From the pan, into the fire.

17 Jan, '07

Bandargate - take 2

A few weeks ago we were treated to a story more engaging than Harry Potter, more thrilling than any of John Grisham’s and certainly with more mystery and mystique than any of Wilbur Smith’s novels. Unfortunately the spineless national press refused to write about it conveniently hiding behind a cloak readily provided by a judicial order unrelated to the real “meat” of the report. The political societies who have become part and parcel of the “democratic experiment” not only refused to raise any flags (other than a so far feeble attempt by Al-Wefaq) but have publicly stated that they will not investigate it, nor question the named and shamed minister in the report. Al-Wefaq are promising (and that remains to be seen) that they will demand an investigation and if implicated will table a motion for a vote of confidence; this remains to be seen and as today is the first “real” day of the new parliament, I await to hear news that might shape this parliament for its lifetime.

If only the world would just stay still while they (all political societies and the government) make up their mind on one side, and the other to have some measure of decency to apologise and resign.

But the world does not wait for anyone. Time marches on… and now we have an apparently more damning report about to be released which explodes various schemes to firmly turn the country into the jaws of sectarian despair.

God help Bahrain.

The cover image above shows the contents of “Bandargate Version 2 which I have no doubt will – once again – rock the nation; in it, the report details very scary and very thorough undercover “black” operations movies are yet to be made of. Some of the points discussed include comprehensive strategic and tactical plans with which the government allegedly spied on a friendly nation – the States – and put more plans in place to further marginalise the Shi’a:

    1. Neutralizing the opposition and the Clerics’ Council
      We have seen how desperate the government was (is) during the recently held parliamentary elections to ensure that the world knows that the only available opposition are the Shi’a; hence exerted all efforts to completely ensure that no Sunni opposition figure succeeds in getting through to parliament, and the government won. So far. But Wa’ad still refuse to surrender and continue to increase their political activities and now enjoy much more public affinity than they ever had in their recent history. That is becoming a rather large thorn in the government’s side.
      The other part of this equation is the apparent requirement of the leaders of this scheme to completely sideline the Clerics’ Council, it being the highest Shi’a religious authority and which almost every Shi’a naturally turn to for spiritual and life guidance. We have witnessed their power already in the rather large demonstration they mounted against the proposed Family Law; they got what is estimated by some to be 150,000 people – 1/3rd of the indigenous population – demonstrating against this law, amply showing the power they enjoy amongst the populace. Therefore, no plan such as what this report purports could ever succeed without the full containment of this religious body.
    2. Demographic Engineering
      meaning I suspect the increased pace of naturalization of Sunni Muslims in numbers to outstrip the indigenous Shi’a population. The estimates of over 70% a few years ago are already said to be reduced to a differential of less than 60%. Therefore, having the Shi’a become a minority adopting these methods does not stretch the imagination too much.
    3. The restructuring of civil society
      I’m not sure what to read into this, other than to borrow from the spirit of the plan itself in which powers are totally and utterly shifted toward the subservience of the Shi’a.
    4. The future; it remains to be seen what this chapter contains
    5. The American/Bahraini relationships
      There have been rumours around for years in which it has been alleged that the Bahraini intelligence has penetrated deep within the American Embassy! This to me is rather far fetched, at least Hollywood leads me to believe in its impossibility, but I wonder if the report will touch on this particularly juicy rumour, the outcome of which could be stellar if indeed it approaches the truth. Could this be the straw that would break the proverbial camel’s back? Could this be a reason for the 5th Fleet to bid us adieu? And if it does indeed does so, would this be the signal to start a civil war?

I am sure that you are, like me, are very anxious to read this report if for nothing but to have an insight into this expanding conspiracy. Which leads me to yet another natural question:

What’s Dr. Salah Al-Bandar getting out of all this?

These kind of allegations, just the allegations mind you would topple governments and end dynasties; however, as we have seen with Version 1 the government dealt with it in a rather confounded and confused manner, leading ultimately for them to pull some strings to get a judicial order from a criminal court – mind you – to stop discussions and analysis of that version’s contents. What are they going to do now? Resort to the same unfortunate steps to further silence critics?

Regardless, let me get back to the question posed: what is Dr. Salah Al-Bandar get out of all of this? As far as I know he was happily employed by my government and amply rewarded for his strategic planning. He suddenly caught a bout of “honesty” and released a first report that set the whole island upside down, and he has now released an even more damning report, yet he is not getting rewarded for his efforts in monetary terms. Could it be that he is simply a megalomaniac who knows that this kind of operation would probably cement his name in the annals of history? Or is his motivation the destruction of a dynasty? I really do not know. And frankly, I do not care. What I care about deeply; however, is the content, the message, rather than the envelope it comes in, and if Dr. Salah Al-Bandar in both of his reports is bringing to our attention grievous attempts by an entity to further marginalise a large sector of my country, then I would simply advise that perpetrator to use absolute caution because I can guarantee that this will not just burn their fingers, but would evaporate their existence!

The solution to this situation is once again readily available and is present for all to see: absolutely refuse sectarianism! How difficult is it to realise this fact? All it takes for a semi conscience person to realise it is look to our North and smell the stench of burnt and bleeding bodies, of listening and hearing destitute orphans, the whines of widows and the wrenching keen cries of grieving mothers.

What would be the benefit of all of this to the perpetrators of this chaos? Longevity? I honestly do not think so. The whole country is sitting squarely on a powder keg with a rather short and fidgety fuse. Do they think that their stability would really be ensured by approaching this explosive situation with a lit torch?

God save Bahrain.

Update 20 Jan, ’07 @ 2013: Click the following link to read a more detailed summary of the report:

Based on the Haq Movement summary report.

Summary of the report:
Bahrain: 2005-2010, the Action Plan of Secret Web

The UK-based Gulf Center for Democratic Development (GCDD) issued its second report about a clandestine operation to lead, manage and finance undercover webs in Bahrain. The report, which was issued last week, is titled: “Bahrain: 2005-2010, the first part of the Plan of Action of Secret Web”. The report is contained in 240 pages.

It is divided into six main Chapters:

    1. The first part titled Containment of Scholar “Olama” Council, the first section includes a detailed plan for activating the role of the security services in tightening its grip on the Shiite religious organizations, places of worship, charitable organizations and its cultural and social frontages. A subsection is focused on the establishment of tools to fully control the Scholar “Olama” Council (SC) and the rule of the jurisprudent “Welayat Al- Faqih” supporters from the security, political and religious aspects. It establishes a specialized “unit” in the National Security Council to monitor and analyze Shia activities, while benefiting from the expertise of the friendly Arab and Western security bodies (including Israeli methods). The aim is to impose the State’s full control, as well as the containment of the role of the religious authority and deprive it from playing a role in public life, in support of the Bahraini National Security Strategy. It includes a review of the so called “Shia propaganda mechanisms”, the situation of Al-Wefaq after its registration and posture with regards to 2006 elections and how to deal with it.
    2. The second section gives an overall perception of the methodology the State, represented by the Royal Court and the executive bodies, and directives addressing the most prominent related issues (the Constitution and its amendments demands + Naturalization + Political Societies Code + Family Law + The Judiciary and Endowments). It also covers special topics of the executive power (living conditions and unemployment + Education + Health + Housing + Victims of Torture + Processions and demonstrations). The last sub-section provides guidelines to deal with public issues concerned with sectarianism, coexistence, national loyalty, freedom of expression and national dialogue. The objective of this plan is the unification of concepts and attitudes among official bodies in the raised issues on both internal and external arenas.
    3. The third section deals with the priorities of the naturalization “challenge” and the need for a strategic decision in which the “exception” in granting citizenship to be the rule, while meeting naturalization conditions for granting of citizenship as being the exception. It monitors the priorities in targeted nationalities as sources of naturalization (Sunnis from Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, and those living in the Gulf without enjoying any current nationality – “bidoun”, ie stateless persons). It recommends an increased pace of naturalizations of 50 thousand people per year in order to outnumber and contain the Shi’a population by the year 2010.
    4. Section Four outlines the necessary executive steps to reorganize civic societies, through the mechanisms of the Ministries of Social Affairs and Justice. It includes the re-integration of employees of Ministries of Defense, Interior and the National Guards in the civilian life in order to combat the rising activity of civic organizations in public life.
    5. The Fifth Section it is concerned with the strategy and plan of action among youths (the future) and the best ways and channels needed to keep them from the grip of Shiite religious leaders. It identifies areas and alternative incubators for enhancing the youths’ loyalty to the Regime and the consolidation of its vision of the fundamental values of society.
    6. The Sixth and final part covers the role of the American Embassy in Bahrain and outlines how the regime should deal with it and contain its activities and its support of civic organizations in the light of Democratization Law. The report alleges the successful intelligence infiltration of the American Embassy. The report also details the planning of the expulsion of the NDI representative. Further, the document also covers reflections about the Guantanamo prisoners and the Future Forum on the opposition activities.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Like many (most, dare one say?) of your countrypeople, I agree with you that the ‘ solution to this situation is once again readily available and is present for all to see: absolutely refuse sectarianism!’ and start moving on the path towards transforming the estate into a state.

