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February 25th
12:16 PM
Via

Bahrain's Agony Continues 2 Years Later

Juan Cole  |  Informed Comment »

…The US government has been relatively low-key in condemning Bahrain human rights violations. The government leases the US a naval base at Manama as the HQ of the Fifth Fleet, which provides security to Gulf oil exports (some 20% of the world’s total). Also, Washington worries about expansion of Iranian influence, and the Sunni monarchy’s claims that the Shiite protesters have Iran links may give the Obama administration pause. Finally, the Saudi government is a hawk on the Bahrain crackdown, and is influential with the US.

The regime’s heavy-handed tactics may have pushed some Bahrain Shiites toward radicalism. Last week, the Bahrain government announced that Kuwait had helped it crack a budding terrorist cell, with links to Lebanon’s Hizbullah and to Iraq and Iran. Most Bahrain Shiites are peaceful and the majority belongs to the Akhbari school of jurisprudence that rejects the authority of ayatollahs, so the regime’s attempt to tag all Shiites (some 60% of the population) with the radicalism of a few is pure propaganda.  >continue<

July 18th
6:26 PM
Via
March 25th
12:04 PM
Via
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
News this morning: Asma Al-Assad will be hit with EU sanctioning.
The female members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council say they are being sidelined.
A two-part assessment of the past few months of the Afghan transitional process from the Afghan Analysts Network. (1, 2)
There were two notable longreads pieces this week on Afghanistan, the massacre and the future of US involvement. One, by Neil Shea in The American Scholar, examines how his experiences on embed with US soldiers give insight into how the massacre happened. The other, by Matt Gallagher in the Boston Review, focuses on soldiers looking to the post-massacre political and military future.
Here are the names of the sixteen victims of the massacre.
I made a vision board for the Afghan war on Pinterest.
Ahmed Rashid was interviewed about crisis and politics in Pakistan for NPR Fresh Air.
An article on the powerful part women have played in the Libyan revolution in the Smithsonian.
Brookings’ Saban Center has released a report that estimates the various costs of a Syrian intervention in order to be “executed properly.”
This week marked the nine-year anniversary since the US dropped bombs over Baghdad during the now-infamous shock and awe. CNAS fellow Dr. Colin Kahl testified this week before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the deteriorating situation in Iraq. 
The Khawajas, a prominent revolutionary family, are under siege by the government of Bahrain.
Some really cool crisis-mapping work: mapping the mainstream media coverage of election violence in Kenya in comparison with citizen journalist coverage.
The International Crisis Group has warned that militarized post-war policies in Sri Lanka could re-ignite violence.
Soldiers overthrew President Touré in a successful military coup in the West African country of Mali, previously considered a quality example of African democratic leadership.
A really fabulous look at some climate security policy dilemmas over at Duck of Minerva.
NPR’s Morning Edition looks at cybersecurity legislation.
The US is boosting its cyberweapons and cyberdefense research: $500m has gone to DARPA over the past 5 years for this purpose.
A nuclear security summit is set to start in Seoul on Monday.
Sebastian Junger has begun an organizaton called Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues that provides freelance journalists with three-day training sessions in emergency medical skills. 
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has updated its information on international arms transfers. Here’s a fact sheet assessing the trends and data from the 2007-11 period.
Four female veterans are running for Congress this year! 
According to the GAO, the Army has serious problems with its payroll system that are causing serious delays in paychecks and could prevent the Army from being audit-ready.
Katy Perry pretended to be a Marine in her latest music video and I don’t so much know how I feel about this. Come to your own conclusions.
Photo: A Black Hawk takes off after unloading a team of Pathfinders and an Afghan patrol in Kandahar. US Army Flickr Stream.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.

Photo: A Black Hawk takes off after unloading a team of Pathfinders and an Afghan patrol in Kandahar. US Army Flickr Stream.

February 12th
9:37 AM
January 5th
3:42 PM
Bahrain: The Revolution That Wasn&#8217;t

"I remember the 14 February night — I cannot forget this night. Really I  cannot forget," says the man, who asked not to be named. "Even my wife,  she was telling me you&#8217;ll be crazy. At the end, you will be crazy.  Nothing will happen. A few people will protest and they will crush them  and that&#8217;s all."  &gt;continue&lt;

Bahrain curation

Bahrain: The Revolution That Wasn’t

"I remember the 14 February night — I cannot forget this night. Really I cannot forget," says the man, who asked not to be named. "Even my wife, she was telling me you’ll be crazy. At the end, you will be crazy. Nothing will happen. A few people will protest and they will crush them and that’s all."  >continue<

Bahrain curation

June 2nd
6:09 PM

US Should Move Navy Base from Bahrain

The HQ of the US Fifth Fleet is at Manama, the capital of Bahrain. But there are other places such a naval base could be sited in the Gulf, including in Qatar.

