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Saudi Invaders Not Welcome in Bahrain: Rights Activist

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TEHRAN, March 15 (ICANA) – Troops from a number of Persian Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, have arrived in Bahrain to quash mass protests upon the request of the king of the tiny kingdom.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 12:50:51 PM
Saudi Invaders Not Welcome in Bahrain: Rights Activist

Press TV talks with Nabeel Rajab, president of the Center for Human Rights in Manama, about the latest developments in Bahrain.

Q: According to Bahrain TV, forces from other Arab states are arriving to curb the protests in Bahrain. What are your thoughts on that? The Arab world's fear contagion is rapidly spreading and many analysts anticipate that other Persian Gulf states, the PGCC members, would try to prevent the collapse of the monarchy in Bahrain. To what lengths will they go to?

Nabeel Rajab: Regarding the forces coming in from Saudi, this is completely unacceptable and they are not welcome to the Bahraini nation. A lot of people are linking this to the secretary of defense of the US who visited Bahrain two days ago.

[Persian] Gulf forces, when they were formed, they were formed to protect the country from any outside invasion or danger. They were not formed to interfere in internal issues that is happening in Bahrain. If they bring them in to crack down on the uprising of protests calling for democracy and human rights, that will look very bad and the people of Bahrain will consider these troops as invaders, not friends of our country.

Going back to your previous question, you have to understand that there are two groups among the opposition now; one group is calling for reform of human rights and for political participation, and elections by the people for an elected government.

But there is another group, which is growing fast and becoming powerful, calling for the change of the whole regime. And this has grown exponentially since the government has started using violence killing people in the streets.

Monday, protesters in front of the royal court were approximately 100,000 to 150,000 people; this is one quarter of the Bahraini population marching on the royal court calling for the removal of the whole regime.

I think as the government takes longer time in meeting the demands of the people and for political reform as they see the people coming out in the street calling for changing the whole regime, it becomes a very dangerous situation.

And now the government is depending completely on mercenaries that they bought from Pakistan and from Jordan, Syria and Yemen. If you were here in the past two days, you would have seen groups of mercenaries in each and every city trying to attack people.

Monday, we had approximately 1,000 to 1,200 people injured. Among those injuries, many were caused as a result of attacks made by mercenaries brought in from outside the country.

The government is almost losing control on the ground. Today, Bahrain has no businesses operating, no work, no financial sector; the whole country has closed down.

Last night, the crown prince said he intends to have a parliament that has a little more power; he said there would be fairer elections, but this is too little too late. It is always too little too late; he has to meet the demands of the people which are an elected government; a constitution written by the people; ruling family away from the government, stop corruption, and improvement in human rights.

I say again the people calling for the whole regime to be changed are increasing so much that the government is going to reach a point where they are going to have no control at all.

Q: You say that the al Khalifas are losing control of what's going on in the streets of Bahrain - Do you think that Bahrain's image has been weakened and damaged by the regime's violence?

Nabeel Rajab: Yes. The regime has always tried to present itself as a country that respects democracy and human rights, a strong environment for the economy, for business and investment.

Whoever saw Bahrain Monday realizes what is being said by the government is incorrect. Yes the government is losing control because the people, minute by minute, see the violent reaction of the government, they get angrier and increasing numbers come to the streets.

Before, we used to see only young people in the streets chanting against the government; now old men, old women, young children, all are chanting against the government.

There is a double standard in the West that must be mentioned and especially from the US government. They have to treat Bahrain as they treat Iran, as they treat Egypt and everywhere. This country is using violence against its own people. The US has to come out with strong words as they did in Egypt and elsewhere. I know they have a military presence and an oil interest here; no one is going to jeopardize that or attack those interests. You have to have one standard regarding policy of other countries.

Violence is violence and violation of human rights is violation of human rights whether committed in Bahrain, or in Iran, or Egypt. The American government is the biggest influence in our region. If they use violence in our region, it means they have a green light from the US to do so.

If the US wanted to stop the use of violence in Bahrain against its own people, the US is the only country, a bigger influence that the UN, and they could stop these attacks. So I ask the US to pressure this ruling family to stop using violence against its own people.

Q: Back to the topic of other Arab states intervening in events taking place on the streets of Bahrain; the Saudi King reportedly said to Bahrain's ruling family that if they don't crush the uprising there, his forces will. What would it mean for Saudi Arabia should anything happen to Bahrain's monarchy?

Nabeel Rajab: It will have repercussions back in their own country. The Saudis are not happy with their own regime. The human rights record in Saudi Arabia is the worst in the world. Unfortunately no one speaks about it because it is a rich country.

We are living in an area of dictatorship; of oppressive regimes. People will not accept the intrusion in Bahrain from Saudi Arabia. The Bahrainis will not be happy, but the Saudis too will not be happy.

I didn't say about the Arab states, I'm talking about the Persian Gulf countries. None of the Arab states have said that they would intervene, only the [P]GCC states which are ruled by families. These are oppressive regimes themselves.

Their own time will come in when their own people will overcome and overthrow these regimes and those dictators. The Bahraini people view this Saudi government as invaders.

We have two demands: democracy and human rights. An army coming to crackdown on people behaving peacefully and calling for democracy and human rights is unacceptable in this world today. The whole world has to say that this is completely wrong.

It is the least we can demand from our own government to choose our own government; it is our legitimate right guaranteed by international convention and all human rights treaties.

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