    But, consider the question from the perspectives of the king, his uncle and other senior members of the ruling family. Or consider it from the perspectives of the likes of Issa Qassim, al-Ma’awda, al–Madani and other senior members of the clerical establishment.

    From either perspectives, the answer to your question is more likely to be ‘why change what appears ,hitherto, to be an effective strategic instrument of rule”?

    Neither Bahrain’s ruling family nor its clerical establishment, feel the need to change. Not yet, anyway. This is real unfortunate for most Bahrainis.AbuRasool

  2. Anonymous says:

    so when can we get this report? will it contain evidence like the previous one?

  3. KHAL says:

    God will save us!
    Thats what I can only say 🙁

  4. Bukra Tshuf says:

    so when can we get this report?

    http://www.mediafire.com/?3yjtkmgmnyn

  5. Anonymous says:

    ^^ MediaFire’s uploads and downloads will be offline
    from ~5:00 PM to ~6:00 AM CST for server upgrades :angry:

  6. 3zrael says:

    so when can we get this report?

    http://bandargate.wordpress.com/

  7. Anonymous says:

    ^^ the file is damaged and would not open :angry: :angry:

  8. Bukra Tshuf says:

    ^^ MediaFire’s uploads and downloads will be offline
    from ~5:00 PM to ~6:00 AM CST for server upgrades

    Now it seems to work

  9. Anonymous says:

    u can download it from here:

    http://up.9q9q.net/up/index.php?f=SsQAA9ppN

  10. Anonymous says:

    hmm i just read a couple of pages of this report.. is it me or does this report talk about al wefaq’s hidden agenda?

  11. ASKAD says:

    Very upsetting report indeed. May God Save Bahrain.

  12. hamad says:

    exactly anon… i got a huge printed version, but it seems to me that the whole report is about turning shiaa against sinna and vice-versa instead of showing a goverment hidden agenda, made me even wonder if mahmood is talking about the same report that i have.

  13. Rayyash says:

    Is it rely the 2nd part of Albandar, I don’t know why I have a feeling that this report is made up!! And I feel that Sameera Rajab is involved in this!!!
    As a member of Alwefaq & Al Taweya I can say that half of the information is not accurate at all!!
    My question is why this time?!

  14. interesting says:

    its pretty pathetic how everyone is just throwing their hands in the air and acting like the sky is falling. these doomsday scenarios are getting a little old guys.

  15. Anonymous says:

    i still don’t get it. is this a report done by bander’s group? or is it a leaked government doc?

  16. hamad says:

    i just went over it again… sounds like a leaked goverment document to me, but whos stupid enough to write up such a document anyway! something fishy is going on..

    “its pretty pathetic how everyone is just throwing their hands in the air and acting like the sky is falling. these doomsday scenarios are getting a little old guys. ”

    Its a really thin thread we’re walking on, if this causes the Bahraini street to erupt again then yes it is doomsday, but it seems like thats the only way to go anyway…

  17. Anonymous says:

    according to bandargate.wordpress.com its the second report by salah al bandar..

    and hamad it doesn’t really matter who wrote it. what matters is the content. if what is written is true then would we really want to see bahrain turn into another iraq? would we want to see similar deaths happening to the sunni part of bahrain? according to the report many sunni iraqis fled to jordan to avoid being killed off or tortured by the shiaa majority.. if al wefaq’s hidden agenda is to turn bahrain into another iraq then i really don’t understand how people support them..

  18. Thogba says:

    Thank you Mahmood for your detailed, informative post.

    The solution to Bahrain is like the solution to Iraq.

    America, you are welcome to Bahrain. At least, America will not steal our land, our farms or our sea farms.
    Shaikh Moh’d did, Khalifa did. America is better than these pirates.

  19. Anonymous says:

    actually i think everyone agrees that the invasion of iraq by the US only escalated the rift between shiaa and sunnis. so by doing the same in bahrain do you think it would be the right solution? would a true bahraini want bahrain to become another iraq?

  20. Don Cox says:

    “God will save us!”

    No, he will not. Read any history book, or look at this week’s news from Iraq, and you will see that when people prefer chaos, bloodshed, tyranny and hatred to peace, God does nothing at all to prevent them. Never has, never will.

    If you want Bahrain, or the Middle East as a whole, to be saved from a war between Sunnis and Shias, you guys will have to do it yourselves. Prayer is a complete waste of time.

  21. milter says:

    Don Cox, you hit it right on the nail.

    Whwn I read the first Bandagate reports I tried to dig up some more information about Salah Al Bandar. What I found wasn’t very incouraging if your main concern is progress in The Middle East, and Bahrain in particular, towards secular and liberal, democratic conditions.

    His organisation, ” Gulf Centre for Democratic Development” seems to be an NGO run by himself, his wife and some other cronies. Their use of the word “Democratic” in the name of their organisation is very much like the way you see other groups in The Middle East use terms like “peace”, “justice”, “equality”, etc. The meaning of those words is not the one you can look up in a dictionary in a free, liberal democracy. The definition of them is to be defined by religious scholars, based on their interpretation of words found in The Quran and the Hadith.

    When I first read Google’s translation of the second report I was a bit confused. I realize Google isn’t perfect, but, I couldn’t really figure out who was behind it, who was supposed to be “the bad guys” (or the good ones). All I could see was a load of insinuations, rumours and fiery talk about matters that had been covered in the first report.

    I was confirmed in my confusion by other readers. Mahmood also seems to sense the foul smell of something fishy.

    All in all it fits very well into a pattern that is all too common in The Middle East. Various groups are fighting for power and try by any means available to gain the admiration and backing from the people.

    Take Hizbollah for example. Hassan Nasrallah once said that he only wanted to take over power in Lebanon if he had the majority of the people behind him .

    That doesn’t seem to be possible with just words, so what does he do? Well, how about kidnapping a couple of Israei soldiers and then follow it up with a glorious defeat of the entire Israely army. And, just to put the icing on the cake, he withdraws his people from the Lebanese government and organizes a few demonstrations to create a bit of unrest. Then, when the whole place is in a turmoil, he will come forward and proclaim: “Look, see how chaotic this country is. Only I can bring you peace and stability”.

    I see a lot of similarities behind what’s happening in Lebanon and Bahrain in many ways. The origin of the discontent may not be the same, but, the way it is being utilized by various groups is.

    And, the final goal of those groups is not a liberal, democratic society with equal rights for everybody across religious and sectarian boundaries.

  22. milter says:

    Sorry,

    A couple of spelling errors crept in there.

    Whwn I read the first Bandagate reports

    …. should be:

    “When I read the first Bandargate report….

  23. Thogba says:

    I cannot breath now learning that the king and his family are trying destroy me and my sect.

    I’m a shite by birth. I’m not a racist. I should say that the fruits of 50% democracy is attributed to the sacrifices of Shaikh Jamri and the shite. There were several Sunni activists though. But the majority of Sunni’s were against the demand for democracy. When Shaikh Jamri was arrested in 1996-7, the people of Budayia danced in the roads happy for his arrest. Now Budayia and Jasra, small population, have one parliament member and the huge Duraz, Bani Jamra, Barbar and Markh have one member too. This means one citizen in Budaiya is worth 400 in Duraz!

    If there is a peaceful solution, it should come from the Sunni’s. They should stand up against this racist government or they are with them.

    ‘No Sunni No Shite’ is good but the Sunni’s need to
    show their loyalty to Bahrain not to the racist regime.

    We’ll not accept being Red Indians. If things go into this direction, we’ll not stay silent.

    What’s happening in Iraq cannot happen in Bahrain because many Iraqis are armed. Moreover, Iraq will be stable soon. Come on guys, Saddam is gone! The 3-brick man will have his similar destiny soon.

