Bahrain has seen many violations, hostile actions, and aggressiveness dished out by the Al-Khalifa regime over the last few weeks. At the same time, Bahrain has seen a nation take a stand, a national leader not succumb to pressure, and acts of compassion – carried out by the Bahraini people since the start of the month.
Over the last week, the Al-Khalifa regime orchestrated the nationality revocation of most prominent religious scholar in Bahrain, Ayatollah Isa Qassim. The nation countered by surrounding the house of the sheikh with thousands of citizens, peacefully making a stand and garrisoning his property to ensure his safety.
Moreover, the Al-Khalifa regime has also chosen to rearrest prominent human rights defender, Nabeel Rajab, whose health has deteriorated rapidly while in jail. It subsidized this violation by preventing numerous activists from leaving Bahrain to carry out advocacy and partake in rights conferences worldwide and in particular in Geneva.
The Al-Khalifa regime’s image has been severely tarnished by its barbaric actions in opposing and trying to snuff out the 14 February 2011 uprising, and it sees activists’ activities abroad as key to the downfall of its image internationally. Therefore, it has reverted to its barbarous roots and habits, and arrested a key Bahraini activist, and led a blanket prevention against all Bahraini activists from carrying out their internationally enshrined obligations and rights.
The Al-Khalifa’s allies, specifically the UK and US, must understand now that the actions of the Bahraini people, in surrounding the house of Ayatollah Isa Qassim, in continuing with peaceful demands for democratic transformation since 2011, in supporting the works of activists nationally and abroad, may tip the unruly regime towards violence and a bloody crackdown. The regime may direct its anger at Ayatollah Isa Qassim and the peaceful protesters outside his home. Many armoured vehicles and security personnel have surrounded the area, and prevented travel to the house. It looks set to siege and violently clear out the protesters.
The regime’s Western allies thus, must, as the backers of this violent regime prevent the possibility of further bloodshed or violent confrontation.