Palestinians almost everywhere outside of the fact-free bubble that is the DC beltway and much of the mainstream media.

The question now is what will the Palestinians’ next step be? It is clear where the United States stands and will continue to stand, certainly until November 2012 if not long afterwards. For all the significant changes in perceptions of the conflict at the grassroots level in the United States, the continued power of the Israel lobby in Congress shows that on the political level nothing has changed. As far as Israel is concerned, even a leftward shift is unlikely to bring about meaningful change to decades of Labor, Likud and Kadima-supported occupation and settlement policies, at least not in the near term.

Abbas’ speech at the UN, therefore, was only the beginning of what many Palestinians agree needs to be a new long-term strategy for national liberation. The focus of this new strategy will have to return from a two-decade hiatus at a rigged negotiating table to its original and most representative form: popular, grassroots, nonviolent struggle on the ground and among Palestinians in exile. The good news for the Palestinians is that the infrastructure for such a struggle is already in place after years of nonviolent protest in the villages of the West Bank and could grow with the recently minted model of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions to consider. A highly coordinated and truly massive campaign of active nonviolence could shock the conscience of the world and
energize Palestinians everywhere. The bad news for the Israelis—who have brutally repressed nonviolent protest in villages such as Bilin, Nilin, Nebi Saleh, Walaja and many other places over the past six years—is that, according to Ministry of Defense political-military chief Amos Gilad, “we [the Israelis] don’t do Gandhi very well.”

In the coming months we will see what the Palestinian leadership will do (both those in Gaza and those in Ramallah) and whether they can succeed in reunifying the divided Palestinian national movement; how brazenly the Israeli government will provoke the Palestinians; and whether the Palestinians, the Arabs and especially the international community will be up to the challenge of wresting from the American grip the keys to a negotiating process in need of almost complete remodeling on the basis of international law and UN resolutions, after decades of American mishandling.

In the meantime, should President Obama find the time to reflect upon his decision to forsake Palestinian freedom in favor of pandering to the Israel lobby, he would do well to remember the following thought from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic…but one must take it because it is right.”

(palestine-studies.org / 03.10.2011)

US: Fall of Syrian regime a ‘matter of time’

TEL AVIV, Israel (AFP) — It is “a matter of time” before the Syrian regime headed by President Bashar Assad is ousted from power by a popular uprising, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday.

Speaking in Tel Aviv after meeting his Israeli counterpart, Panetta said Washington and other foreign capitals had “made clear Assad should step down.”

“While he continues to resist, I think it’s very clear that it’s a matter of time before that (exit) in fact happens. When it does, we don’t know,” he said.

(www.maannews.net / 03.10.2011)

Israel’s West Bank separation fence will fall like Berlin Wall, Fayyad says

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Monday said the half-concrete, half fence barrier Israel is building along the West Bank will fall just as the Berlin Wall did.

Speaking at a reception at the German Representative Office in Ramallah to mark the Day of German Unity, Fayyad said the barrier, which in places snakes deep into the West Bank, “is going to fall under the will of the Palestinian people just as the Berlin wall had fallen under the will of the German people who wanted to reunite their country.”

 

Salam Fayyad, Palestinian Authority, PA - AP - 23.5.11 Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad

 

Israel began building the barrier in 2002, after a spate of suicide bombings, originating in the West Bank, claimed dozens of lives in Israeli cities.

Palestinians however say the wall is an excuse for an Israeli “land-grab,” since in places it deviates from the border between Israel and the West Bank and encompasses Palestinian territory.

Fayyad said the Palestinian people were ready to live like any other people in this world and should be able to become a member state in the United Nations.

The Palestinians applied on September 23 for full membership in the world body, a move which would in effect ratify Palestinian statehood. The application was opposed by Israel and the United States, who says a Palestinian state can only come about through negotiations.

The UN Security Council is supposed to make its decision regarding the application in the next few weeks. The United States said it will cast its veto when the matter comes to a vote there.

Fayyad thanked Germany for its financial and other support for the Palestinian people, either through bilateral agreements or through the European Union.

He said this support made it possible for the Palestinian Authority to prepare its institutions for the future state.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 03.10.2011)