  24. Anonymous says:

    As long as the Americans war lords are supporting this regime, there is no way you would do anything. No matter what it does, it is getting the green light for the lords.

    Suprisingly, while the pro-regime in bahrain are very critical about the americans in Iraq, they give a blind eye to the fact that americans war lords are infesting in every inch of the government.

  25. milter says:

    Thogba, you wrote:

    I cannot breath now learning that the king and his family are trying destroy me and my sect.

    I’m a shite by birth . I’m not a racist. I should say that the fruits of 50% democracy is attributed to the sacrifices of Shaikh Jamri and the shite . There were several Sunni activists though. But the majority of Sunni’s were against the demand for democracy

    You may not want to, but every time you use arguments that refer to sectarian and religious affiliation, you contribute to strengthening those divisions.

    If you want to help in working towards more tolerant and pleasant conditions for everybody, start judging people on their contributions towards a better country for everybody , not just on what they have done for or against your sect.

    As long as discussions continue to relate to what’s good for “us or them”, based on religion, you will only widen the gap.

    I know they may be hard to find, but there must be people in Bahrain that don’t look for solutions based on tribal or religious values.

    Find them and support them as much as you can.

  26. milter says:

    Anonymous,

    Some cynical people might say that if it hadn’t been for the interest taken in Bahrain, first by the Brits and then the Americans, Bahrain could have been a province of Iran, Saudi Arabia or Qatar today.

  27. Ibn says:

    Milter,

    Some cynical people might say that if it hadn’t been for the interest taken in Bahrain, first by the Brits and then the Americans, Bahrain could have been a province of Iran, Saudi Arabia or Qatar today.

    Oh? Well if it hadnt been for the interest taken in Mesopatamia by the Brits, Iraq might not have been the multi-sectarian mess it is today.

    -Ibn

  28. M says:

    “Bahrain could have been a province of Iran, Saudi Arabia or Qatar today.”

    Well, it seem it still could be in a heartbeat at least by remote control; Ok, maybe not Qatar 😉

  29. anonymous says:

    So, who do we think wrote this “filth”. Was it bandar, or the government, or some alien third party??

    Mahmood, maybe you do a little poll for us confused souls.

  30. Anonymous says:

    ‘No Sunni No Shite’ is good but the Sunni’s need to
    show their loyalty to Bahrain not to the racist regime.

    and shiaa’s should show loyalty to Bahrain not to Iran..

  31. hamad says:

    they never showed loyalty to Iran you twit, if you wanna raise an argument then you should supported by something, its not the Shiite’s fault that their religious leaders reside in Iran… based on this all Sunnis are loyal to Saudia Arabia or Egypt! .. twit.

  32. . says:

    who do we think wrote this “filth”

    Apparently this what you call ‘filth’ is albandar’s second report.

  33. nurox says:

    hamad,
    beat me to it! Good reply!

  34. Dilmun says:

    The thing about this issue, is that it will die, and it will be covered up by a million other things. Housing, Corruption, MPs buying cars… you name it. Has parliament begun working yet??? The Audit Bureau released a report, has anything been done?!?! I haven’t noticed anyone care at all!! I read newspapers everyday and it seems like we were discussing more issues before than we are doing now…What laws are they prioritizing??? What issues are they investigating?? We need progress on so many fronts it seems like there is nothing going on at all…Al-Wefaq have been so quiet, and so has everyone else! Are they all just sick from hajj? on vacation? where is everybody? Just a blurb about RAIN, SO WHAT! What about all the other issues, Housing, Education, Health, Airport, Privitization? Corruption? It seems like we go crazy over stupid things, leave all the important issues… Where is the LMRA? or Labor Fund? What are we doing about higher education??

  35. docspencer says:

    I thought you all may be interested in this. The Middle East went through many changes in the past.
    90 second history. Empires come and go.

    http://www.mapsofwar.com/ind/imperial-history.html?GXHC_GX_jst=8258c07950ea6

    You have hope only if you think of yourselves as Bahraini first and foremost, but accept others of different religions, color or nationality. Look at what Shia and Sunni are doing to each other in Iraq. It’s really sad.

    I would really like to understand why, and hope that some Muslims would be willing to communicate with me and explain it. How about it Ibn and others? If anyone wants to communicate directly, I would be happy to give you my email addrs.

    Best regards,

    Vic

  36. jasra jedi says:

    But, are the Shia really ‘loyal’ to Iran? Isn’t there a difference between Arab Shia and Persian Shia?

    And, even in Iraq, isn’t there a struggle for leadership within the Shia community? Aren’t the Sistani boys very different than the Muqtada Al Sadr guys? Doesn’t one believe in Wilayat Al Faqeeh (Sadr) and the other beleives that the spiritual leader should not be a political leader (Sistani?)

    Besides, the Sunnis cannot be put into one camp either. In Egypt, there is the Sunni leadership, and there is the Sunni ‘Ikhwan Al Muslimeen’. And they have conflicting political agendas. And these agendas are as separate as the Sunni Government of Al Saud in Saudi Arabia and the Sunni vision of bin Laden.

    So, is this really about Sunni and Shia? Or is this about power? And if it is about power and legitimacy, then a Sunni/Shia war in Bahrain is not going to solve a damn thing. Its just going to be a divide and conquer srategy that will go very wrong. Like the US and their ‘dual containment’ policy between Iran and Iraq in the 80’s. Whose paying now? All of them, including the US.

    So, yes, the arguements about the loyalty of the Shia will float around. As will the arguments about the ‘Sunni’ landgrab (thogba)… but, bottom line, this is not about sectarian issues. This is about who is running the country and what kind of Bahrain are we shaping for the future of our kids.

  37. jasra jedi says:

    docspencer.

    1. that map has been on this website before.

    2. why do you refer to us as ‘muslim’? Do you honestly think there is a unified ‘muslim’ point of view?

    3. you cannot look at what the sunnis are doing to the shia in iraq, or what the shia are doing to the sunnis in iraw without looking at what the americans did to the shia during gulf war 1 … and what the sunnis did to the kurds, and what the british did to the iraqis. if you want to assign responsability and blame, then start at the beginning.

    4. and in the beginning, it is about power. not about anything else. remember the hutsis and the tutus? (not sure about spelling). but, remember what the belgians did to sow discontent? and they made up some bulls**t about the width of their noses? they ‘created’ a difference when there was none? because when there is an internally weak people, they become easier to control? thats what is going on in the Middle East.

    5. i also detect some kind of arrogance in your tone. its almost as if you think that by getting people to ‘see the light’, by ‘educating the natives’, you will be able to do your bit to avert armageddon. my advice to you is to really really ‘listen’ to what you are reading, and make sure you understand what people are talking about before you make blanket assumptions about the ‘moslem’ perspective.

  38. Yousif says:

    People of Bahrain…

    Read your history books… The real ones not the ones made and distributed by the bedouin-worshiping scum. Learn from your history.

    In particular, refer to the events of early 1950s when a senior official from the police threw rocks at Shiites during Ashura and then on the same day went to Muharraq and started a demonstration against these rituals. That event created unrest and wide-spread demonstrations against such act by the Shiites. After further invistigation from the British, they discovered that these events were ordered by the ruler of Bahrain in an attempt to create chaos and disagreement amongst an allied sunni and shiite islamists in Bahrain who demanded more involvement in the political process. As a result of that, the British assigned his cousin Shaikh Isa bin Ali as the ruler of Bahrain on guarantees that such thing would not be attempted again. The fact that they were puppets for the British helped “the family” keep the position.

    Unfortunately, “the family” thinks that chaos is beneficial to their chairs. These people have a history of using any means necessary to keep their chairs even if it meant making alliances with “the devil” herself. After being pressured by world powers to reinstitute the parliament, they felt that their power is being taken away from them as if they own it in the first place. They don’t believe that power ought to be shared and not unilaterally practiced. They have to understand that dissagreement and political unrest will only hurt them. They don’t live alone in this world and even if the average person in this world doesn’t even know where Bahrain is, political leaders of the world won’t stand and watch a fight between brothers caused by greedy and power-thirsty individuals.

    Regardless of who wrote them, what is the purpose of these reports? Those who read allot of the Bahraini politics already know about everything mentioned there. It’s just that unfortunately, the average individual in Bahrain doesn’t really realize the magnitude of the problem. These reports may well be a game made by some elements in “the family” to resurface the disagreement between sunnis and shiites. Fortunately for us though, people reacted differently to it and instead of using it as a way to agitate the already agitated shiite streets, it was used as means to bring all the political figures of the Bahraini opposition under one table against this evil plan. (Ironically, you only have to care for all the Bahraini people to be considered from the opposition here :getlost: )

    I feel scared of the future. I don’t even want to think about it. I just hope that we — Bahrainis — be brave and face this issue with extreme caution.