Given the sentiments in President Obama’s recent speeches and his pledge to put the US on the side of reform in the region, it is ghoulish for the US to retain a major military facility in a country that has behaved as Bahrain has.

May 9th
8:50 AM
While Bahrain Destroys Shia Mosques, U.S. Remains Quiet

 
In the ancient Bahraini village of Aali, where some graves date to 2000&#160;B.C., the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque had stood for more than 400 years — one of the handsomest Shiite Muslim mosques in this small island nation in the Persian Gulf.
Today, only bulldozer tracks remain.
[&#8230;] Authorities have held secret trials where protesters have been sentenced to death, arrested prominent mainstream opposition politicians, jailed nurses and doctors who treated injured protesters, seized the health care system that had been run primarily by Shiites, fired 1,000 Shiite professionals and canceled their pensions, detained students and teachers who took part in the protests, beat and arrested journalists, and forced the closure of the only opposition newspaper.

Nothing, however, has struck harder at the fabric of this nation, where Shiites outnumber Sunnis nearly 4 to 1, than the destruction of Shiite worship centers.

 
See also: Bahrain charges medics for aiding protesters

While Bahrain Destroys Shia Mosques, U.S. Remains Quiet

In the ancient Bahraini village of Aali, where some graves date to 2000 B.C., the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque had stood for more than 400 years — one of the handsomest Shiite Muslim mosques in this small island nation in the Persian Gulf.

Today, only bulldozer tracks remain.

[…] Authorities have held secret trials where protesters have been sentenced to death, arrested prominent mainstream opposition politicians, jailed nurses and doctors who treated injured protesters, seized the health care system that had been run primarily by Shiites, fired 1,000 Shiite professionals and canceled their pensions, detained students and teachers who took part in the protests, beat and arrested journalists, and forced the closure of the only opposition newspaper.

Nothing, however, has struck harder at the fabric of this nation, where Shiites outnumber Sunnis nearly 4 to 1, than the destruction of Shiite worship centers.

See also: Bahrain charges medics for aiding protesters

May 3rd
5:10 PM
Bahrain charges medics for aiding protestersDoctors and nurses who treated injured anti-government protesters to stand trial in military court.

 
At a press conference on Tuesday, Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa, the justice minister, read the charges against the medical staff, which included &#8220;promoting efforts to bring down the government&#8221; and &#8220;harming the public by spreading false news.&#8221;

Al Khalifa also said that another 23 doctors and 24 nurses faced charges included participating in attempts to topple the Gulf island&#8217;s Sunni monarchy and taking part in illegal rallies. &gt;source&lt;

Bahrain charges medics for aiding protesters
Doctors and nurses who treated injured anti-government protesters to stand trial in military court.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa, the justice minister, read the charges against the medical staff, which included “promoting efforts to bring down the government” and “harming the public by spreading false news.”

Al Khalifa also said that another 23 doctors and 24 nurses faced charges included participating in attempts to topple the Gulf island’s Sunni monarchy and taking part in illegal rallies. >source<

April 22nd
1:05 PM
Via
"We are calling to the US, the United Nations, the EU. Where are they? Where is the world? Why are they silent?"
—  An unnamed man at the funeral of 15-year-old Sayed Ahmed Said Shems in the Shiite village of Saar, Bahrain late last month. Monitor reporter Kristen Chick explores Why US silence on Bahrain’s crackdown could backfire. (via csmonitor)
April 14th
3:15 PM
Via

Bahrain government moves to disband Shia opposition

The government of Bahrain has gone to court seeking to disband two Shia opposition groups.

State media said the ministry of justice and Islamic affairs had “filed a lawsuit to dissolve the Islamic Action Association and al-Wefaq”.

The two groups were accused of violating the constitution and “harming social peace and national unity”.

The government has used force to put down protests calling for reform of the Gulf state’s Sunni monarchy.

Bahrain imposed emergency rule last month after weeks of anti-government protests in the kingdom, where many Shias accuse the monarchy of discrimination.

More than 25 people have been killed in the unrest.

