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Bahrainis Propose Council for Dialogue

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TEHRAN, March 19 (ICANA) – Bahraini protesters continue to stand against the Saudi invasion of their country and refuse to back down from their demands for reform and an end to the Al Khalifa family's rule.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 12:19:14 PM
Bahrainis Propose Council for Dialogue

The following is a transcript of a Press TV interview with Bahraini lawmaker Mattar Ibrahim as he speaks from Sitra about the proposition of a united council representing the Bahraini people to open a dialogue with the ruling party.

Q: You're in the city of Sitra now where the gatherings have been in remembrance of the martyrs, the martyrs are being buried. Can you give us an image of the situation there?

Ibrahim: In fact, there was a funeral about to start but there was a delay because the family of the martyr didn't get him yet. So, it will be delayed maybe after the display today.

Q: What are the protesters demanding there?

Ibrahim: The demands are still the same. We are asking for a political reform, a real political reform where the people can elect their government, and to have a legislative council with full authority. Those demands will be continued. Using force and violence will not force the Bahrainis to go for a different scope of political reform.

Q: We're having reports that Bahraini authorities have detained almost all of the opposition figures there. If this has happened then there's no way for dialogue.

Ibrahim: Of course. Nobody from the government is speaking about dialogue. They only think about security. And they feel that security can be obtained by violence and force. This is a wrong thought. The United States has clearly shown full ignorance of all the messages from the UN and Western countries. The hardliners from the ruling family are ignoring all these messages. They are now alone, nobody supports their policy.

Q: How strong and unified is the opposition in Bahrain. Is there a certified leadership in Bahrain that can lead this uprising or revolution in a certain direction?

Ibrahim: In fact, the opposition is partly united for clear demands. We are asking for elected council to initiate a dialogue. We asked the government for dialogue but they didn't declare it clearly. We said that we need to go for elected council and this council will represent the Bahrainis.

And through this council we can change the constitution of Bahrain. We can discuss, debate on the issues we do not agree on. We refuse to enter a dialogue with people who don't represent the Bahrainis. The ruling family is trying to say that they are representing the Sunnis and this is not at all. The Sunnis are against violence.

The Sunnis don't accept to use force against peaceful protesters. They are scattered, divided. The Shias are divided. Each one has certain talks about what is the plan. In fact, I think the election will determine who is with political reform and who is against.

Q: You're in Bahrain. Why is it that the West is instigating Sunnis and Shias against each other? Why is it that it's doing this sectarian strife?

Ibrahim: The ruling family, when declaring this sectarian issue thinks that this will be an obstacle for reform in Bahrain. We believe that the obstacles for reform in Bahrain are not the Sunnis. Not even, I think, the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

And not even the department of the state. The real obstacle for the change in Bahrain is the hardliners and the ruling family who are controlling everything at this moment. They are putting the plan and whoever would like to join them is welcome. So, the agenda already drawn in Bahrain is internal.

I feel it is an internal policy, an internal agenda. But this policy may put Bahrain as a place of regional conflict. We don't want to be another Iraq or Lebanon. We would like to go for a civil state in Bahrain. But going for a regional conflict in Bahrain will lead us to a very bad situation which would not help enter talks nor would it be in the interest of the United States.

Q: You're a member of the parliament. So far, we know that the Wifaq group has quit the parliament. What is there that the parliament can do to put pressure on the Al Khalifa dynasty to put pressure on those political reforms?

Ibrahim: The parliament doesn't have any legitimacy because about 64 percent of the voters will succeed the person in the last election. So the current members [of parliament] don't represent the Bahrainis. We need to repair our voting system in Bahrain because it is not fair. That's why we are asking for a dialogue to an elected council.

Q: How do you see this hypocrisy view towards Bahrain and the Saudi Arabia invasion?

Ibrahim: I'm seeing that the Saudi agenda are on the ground while the United States are just condoning what's going on. There is not enough at all because even the Saudis are supporting the hardliners to solve the issue through violence and this is a wrong policy which would not lead to any solution. This will not help the interests of the Western countries or Bahrainis. We believe that what's going on in Bahrain requires a political solution through a dialogue with the people who represent the Bahrainis not just anyone.

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