  39. . says:

    These reports may well be a game made by some elements in “the family” to resurface the disagreement between sunnis and shiites.

    its interesting how when the first report was out it was never deemed to be from “the family” yet now when the second report is out (by the same person salah al bandar) you come and say oh maybe these are to start the problems between sunni and shiaa’s, and the only reason i see you saying this is because it actually shows how al-wefaq group is not trying to settle for democracy but is rather stirring up the problems in bahrain as described in that report.

    and its funny how you guys act. when its against “the family” you are all with it, you say you want an investigation and all that sort (im not saying im against what was written in the first report) but now when something comes out (from the same person who wrote the report that you supported) that is sort of with the “the family” and against shiaas you say its a tool to create unrest.

    i don’t know what you’d call this but i’d call it hypocrisy..

  40. mahmood says:

    I’m not sure where you got your conclusions from, and would like you to expand a bit more about how you attained your position. I have not had the time to read the report in full yet, so I look forward to your input.

  41. M says:

    “But, are the Shia really ‘loyal’ to Iran? Isn’t there a difference between Arab Shia and Persian Shia?
    And, even in Iraq, isn’t there a struggle for leadership within the Shia community? Aren’t the Sistani boys very different than the Muqtada Al Sadr guys? Doesn’t one believe in Wilayat Al Faqeeh (Sadr) and the other beleives that the spiritual leader should not be a political leader (Sistani?)”

    From an outsiders pov, it really doesn’t matter, and there doesn’t seem to be any difference between the Shia groups when it comes to the bottom line which is as you say gaining power. Was it not Sistani and the “Shia” who saved/negotiated Sadr’s butt a long time ago when he should have been arrested like the common criminal he is? Instead he is fast becoming the Nasrallah of Iraq bought and paid for by the Iranians, supported by the Iraqi Shia, and sooner or later all Iraqis are going to pay the price for it.

    Could it happen in Bahrain? Maybe because it doesn’t take much to escalate things, but I don’t think so because of it’s size. Of course it is all about power; it always is unfortunately. Sincerely hope Bahrainis don’t let themselves get played like the Lebanese or the Iraqis, and that they slowly but surely make their way towards basic civil rights for all their people.

  42. . says:

    yea i wouldn’t blame you, i haven’t read the whole thing either but what i read is from page 30 and it talks about alwefaqs plans.. just read it and you’ll see where i got my conclusions from..

  43. Anonymous says:

    and that they slowly but surely make their way towards basic civil rights for all their people.

    thats exactly what alwefaq is claiming yet if we look at this report.. we can see that what they are doing isn’t for the interest of the country because all they’re doing is causing unrest and using their claims for rights as a tool to back them.. if you can translate those pages then translate from page 30 and read whats written about their plans..

  44. mahmood says:

    Those are the plans the government is saying are Al-Wefaq’s plans? Or are they declared Al-Wefaq plans we’re talking about here?

  45. Yousif says:

    First some corrections, after referring to the books, the above mentioned incident happened in 1922. The senior police official was Shiakh Diage bin Ali and it was the cause of the February 1922 civil unrest. Diage threw empty bottles not rocks. Shaikh Isa bin Ali was the ruler at the time. The British assigned his cousin Shaikh Hamad bin Isa after this incident in 1923 who is the great grandfather of the current King.

    كتاب الحركات Ùˆ الجماعات السياسية في البحرين لعام 2004 للكاتب Ø£.د. فلاح المديرس — ممنوع من التداول في البحرين

    Second, there is a great mystery behind this Salah Al Bandar but that doesn’t matter that much. He did not write this second report but rather it appears to be a leaked secret government report. To the anonymous guy who talked about hypocrisy, you seem to think that Al Bandar wrote this thing when actually it was only leaked by him.

    After reviewing their history, it is not far fetched to think that they may be involved somehow in creating civil unrest to dissolve the parliament or to force the opposition to boycott it so they can regain their absolute powers. This is the point I was trying to reach.

  46. jasra jedi says:

    Yousif,

    even if it meant making alliances with “the devil” herself

    For the love of god …

  47. chan'ad says:

    Yousif, you seem to be getting two different events mixed up. The Ashura disturbance took place in 1953 I believe, and the alleged instigator was Du’aij bin Hamad (brother of Salman bin Hamad who was the ruler at the time).

    The 1922/3 uprising came about when the Dawasir and some Al Khalifa factions attacked some Shia villages.

  48. docspencer says:

    JJ, thanks for your answer. You raised very good points, and i certainly do not want to blame anyone.
    Can you appreciate that I am just trying to understand the issues?

    5. i also detect some kind of arrogance in your tone. its almost as if you think that by getting people to ’see the light’, by ‘educating the natives’, you will be able to do your bit to avert armageddon. my advice to you is to really really ‘listen’ to what you are reading, and make sure you understand what people are talking about before you make blanket assumptions about the ‘moslem’ perspective.

    I really do not want to sound arrogant. Sorry if I did. I get more than 20,000 hits weekly on my Web site http://www.bahraindubai.info. It is aimed at making us Americans less ignorant about the ME and its people. I am far from being good enough to educate the ME “natives” to “see the light”. The only thing I did in that regard is suggest a couple of democracies to look at that have possible role model components, Singapore and Turkey, mainly Singapore, but not in the human rights area. But I am interested in is Islam, the difference between Sunnis and Shia’s, and why they slaughter each other, AND using the name of Allah to do it. You and CWT gave me some good answers, and I would very much appreciate more ideas on this subject.

    I appreciate your response very much. Thanks.

    Vic

  49. jasra jedi says:

    Docspencer,

    My adivice to you is to be very careful how you are framing the issue.

    But I am interested in is Islam, the difference between Sunnis and Shia’s, and why they slaughter each other, AND using the name of Allah to do it.

    That is a very American perspective. Because, implicit in that question is an assumption that the reason for the slaughter is due to an inter moslem split that is based in the theocracy of Islam.

    The issue is not that. The question to ask is how a country can define itself today in the Middle East when boundaries and barriers and differences were imposed by the English/French/Italians/Americans in an artificial manner whose primary motive was to divide and conquer.

    Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, UAE, Israel … all these entities were born in this century. And, they have struggled to determine what their national idenity is and what it is based on. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the battle is one that will be resolved by a Jefferson type democracy. It wont. There are too many diverse groups and tribes within these communities. There is a history of abuse against minorities. These minorities are not minorities because of demographics. They are minorities because of rights. Examples include the Shia in Lebanon. Or the Kurds in Iraq. Or the Shia in Bahrain. Or the Emiratis in the UAE. 😉

    Parts of this battle is enveloped in Islam. Like the French Royalty who claimed that they were descendents of God. Rememeber why Constantine became a Christian? It wasnt a relgious thing, it was a political thing.

    The American media has framed this issue one way. ‘The mess in the Middle East is because of a lack of democratic systems,’ they say. The truth is, the Americans have done very little in encouraging ‘democracy’ in the region. And we, have done even less.

    The slaughter is not a Sunni-Shia problem. You talk about Turkey, do you know what they did to the Armenians? And God Forbid, today, that anyone talks about the genocide in reference to them. Conventional American media dictate that the genocide is purely dedicated to the Holocaust. Have you ever stopped to ask why? Also, how many people did Stalin kill in Russia? Was that slaughter any different than what Assad or Saddam did to their people? The Russians werent Moslems. Neither were the first pilgrims who went to the America and ‘liberated’ the lands from the Indians .. people will justify any landgram, pogrom, ethnic cleansing for the sake of holding onto power .. and they will use God to do it.

    The use of religion is hardly exclusive to the domain of the moslems. Wasnt it Stalin who said that relgion was the opium of the masses? And didnt the Chinese replace God with the State?

    docspenser … Islam as a political movement is much younger than Judaism and Christianity.

    In Judaism, the battle of the synagogue and state was settled in Israel by merging the two in Zionism. But, it took tons of Jewish blood before that happened in 1948.

    In Christianity, the battle of the church and state was settled by distinguishing the two. But, it took the shedding of tons of European blood. And in some places, the link is still there.