Read More

April 7th
1:36 AM
Iran&#8217;s Blue-Collar Revolution

[the working class] have historically made up a significant portion of Ahmadinejad&#8217;s base. Their loyalty cemented with generous government largesse, they mostly stayed on the side of the president after the contested June 2009 election, when thousands of protesters took to the streets to denounce the results. Those discontents called themselves the Green Movement, drawn primarily from the ranks of the middle class, intelligentsia, and students. The underclass, still loyal to the regime and Ahmadinejad, became known as the Blues
&#8230; As its leaders understand, the Green Movement&#8217;s future hinges crucially on its ability to make common cause with the Blues. The continued deterioration of the economy creates that opportunity  &gt;read more&lt;

Though the &#8220;The Blues are going Green&#8221; argument may be cause for hope, perhaps causing existential angst among the Basij &#8220;enforcers&#8221;, there may also be reason for dread. The crisis in Bahrain - featuring Saudi aid in the brutal marginalization of the 70% Shia majority - could provide a useful pretext for Iranian brinkmanship in the Gulf.  It wouldn&#8217;t be the first time domestic political woes enticed leaders into working national aspirations toward an external focus.

Iran’s Blue-Collar Revolution

[the working class] have historically made up a significant portion of Ahmadinejad’s base. Their loyalty cemented with generous government largesse, they mostly stayed on the side of the president after the contested June 2009 election, when thousands of protesters took to the streets to denounce the results. Those discontents called themselves the Green Movement, drawn primarily from the ranks of the middle class, intelligentsia, and students. The underclass, still loyal to the regime and Ahmadinejad, became known as the Blues

… As its leaders understand, the Green Movement’s future hinges crucially on its ability to make common cause with the Blues. The continued deterioration of the economy creates that opportunity  >read more<

Though the “The Blues are going Green” argument may be cause for hope, perhaps causing existential angst among the Basij “enforcers”, there may also be reason for dread. The crisis in Bahrain - featuring Saudi aid in the brutal marginalization of the 70% Shia majority - could provide a useful pretext for Iranian brinkmanship in the Gulf.  It wouldn’t be the first time domestic political woes enticed leaders into working national aspirations toward an external focus.

March 26th
7:38 PM

It’s the Popular Sovereignty, Stupid

It is not that they are John Stuart Mill liberals. The crowds have a communitarian aspect, and demands jobs and for free formation of labor unions and the right to bargain collectively form a key part of the protest movements…

That the movements have been so powerfully informed by this Rousseauan impulse helps explain their key demands and why they keep spreading.  >Juan Cole @ Informed Comment<

March 25th
7:48 AM
Via

Friday is shaping up to be a big day in #Bahrain #Syria and #Yemen

telecomix-emcom:

Bahrain - Day of Rage

Syria  - Dignity Friday

Yemen - Friday of Departure

March 15th
4:24 PM
Via
negevrockcity:

Nick Kristof’s Facebook wall is covered in minute-by-minute Bahrain updates; scaring the hell out of me right now. Not good.

negevrockcity:

Nick Kristof’s Facebook wall is covered in minute-by-minute Bahrain updates; scaring the hell out of me right now. Not good.

10:09 AM
Via
nickturse:

Iran Calls Saudi Troops in Bahrain ‘Unacceptable’ - NYTimes.com
From an article in today’s New York Times by ETHAN BRONNER and MICHAEL SLACKMAN:
“We don’t know what is going to happen,” Jassim Hussein Ali, a member of  the opposition Wefaq party and a former member of Parliament, said in a  phone interview. “Bahrain is heading toward major problems, anarchy.  This is an occupation, and this is not welcome.”

Things may get worse in the Gulf, where tectonic political frictions increase. Bahrain&#8217;s 70% Shia population is effectively marginalized from politics in the kingdom.  Collateral effects in Shia majority Iraq could also further complicate matters for U.S.  
See the recent realclearworld.com piece, The Battle Between Iran and Saudi Arabia

nickturse:

Iran Calls Saudi Troops in Bahrain ‘Unacceptable’ - NYTimes.com

From an article in today’s New York Times by ETHAN BRONNER and MICHAEL SLACKMAN:

“We don’t know what is going to happen,” Jassim Hussein Ali, a member of the opposition Wefaq party and a former member of Parliament, said in a phone interview. “Bahrain is heading toward major problems, anarchy. This is an occupation, and this is not welcome.”

Things may get worse in the Gulf, where tectonic political frictions increase. Bahrain’s 70% Shia population is effectively marginalized from politics in the kingdom.  Collateral effects in Shia majority Iraq could also further complicate matters for U.S.  

See the recent realclearworld.com piece, The Battle Between Iran and Saudi Arabia