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The Bahraini opposition...The first to leave - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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When Bahrain’s largest opposition group the Wefaq National Islamic Society [Wefaq] withdrew from the National Consensus Dialogue that is taking place in the country, it proved once again that it is following the principles of McCarthyism with regards to its political dealings, even if this comes at the cost of the nation. We can understand following the principle of “a means to an end” as a basic rule for some in political dealings, but when that “means” becomes too extreme, namely pushing the street towards chaos, then this is something that no party that has the nation’s interest at heart can countenance.

The Bahraini opposition is committing one mistake after another, relying on a revolutionary desire to appeal to the street in its decision-making process, without considering the consequences of its repeated mistakes. It took the decision to withdraw from parliament just two days after the outbreak of the February protests, as if it were searching fro any pretext to take this step. The Bahraini opposition was favourably disposed towards the Shiite hardliners and was swept along with their demands to overthrow the monarchy and establish a republic in its stead. The Bahraini opposition reached the stage where it was failing to take any clear or strong positions, with regards to calling for or condemning the overthrowing of the monarch, along the famous manner of [Abu Sufyan who said], “I did not urge my men to do so, yet I do not feel sorry for their deed.” The Bahraini street reached a state of deadlock; however the opposition chose to move the street towards anger rather than calm. Thus when the national dialogue occurred, the opposition was hesitant to take part in this, even the day before it was due to begin. When it did subsequently participate in this dialogue, it made threats and foamed with rage, which subsequently resulted in it taking the expected decision, namely Wefaq announcing its withdrawal from the national dialogue.

Wefaq’s problem is a complicated one, for it knows the correct way to achieve its reformative demands but it insists on entering through the window, even if this will not allow it to achieve all of its demands, and even if this window is slowly closing around it. However it chooses this solution for the sake of continuing to attract the street, which is something that is clear for everybody to see. So here we have Wefaq, announcing its withdrawal from the national dialogue, and calling for the Shiites to take to the streets and rally on Friday! Let us wait and see [what will happen], and what surprises this Wefaq rally will bring.

What is most striking about Wefaq’s decision to withdraw from the national dialogue is its claims that these talks will not produce a political solution to the crisis, and that the dialogue’s recommendations have been prepared in advance and will further complicate the political crisis in Bahrain. However everybody knows that the national dialogue’s recommendations have yet to be finalized, and so it would be impossible for these to have been submitted to the King for his approval. So how can Wefaq know that this national dialogue will not recommend the implementation of its own political demands? Why do they believe that the “happy ending” – from Wefaq’s point of view – can only be achieved aggravation?

Those following the recent developments and decisions taken by the Bahraini opposition can almost be certain that Wefaq are more concerned with what is happening externally than what is happening internally. For the opposition only agreed to take part in the national dialogue after being taken by surprise at the international welcome that these talks received, and it is now withdrawing in order to send a message to the outside world and throw the ball in the government’s court. The Wefaq statement said that dialogue “does not aim to find a comprehensive and permanent political solution to what we, and the international community, demand.” Those observing the situation must realize that Wefaq is more than skilled at pulling the strings of foreign sympathy, even if this comes at the expense of the national as a whole. For what “national interests” are Wefaq talking about here?

We must also remind Wefaq that rather than issuing successive enthusiastic statements, condemning the terrorist bombings in India, welcoming the Palestinian reconciliation, and welcoming the constitutional reforms in Morocco, would it not be better to issue a statement – even a single statement – condemning the latest official comments from Iran that called for the establishment of an Islamic republic there? Or is this Wefaq’s known position, and therefore not worth repeating?

Salman Al-dossary

Salman Al-dossary

Salman Aldosary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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