    In Islam, we are embarking on that battle. The Sunnis have bin Laden as their knight in shining armour, and the Shia have an array of heroes who are all divinely led by God.

    There is nothing Islamic specific in what is happeneing in the Middle East today. The problem will not be solved by democracy.

    The sad truth is that there are two MAIN factors that are play. Israel and Oil. And, as long as they both exist in the Middle East, the current status quo will continue on the trajectory that it is on.

    And as long as the US/UK pulls double standards (yapping about freedom of speech vs. shoot al jazeera people, talk about human rights vs. Gitmo, talk about corruption vs kill the Saudi arms proble) then any discussion on ‘democracy’ is dead way before it is even started.

    The answer to the ME problem lies in how two issues are dealt with. Israel and Oil. And in Iran, they are both linked.

    Would you like some popcorn?

  50. jasra jedi says:

    mahmood,

    sorry about the above rant. nothing to do with the topic.

  51. mahmood says:

    no worries JJ.

    Docspencer: you have mentioned your blog on mine several times now and I allowed it to stand as is, please do NOT continue to use my site to promote yours. Having your site in your login information is more than enough and people are intelligent enough to visit yours if and when they choose.

    Stick to the topic at hand as well, if you will, please. You have a tendency to go at a tangent and drag the whole conversation in an unintended direction. It makes the responses ultimately irrelevant to the main topic which *I* started and would have liked to explore.

    Take this topic for instance; to me personally and I would say to most Bahrainis, this is much more important to US than it is for us to educate you about Islam in this instance.

    I hope you understand.

  52. milter says:

    jasra jedi, you wrote:

    Because, implicit in that question is an assumption that the reason for the slaughter is due to an inter moslem split that is based in the theocracy of Islam.

    How many examples of big clashes between groups in The Middle East during the last 50 years can you give me where the division between the involved parties wasn’t defined by religious affiliation? I’m not talking about small fights between clans. I’m talking about fights that had an impact on the development of a country.

    How many names of influential groups in The Middle East can you give me that don’t base their values and aims on their religious background?

    How many influential political groups can you show me that are founded on the assumption that each individual person is born with and has the right to the same priviliges as everybody else, regardless of their religious beliefs, including the right to change that belief?

    Some people will try to explain the problems the easy way by calling them “cultural differences”, but, that leads to the next question: “What forms the culture of a certain group of people”? I think you will agree that Islam has been a formidable former of culture in The Middle East for several hundred years.

    You also wrote:

    The question to ask is how a country can define itself today in the Middle East when boundaries and barriers and differences were imposed by the English/French/Italians/Americans in an artificial manner whose primary motive was to divide and conquer.

    Come on, you know better than that. That excuse has been used so many times it’s getting boring to see. Several other countries have been able to develop in spite of having suffered from the same conditions.

  53. jasra jedi says:

    errr milter …

    perhaps you missed some of my statements:

    Parts of this battle is enveloped in Islam

    The truth is, the Americans have done very little in encouraging ‘democracy’ in the region. And we, have done even less.

    I dont see me making any excuses. I also have made categorical statements that we have not treated our own minorities very well ..

    And most of the biggest crimes that we have committed against each other have been in the interest of ‘national security’ and not Islam. What Assad did to Halabja, what the Lebanese allowed Sharon to do in Sabra and Chatila, what King Hussein (Jordan) did to the Palestinians, what Saddam did to the Kurds and the Shia, what the Algerians did to each other …

    Islam is just a convenient excuse.

    Like the report discussed on this topic is an excuse. The whole Bandar story is scary because it talks about how one sect wants to dmarginalize another. Not because of Islam, but because of national security.

    Milter, trust me. I am no Islamist, nor facist, nor racist. And I am only too aware of how the leadership (both politican and relgious)in our part of the world, control the ‘ignorant’ massess through a culture of fear. And relgion is very handy in that. Remember the Salem witch burning? Find the enemy, declare them evil in Gods eyes, and off you go …. its a very very old story. The Moslems did not create it. And we wont be the last to play it.

    I am not making any excuses. I am not blaming either. I want justice and fairness. We are all responsible for this mess. And we all need to fix it.

    Bahrain will only be saved if the Bahrainis themselves get their act tigether in time to prevent a Lebanon from happening.

    Iraq is too far along that line. Now, momentum is the name of the game.

  54. Ibn says:

    Milter,

    How many names of influential groups in The Middle East can you give me that don’t base their values and aims on their religious background?

    Just what the hell does that mean? How many people in the middle east base their values and aims purely on their religious backgrounds?

    For the most part, people want kids to go to school, to graduate, be successful, make money, and have a family. And most want to fast on Ramadan in between. What part of those goals or values are based on a particular soley and only on religion?

    How many influential political groups can you show me that are founded on the assumption that each individual person is born with and has the right to the same priviliges as everybody else, regardless of their religious beliefs, including the right to change that belief?

    Its not a question of type of group. Its a question of when. How long did it take the West to get it right, vis a vis religion and state, and the concept of individual rights? When did the struggle start? say, 1000 years ago? 500 during the enlightenment if I was being conservative.

    No ask yourself, when did the struggle start in the middle east? At the earliest? I would say, oh, maybe the 40s, 50s.

    Now let me turn this around on you and ask you: Hey! Milter! In the year 1430 AD, why werent there any big influencial groups that preached about the values of human rights, the freedom of changing religion, and individual liberties in Europa? Hmm? Why? Hmm? Where were they? Hmm? Whats that? It was too early? Oh, stop making excuses for them. Where were they? Why arent they there? Why? Where? Where? Why? Why?

    This is what you are doing. Hitting us over the head because OUR societies arent going through fundemental changes in YOUR lifetime, on YOUR schedule. I am getting SICK of constantly having to explain this very simple concept to otherwise intelligent Westerners. When intelligence cannot understand simple concepts, it means one thing: Bias.

    Its almost like you are trying to find anything and everything that might in some remote way signify that the great evil Islam is the be all and end all of every single problem which YOU see in the middle east.

    If there’s a car highway pile up, its Islam, and bad culture. If we cant find our socks in the morning, its Islam, and freedom hating. If we say we just misplace our socks everynow and then because we are people, we’re making excuses for Islam, because no no, you are Muslims before being people. If we have issues and hate for Israel, oh, it must be your religion. A religion of hate.

    Even though OUR problems might be meshed and immersed in political conflict, territorial grievances, old ethnic tensions, current economic models, hypocritic western standards, corrupt leaders, broken imperial promises, etc, etc, all those take a back seat because everytime YOU see a light flash from someone lighting his cigarrete, because want to blame the fire on Islam, or use it to chip away at our rich and diverse cultural heritage.

    Well frankly I for one am getting SICK and TIRED of this. Its pretty darn obvious what you are trying to do here, and Im not going to write another damn post trying to “explain” ourselves. No more explaining. Khalas. You already got it. Youve been here long long enough, even longer than I have, to read about, comment on, and browse the myriad number of issues here, and to analyse their underlyingcauses. But no matter what one says, you come back to say “yes yes but it says here in your Qur’an sura 5, page 56, that… “.

    To hell.

    That, and DocSpencer comes in and wants “you Muslims” to explain why 4 insurgents are in a room beheading what they claim are infidels. What? You think all us Arabs are connected to those insurgents in Iraq via Motorola bluetooth headsets Vic? Hmm? Hang on, let me dial one of them up on speed-dial and get an answer for you.

    -Ibn

  55. milter says:

    jasra jedi,

    I have come across your comments several times earlier here at Mahmood’s place. I know you’re not an Islamist and I didn’t miss those points. I also know that you are looking for a way out that will benefit all of the people of Bahrain, or at least most of them. I was just being a bit provocative.

    It’s hard to find a solution that will allow everybody to live their lives the way they find best. No society or ideology has yet come up with a solution to solving the problem of “How do we let everybody have the freedom to live by their own rules”.

    That isn’t possible because of the simple fact that no single individual being is exactly like the others, we are all different in so many ways. At the same time we all agree, I think, that for a society or country to have some kind of sustainability it must share some kind of common sense of “good and bad” and of what those values should be based on.

    That base in The Middle East, and I think you’ll find it hard to prove me wrong, is Islam. You may be able to find a few minority groups that will use secularity to define their visions, but, how many big ones can you list that belong to that group.

    I could name many of the associations and persons that are important in shaping the future of The Middle East, but I won’t now. I’m sure you know them yourself. How many of them aren’t driven by religious goals?

