US and British leaders love to invoke the concept of human rights when promoting their latest neoliberal crusade. UN Ambassador Samantha Power’s career has consisted almost entirely of this strategy: creating human rights propaganda, demonizing countries that assert their independence and justifying the next NATO bombing campaign.
One great example of the human rights hypocrisy of western leaders can be found in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Bahrain is not a democracy, but an autocratic monarchy. The constitution ensures members of the ruling Al-Khalifa family the final say on all matters. The country is rated by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other humanitarian and international legal organizations as one of the most repressive societies on earth. According to Human Rights Watch, “Torture is a regular part of the legal process in Bahrain.”
Half of Bahrain’s population are not citizens, and have no rights at all. Guest workers from the Philippines and Southeast Asia live as modern-day slaves. Even among the Bahraini citizens, there are conditions described in testimony to the US House of Representatives as similar to apartheid. Shia Muslims, who constitute a 70% majority of the country’s population, are routinely discriminated against.
In 2011, when people in Bahrain revolted as part of the Arab Spring, they were rounded up and tortured. After Saudi Arabia sent in its troops to defend the monarchy and put down the mass uprising demanding democracy, a number of Bahraini dissidents were “disappeared” and later killed without even a trial.
A Hotbed of Terrorism and Hate
The crimes of the Al-Khalifa family that rules Bahrain are not only domestic. Bahrain has a made a point of sending weapons and funding to anti-government fighters in Syria. As Syria grows more unstable, and ISIS has emerged, horrifying the world with its criminal acts of terrorism, the Bahraini autocracy continues to send weapons and money to jihadist groups.
Abdul Rahman al-Hamd, a leading influential Bahraini Salafist religious leader, relocated to Syria in 2013 in order to join anti-government terrorism. Members of the Bahraini parliament have very publicly delivered funds and money to armed Salafi terrorists in Syria on multiple occasions. It has been established that training camps for Salafi terrorist groups exist within Bahrain itself.
A significant number of Bahrainis are known to be members of ISIS. Abu Hamza al-Bahraini, a 23-year-old Bahraini also known as Ali Yusuf, very publicly participates in ISIS terrorism on social media. Social media has also widely circulated a photo of an ISIS flag being displayed at the largest mosque in Bahrain on the Islamic Holiday of Eid.
The repression of the majority Shia population in Bahrain, universally condemned by the world, is consistent with the Bahraini foreign policy of supporting Salafi terrorists. In Saudi Arabia and the aligned surrounding countries including Bahrain, children are taught to view Shia Islam as a “Jewish Conspiracy Against The King.” The jihadists in Syria, including the Al-Nusra Front and ISIS, call for slaughter of the “Shia apostates.”
Takfiri fighters, armed with weapons manufactured in the United States and supplied by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey, and Jordan, openly intend to slaughter Shia Muslims. Many takfiri, Salafi, and Wahhabi fighters believe that if they kill seven Shias they will be guaranteed admission to paradise.
The primary ideological motivation for the amassing of takfiri terrorists in Syria is contempt for the country’s Alawite religious minority. Bashar Assad and many leading members of the ruling Baath Arab Socialist Party in Syria are Alawites. Takfiris, Wahhabis, and Salafis consider Alawites to be “Shia apostates” worthy of execution.
A Terror-Linked Apartheid Regime
The Kingdom of Bahrain hosts of the Fifth Fleet of the US Navy. When Baghdad was ripped to shreds with “shock and awe,” the cruise missiles were fired from aircraft carriers that had docked in Bahrain. The Pentagon’s forces of destruction, no longer officially operating within the borders of Saudi Arabia, are stationed in the tiny Kingdom of Bahrain.
The British Navy has announced that it is also setting up shop in the terrorism-linked autocracy. Soon, the US Fifth Fleet will be joined by a division of Her Majesty’s Navy.
Extremely anti-democratic practices, hatred and repression of Shia Muslims, and violent terrorism are not things that western leaders proclaim to believe in. As they seek to isolate and attack countries like Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, People’s Korea, China, Russia, and Iran, they pretend to be believers in “freedom,” “human rights,” and “equality.” Furthermore, they claim to be fighting a “war against terrorism,” and seek to protect their citizens and the world from the menace of takfiri terrorists like ISIS.
However, western leaders have done everything they can to prop up the terrorism supporting the repressive, autocratic, apartheid regime in Bahrain.
Consider these facts the next time you see western leaders on TV, lecturing the world about human rights and terrorism.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.