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God Protect Bahrain and its People - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The discourse about Bahrain and the events that have been taking place there must be accurate and objective in order to ensure that this clearly and accurately reflects what is going on in the country.

Looking at the local Bahraini media, it is clear that the majority of the news is split between two camps. The first camp claims that the people want regime change because “the regime is blood-thirsty, violent, and criminal” and that what is happening in Syria is “precisely what is happening in Bahrain.” While the opposing camp completely denies the presence of any justification for the opposition’s complaints, claiming that this opposition is a puppet and tool planted in the country for destructive and malignant purposes. In this manner, the discourse in Bahrain represents a dialogue of the deaf, with each side being completely unwilling to listen to the other and keen to show that they are right, ignoring what is best for Bahrain.

I would say that I am well acquainted with Bahrain; I have personal relations with people in different parties and sectors of the country and have visited Bahrain on an ongoing basis over the past thirty years. I can see objective reasons for some segments of Bahraini society to have objections towards the government, corruption, and the presence of favoritism within some state institutions. However these are ills and problems present in every Arab country, not just Bahrain. Nobody can say that there is no good reason for the presence of objection and opposition in Bahrain, but the ridiculous claim that Bahrain is akin to Syria is not just an exaggeration, but an outright lie.

Syria is a country where the regime is massacring its own people on a daily basis to incite terror and panic. This is in order to sanctify the rule of a regime so that we have the pathetic situation where governance is bequeathed from father to son. This set a disgraceful precedent in the country which culminated in the unprecedented scenes of violence and murder being carried out by this regime against the unarmed Syrian people.

There can also be no doubt that the Bahraini opposition has been inconsistent, resorting to an increasingly provocative approach. The opposition has continued to raise the ceiling of demands while ignoring the other segments of Bahraini society. This is something that has been apparent since the Khomeinist revolution in Iran, particularly as the so-called independence, or shall we say absorption of Bahrain was one of the Islamic revolution’s major objectives. Iran itself has not hesitated to confirm this stance, and this can be seen in leaks, statements, and the explicit interference in Bahraini affairs in an ongoing and provocative manner. This is something that was particularly apparent following the Bahraini opposition’s decision not to participate in the government’s national dialogue initiative, as well as its refusal to condemn Iranian interference in domestic affairs. It does not require much intelligence or fore-sight to discover the source of the Bahraini opposition’s refusals in this regard, nor its alliance with Iran and Tehran’s revolutionary intelligence apparatus, for these are all clear to see.

There are different opposition groups, which have the support of hundreds of thousands of citizens, who oppose this particular approach. They are of the view that this escalation is destroying Bahrain’s reputation, security, and economy. Bahrain is an economy that relies primarily on security and stability, and development will stall in the absence of this, which is something that is already beginning to happen today.

Bahrain is in need of wisdom on all sides, particularly on the part of those who are of the view that there is no pretext for opposition, as well as the opposing camp who believe that they alone represent all segments of the opposition. Bahrain deserves better than both of these camps. We ask God Almighty to bring these two groups together.

God protect Bahrain and its people.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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