    How do they get their support? Do they get it by saying: “We support the introduction of a family law that will be the same for all Muslims, Jews, Christians and all other religions, including those that don’t believe in any god”? Or by just saying “We don’t believe there should be any distinction between people, based merely on their religious beliefs or lack thereof”?

    In order to get to the point where non-religious parties can make an impact on the discussion of the future of The Middle East you have to move past the point where you blame the misfortunes of your part of the world on “Outside meddling in our affairs” and “Misunderstandings of the nature of Islam”.

    Mahmood’s den is a good place to try to sort out those differences. The only problem is, people like Ali al-Sistani, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri always seem to be the ones that get the most attention and admiration in the Middle East.

    If you use those people as your role models you will get stuck in the “us and them” mud.

  56. Neilufar says:

    Hi everyone, u all seem somehow touched by this subject.
    Don Cox
    “God will save us!”

    No, he will not. Read any history book, or look at this week’s news from Iraq, and you will see that when people prefer chaos, bloodshed, tyranny and hatred to peace, God does nothing at all to prevent them. Never has, never will.

    If you want Bahrain, or the Middle East as a whole, to be saved from a war between Sunnis and Shias, you guys will have to do it yourselves. Prayer is a complete waste of time.

    well, to you Don Cox “and i think you are” I’d like to ask, if u are so intelligent about “God’s matters” are u able to have one breath without the willing of God? And, tell me, in Iraq for example, haven’t u ever analyzed what caused all the bloodshed and misery? U say that the reason for all that is not the invasion by the US, preceeded by the greed of the ppl that were around Saddam for money and power, preceeded by the betrayal of that same nation towards Imam Hussain, but it’s God, For God should bring prosperity to people who don’t really work towards it!!
    And regarding that the prayer is a waste of time, i’m sure that ur’s is (thats if u ever prayed) because who prays with a clean heart and a true belief in God will always have his prayer answered.

  57. Neilufar says:

    Btw, i wanted to ask u Mahmoud, coz im in the Uk and im curious, is ur site blocked in Bahrain?

  58. milter says:

    Ibn,

    I just read your comment.

    I notice that you haven’t answered any of my questions.

    Normally a discussion consists of an exchange of views, based on personal experiences and information obtained from other sources.

    I don’t see much in your comment that can contribute to a meaningful exchange of views between people of different cultures and backgrounds.

    And, I’m not really interested in what somebody said 400 years ago, it’s more important what people with influance today are saying.

    I suggest you also read my comment to jasra jedi above.

  59. jasra jedi says:

    milter:

    I also know that you are looking for a way out that will benefit all of the people of Bahrain, or at least most of them. I was just being a bit provocative.

    the only way ‘out’, my dear, is ‘through’. and, with all due respect, why are you being provocative with me? i am hardly the enemy. thats a bit arrogant of you to think you can be provocative and then have me (or us) prove to you why your statetements are fallacious. or just plain stupid.

    That base in The Middle East, and I think you’ll find it hard to prove me wrong, is Islam. You may be able to find a few minority groups that will use secularity to define their visions, but, how many big ones can you list that belong to that group.

    Milter my dear. Have you heard of the Baathists? Or Zionism? Or Nasser’s Pan Arabism? None of them were based in Islam. And they all exist (and existed) in the Middle East the past 50 years. In fact, the Baath party was founded by a Christian. And, forigve me, but the Lebanese civil war did not start because of Islam. Or at least, if Islam was a force, then so was Christinaity, and the Druze. And Iraq did not invade Iran because of Islam. And Iraq did not invade Kuwait because of Islam either. Or Islamic values, as you put it. Unless, Oil is Moslem..

    Mahmood’s den is a good place to try to sort out those differences. The only problem is, people like Ali al-Sistani, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri always seem to be the ones that get the most attention and admiration in the Middle East.

    Maybe I am missing something, but I dont get the impression on this blog that the majority of people here support any of the above. If I am not mistaken, the majority of Bahrainis on this blog are secluarists and do not want to be dragged into a Sunni/Shia split, nor do they want any kind of Islamic rule imposed on them. There may be a discussion as to how effective or destructive Nasrallah may be as a politician, but that doesnt mean that everyone here supports him categorically. One cannot deny that the lot that you mentioned ARE players in the arena. You can’t ignore them and hope that they will go away by themselves.

    Milter. You come across as very very arrogant. And ignorant of the forces that occupy the Middle East. The reason why the push for family law in Bahrain died a sudden death was NOT because people didnt want to include minorities. It was because the clerical establishment did not want to give up that control and decision making to the State. The ONLY opposition today to the ruling regimes today are entrenched in the mosque/maatam. And let me tell you when the politicization of Islam happened… it took place in a god forsaken country called Afganistan in the middle of the cold war when the US of A (the world’s self appointed holier than thou deomcracy)CREATED and SUPPORTED Islamic Jihadists who were going to war against the Godless Russians by supporting, at the name, a man called Bin Laden through the CIA. Well documented information and fact.

    The only reason you are jumping up and down because your ‘investment’ came back and started haunting you in your own back yard in 9/11. The Islamists that you nurtured turned against you (as America) and against the current leadership in the ME.

    The problem started with outside interference. And trust me, the solution will not come without outside involvement.

    Meanwhile, whilst you sit there and ‘provoke’ for fun and intellectual tennis, those of us who are affiliated with the region on any fundamental basis are dealing with a much more troubling question which how much do we push for reform and create a stress on the current system when the Islamic opposition is much more organized and ruthless and truth be told, more experienced.

    What do we do when we hear about the report mentioned on this post? Do we lose complete faith in the government because of (what looks like) insitutional discrimination? If so, who do we support? The religious opposition who will bring in a sharia type state and call women (devils) like the idiot Yousif in the post above? (pro Wifaq?) Or do we try and strengthen the secular opposition in the hope that the voter turnout next time round will be more effective? (pro Waad) Or do we strengthen our support for the current leadership and try our best to make changes from within the system? (ala Powell?)

    So, when you come up and try to be provocative because its fun for you, take a step back and have some respect for the issues that we are dealing with and if you do want to ‘get involved’ then come up with a solution. Or an angle. Or a constructive suggestion. None of the issues that we are dealing with have to do with ‘outside interference’. And I dont hear anyone talk about outsiders being blamed for Bahrain’s issues today.

    However, given the Iranian Mullas on our right, and Wahhabi Arabia on our left, and Iraq blowing up .. we cannot but be affected by regional development where outsiders have a FUNDAMENTAL role to play.

    You broke it. You dont want to fix it. And you want to blame us for it. And, you expect us NOT to be affected by the whirlwind of what is happeneing around us and forge a way through that only took you hundreds of years.

    Milter, that would have been like telling the Hurricae KAtrina survivors to not act like animals in the stadium. Or to expect them not to steal on the streets. You remove basic rights from people and they will go to survival mode. At whatever the cost. If it happened in the ‘most civilized nation on Earth’ during a stupid hurricane, then why, on earth, are you surprised when people do it in the Middle East?

    You still interested in provoking?

  60. mahmood says:

    That base in The Middle East, and I think you’ll find it hard to prove me wrong, is Islam

    You’ve said this before and you were refuted; why you bring it up again, is beyond me. If you are so desperate to hear “us” say that Islam is the problem, then you’re not just posing the wrong question, but are in the wrong company.

    As JJ said, the vast majority of us here are liberal secularists and do not want Islam to play a part in our government. That does not conclude that Islam is “bad”.

    My advice to you Milter (and anyone else for that matter) is that conversations and discussions get a lot better and you can learn from them by being courteous, non-discriminatory and most certainly without a closed mind about an idea or principal, because if you do, it is no longer an educated conversation that you seek, but a shouting match. That might be your idea of fun, it’s not by any means ours.

    And like Ibn suggested as well, we are sick of “defending” ourselves and our fate. I think the best thing to do is collate all the articles and comments posted in the past and create a book, or a pdf file that we can invite people like yourself to read first, and “provoke” later. Failing the long wait for such a book, a simple search for known terms would bring out those articles and posts to the fore, and again, I invite you to read them.

    Partnership, by the way, is not built on provokation. It is built on mutual trust and the generous giving of the benefit of the doubt, rather.

  61. Hamad Algoheri says:

    People can you try to write short it takes too long to read each one view .

    Information start to come out of my ears .

    Hamad

  62. Yousif says:

    The religious opposition who will bring in a sharia type state and call women (devils) like the idiot Yousif in the post above? (pro Wifaq?)

    :angel: Note to self…

    People don’t understand witty sarcasim on the net. Use smileys generously when making one.

    :biggrin:

    ps. I’m not pro-Wifaq…

  63. jasra jedi says:

    Yousif,

    People don’t understand witty sarcasim on the net.

    Like beauty, Wit, my dear, is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

    Hamad,

    You are right. For a small island in the Gulf that doesnt even appear in most global maps, we sure do have alot to say. About everything. And anything.

    God bless Bahrain

  64. docspencer says:

    Mahmood, I will comply as you requested, and I understand your points.

    Best regards,

    Vic

  65. docspencer says:

    JJ, your response to me was very good. Thank you.

    Vic

  66. docspencer says:

    That, and DocSpencer comes in and wants “you Muslims” to explain why 4 insurgents are in a room beheading what they claim are infidels. What? You think all us Arabs are connected to those insurgents in Iraq via Motorola bluetooth headsets Vic? Hmm? Hang on, let me dial one of them up on speed-dial and get an answer for you.

    Ibn, quote me but do not misquote me please. You are totally misrepresenting my attitude on this subject.

  67. milter says:

    Jasra jedi:

    My internet has been down for 36 hours, so, sorry about the late reply.

    I’m sorry if you’ve taken my “provocation” as an insult or as an attempt to “talk down” to you. I can assure you it wasn’t meant that way.

    In my opinion debates will never lead to any constructive results or move any barriers if all participants stick to “fail safe” models that don’t allow them to include touchy subjects or provocative statements now and then. There’s a big difference between saying: “Your opinion stinks” and “I don’t think your opinion is right” and I hope you’ll see my comments as being of the “I disagree with you” type.

    My reason for “being provocative” was this comment from you:

    The answer to the ME problem lies in how two issues are dealt with. Israel and Oil.

    I agree, those two problems are part of the problem. But, I see a bigger problem in the approach to, and attempts to, solving the problem of Israel. How can countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia see that as an obstacle to “peace in The Middle East”? What’s their connection with the Arab world on that subject, other than sharing a religion?

    You may argue that two of those countries were a result of colonialism, but, then you also have to agree that they were both created in an attempt to develop countries based on the religious belief of the majority of people in those areas, i.e. a chance to form a country based on the values shared by the majority. How did that experiment turn out? Definitely not with the prosperity of the ordinary citizens as a result.

    Or, look at India. India is probably more free when it comes to the freedom to disagree with the rulers or religious sects, but, people in India are still influenced by their understanding of the concept of the cast system. The division of people into casts was originally developed by the Hindu belief. The legacy of religion and its influence on how people think is once more showing its face.

    I have mentioned my connection with Ireland through my marriage earlier in my comments here at Mahmood’s place in my comments. I have to bring it up again because I still see so many similarities between the way Irish people and people in The Middle East look (or looked) at religious front figures. The similarity lies in the fact that attacks by “outsiders” on or questioning the authority of those figures is followed by fierce counterattacks along the lines of “How dare you interfere with our struggle”?

    In Ireland, when they had the opportunity to develop a country of their own, what happened? They ended up in a civil war and they still won’t admit it today. They still see it as a result of “outside interference” i.e. from the Brits, instead of seeing it as a result of internal struggle between people from their own country that just didn’t agree about how to create a new country. Very few still can or will see it as a result of the divisions the religious shaping of the people had created.

    It had created an atmosphere of lack of understanding of the importance of establishing a country where freedom of the individual was the most important factor. Instead they ended up with a constitution where the protection of the Catholic church and its values were at the top of the list. The Catholic church had control of all schools, medical care and anything that could be related to “moral issues”.

    The accepted view of the majority of the Irish people was that the priests and the rest of the Catholic church could not do anything wrong. If you said anything that could be seen as a criticism of them you became an outcast.

    You mention Nasser’s Pan Arabism and the baathist party. How are those parties doing today?

    They may have started as an attempt to introduce socialism to the Arab world, but they have both failed. In my opinion it is because of the contradictions in the concepts of society in socialism to the values of Islam, just like socialism never really caught on in Ireland. Socialism doesn’t accept the values of religions.

    Instead, some of the leaders of The Middle East adopted the name of socialism to please their economical and moral supporters just to please them and to maintain their support in order to maintain their grip on the power

    You said that:

    In fact, the Baath party was founded by a Christian.

    I assume that you are talking about Michel Aflaq. Do you also know that he had to flee Syria because of his ideas of introducing democracy and free speech?

    You also wrote:

    And let me tell you when the politicization of Islam happened… it took place in a god forsaken country called Afganistan in the middle of the cold war when the US of A ….

    That doesn’t tally with what I saw in Bahrain in the eighties. I came to Bahrain in 1980 and I saw a couple of my Bahrainy colleaugues disappear out of sight because of their connection with the Iranian interest in Bahrain. Or how about Hassan al-Banna and his Muslim Brotherhood, I think he died in 1949?

    My main goal of participating in this blog is not to insult or belittle people. If you can convince me that my statements are wrong, I’ll admit it.

    My reason for joining the discussion in this thread was Mahmood’s introduction of the second Bandar Report. I see that report as an attempt to create more divisions and fights along religious and sectarian lines.

    I’m not sure who exactly thinks they will benefit from this fight, the only thing I know for sure is that in the end Bahrain as a country will not become more peaceful because of it.

    I’m trying to advocate an atmosphere where discussions are not based on hearsays and revelations that can’t be verified or at least are based on facts where you know the origin of the text.

    If you don’t know who wrote what or why they did it, you will end up with a situation where anybody can accuse anybody of anything.

  68. Ibn says:

    Milter,

    The accepted view of the majority of the Irish people was that the priests and the rest of the Catholic church could not do anything wrong. If you said anything that could be seen as a criticism of them you became an outcast.

    This is basic human psychology. When someone attacks a concept that is very dear to someone else, what happens? That person gets put on the defensive. Psychologically. No matter how idiotic one may think his father is, (for example), if YOU attack the father, the daughter/son will protect him, even if they also concur that he is an idiot. Attack Ireland’s catholic basis, whom the populace holds dear, (or held), and they will get defensive – the association of the catholic church with their families, their lives, their happiness, their jokes, their food, their culture, is so deep, how can you expect them not to get defensive, even in light of the Catholic Church’s faults, real or imagined?

    Also, another point: Could it be that this “criticism” touches on issues that the outsider does not know about, hence causing an uproar? Could it be that the outsider is not privy to small yet extremely important details but which the natives know about? Could it be that any outside criticism might in fact be true, but that it is overshadowed by an aggressor’s actions, and the defensive posture is because you are perceived not to care about that aggression, and focus on irrelevant faults instead?

    That is why, Mr Milter, you see what you see. Yet again, I am confounded how you did not know the reson for this before.

    You mention Nasser’s Pan Arabism and the baathist party. How are those parties doing today?

    Both dead as far as I know. They were both tried and failed. Making Islamism all that more lucrative compared to proven and failed secular ideologies. (Unfortunately).

    I assume that you are talking about Michel Aflaq. Do you also know that he had to flee Syria because of his ideas of introducing democracy and free speech?

    I never heard of this, but so what? What does that prove?

    I came to Bahrain in 1980 and I saw a couple of my Bahrainy colleaugues disappear out of sight because of their connection with the Iranian interest in Bahrain.

    Where is the Islamic connection here? Why could they have not simply been agents of Iran, playing the political game?

    Or how about Hassan al-Banna and his Muslim Brotherhood, I think he died in 1949?

    Yes. What about him? What are you trying to get at Mr Milter? What conclusion are you drawing from this? Please say it out loud.

    I’m trying to advocate an atmosphere where discussions are not based on hearsays and revelations that can’t be verified or at least are based on facts where you know the origin of the text.

    What makes it annoying, is that no matter what one says to you, no matter what evidence is presented, you cannot shake the “but its because of Islam that…” prefix.

    -Ibn

  69. milter says:

    Ibn, you wrote:

    This is basic human psychology. When someone attacks a concept that is very dear to someone else, what happens? That person gets put on the defensive. Psychologically.

    I agree. And that’s also more or less what I wrote about the role of religious scholars in this thread :

    Now more and more are beginning to question their authority and that hurts. To those that have for years believed in the sanctity and infallability of the sources of Islam, it hurts to suddenly realize that they may not always be right and that they may not have answers that are palatable to a modern human being.

    … and this:

    Ordinary people will have to give up ancient beliefs (or, at least some of them) and it is painful to realize that some of the tenets you considered sacred are no longer so. It means having to admit that you have been living on a lie.

    So we seem to agree on that point. But, why can’t I as an outsider touch that subject without being accused of being rude and full of hateful feelings towards your sentiments.

    I’m not just against Islamic interference in politics, I’m against any religious interference in politics.

    You wrote:

    Where is the Islamic connection here?

    Well, for starters The Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain.

    and:

    Yes. What about him? What are you trying to get at Mr Milter? What conclusion are you drawing from this? Please say it out loud.

    I’m trying to say that the politicization of Islam started a lot earlier, in fact it started when it was claimed that Islam should encompass every single aspect of human life.

  70. Ibn says:

    Milter,

    But, why can’t I as an outsider touch that subject without being accused of being rude and full of hateful feelings towards your sentiments.

    I’m not just against Islamic interference in politics, I’m against any religious interference in politics.

    Ok. Then even by your own admission, this is a psychological phenomema, and not a religious one.

    Thus, you are now asking a scientific question on the human psyche, and must consult a psychologist for the answer.

    I’m trying to say that the politicization of Islam started a lot earlier, in fact it started when it was claimed that Islam should encompass every single aspect of human life.

    The ideology was formed early on, yes. (Banna). But Jasra is trying to tell you, (and correct me if Im wrong Jasra), that its credebility and sanction got a serious boost in Afghanistan during the war with the Soviets, thanks to the US.

    This is what she means when she said that their investmant came back to bite them in the butt.

    -Ibn

  71. jasra jedi says:

    Ibn ..

    You rock! :angel:

  72. Aliandra says:

    Its almost like you are trying to find anything and everything that might in some remote way signify that the great evil Islam is the be all and end all of every single problem which YOU see in the middle east. Well frankly I for one am getting SICK and TIRED of this

    Ibn;

    To be fair, there are lots of middle-easterners who blame all the problems in the region on the West, Israel, the US, George Bush etc .. .That crap is very tiresome too.

    Sure it took the West hundreds of years to get it right, but you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Learn from our mistakes.

  73. Jasra-Jedi says:

    Sure it took the West hundreds of years to get it right, but you don’t have to re-invent the wheel

    you know aliandra, i was going to write a one liner poking fun at ourselves .. when i took a couple of seconds and realized that what you are saying is very very condescending. for several reasons:

    1. it assumes that the west got it ‘right.’
    2. it assumes that there is a unified ‘west’.
    3. it assumes that we, in our evolution, are behind you, in yours.

    do you realize that it was the europeans, in conjunction with the US, who discriminated agains the jews in europe? in collaberation with the vatican? it was the west who made them wear stars of david and live in ghettos? it was the west who froze accounts in switzerland and condoned the gas chambers? who condoned the worst things possible in the name of science? do you know that the arab jews lived happily in he arab heartland for many years? in yemen, in syria, in alexandria? until 1948?

    do you realize that slavery was only absolished recently in america? and civil rights is also a recent phenomenon?

    the day you, as america, learn from your own history, is the day that you have the moral superiority to stand up and tell me to learn from your mistakes.

    anyway sweetheart, we had our golden age years and years ago … you, as in the US, is but a 200 year old baby compared to our civilization .. what you dont realize is that you are actually following our old path … making mistakes we had made .. arrogance and self righteousness. which is why, you are looking at the beginning of the end of pax americana .. the sleeping giant has awoken, and just recently shot a missile into space … the china man is comin to get you! tune in next decade …

  74. docspencer says:

    do you realize that slavery was only absolished recently in america? and civil rights is also a recent phenomenon?

    “Recent” is incorrect JJ. Our President Lincoln in the 1860s made slavery go away and we faught a Civil War, North against the South, about it. It took us 100 years of legislation to get civil rights to be where it is today. It is a hard thing to do, several generations in fact to get rid of prejudices, and the Middle East, especially some countries will be struggling with it. Good political leadership, civil rights laws, good enforcement of these laws, and appropriate good quality education locally is perhaps the most important of these factors. Not to mention a good enough living standard, like on Bahrain’s level. People who have to suffer in poverty have such basic problems that in their world, progress in civil rights is very difficult.

    anyway sweetheart,

    JJ, as you well know I think highly of your writing. But this kind of “talking down to people” destroys what people think of you. Sorry man. Aliandra’s comments are good. Just my opinion.

    Vic

  75. jasra jedi says:

    Vic,

    You prove my point. 200 years to you is a long time. To me, and to most Arabs, its ‘recent’. Its all about scale. You think history in terms of decades. We feel it in terms of centuries. There is no value judgement here, just a quesiton of time frame. America and american values are 200 years old. Arabs are much much much older. Plus, for better or for worse, the Middle East has been blessed and cursed with three religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. So, our concept of history and time is much wider and broader and more complex than yours.

    As a civilization, the Middle East has a much older civilzation than the American one. We peaked at one point; and managed to contribute in a significant manner to the world. Astronomy, poetry, algebra. Now, in our dark ages, the only manufacuring we do is suicide bombers.

    My point was simply that Aliandra was being a bit arrogant and ignorant by sayind that ‘we dont have to reinvent the wheel’ and ‘we need to learn from your mistakes. ‘

    By the way, you taking my use of ‘sweetheart’ as talking down to someone is also culturally skewed. We call each other habibi and habibti all the time. In order to show affecttion, we also sometimes comment on each others eyes, and livers. Sweetheart was not meant derogatorily. I think as much as Aliandra and I may disagree, (and our disagreement goes way beyond you coming to the Den), she would have enough sense to know that the disagreement comes from the difference in points fof view, and not the use of ‘sweetheart’.

  76. docspencer says:

    JJ, a 200 year old country can have some “wheels” that you do not have to reinvent, despite the fact that your culture is older. People, especially very young people like when my son was a teenager, and countries also, just want to try their own thing and do not pay much attention to suggestions. And that’s not so tragic. Arrogant and ignorant are pretty harsh words for that.

    Habibi, it was very interesting for me what you said about cultural differences. How do you show effection by commenting on someone’s liver? Give me some examples. Could I say after seeing Aliandra’s picture something like “Aliandra habibti, your liver looks absolutely fantastic. May I play with it?” or “Aliandra, you drink so much vodka that your liver must be full of holes.”

    Can you comment on any other body parts? But don’t piss of Mahmood. He is tougher than nails. Like Aliandra may see your picture on the beach and might say “JJ habibi, I would just love to get my fingers into that thick long hair on your back.”

    This is interesting.

    Vic

  77. Jasra-Jedi says:

    Vic,

    I think you have been smoking crack.

    1. First, being a woman, I am called habibti, not habibi.

    2. We also say .. “Oh my eyes”, or, “what is more precious than my liver” when talking to loved ones. ‘3yooni’ and ‘ya ba3ad chabdi’.

    3. You might want leave it to Aliandra to tell me what she thinks of my comments or to further explain what she meant by hers.

  78. docspencer says:

    JJ, I don’t smoke anything, and my apologies for not recognizing your gender.

    We also say .. “Oh my eyes”, or, “what is more precious than my liver” when talking to loved ones.

    Can you explain what each of these sayings mean or how they are used?

    As you probably know for us the heart is spoken about regarding close male and female relationships, the eyes could be complimented for being beautiful or nice, same with hair or figure without going too far.

    Vic

  79. docspencer says:

    ‘we dont have to reinvent the wheel’ and ‘we need to learn from your mistakes. ‘

    JJ, any nation could learn from any other nation’s mistake. In fact it is a smart opportunity. I wish that we did it more.

    Now, in our dark ages, the only manufacuring we do is suicide bombers.

    It may seem that way to those reading the Western newspapers, but I would not believe that for a second. You have a number of interesting projects going on in Bahrain that will enhance some key industries. And I was absolutely amazed in Dubai about the quality of project management, the size of the projects and the genius of planning Dubai’s future. I found that incredibly impressive. I have absolutely no doubt that most of the Arab countries of the Middle East could become incredibly successful economies with great living standard.

    There are some challenges that need to be resolved, Islamic and governmental, and it seems to me that progress is being made in a good number of countries – but perhaps not as fast as some of you would like to see.

    Vic

  80. Ibn says:

    Aliandra,

    To be fair, there are lots of middle-easterners who blame all the problems in the region on the West, Israel, the US, George Bush etc .. .That crap is very tiresome too.

    True. However, the fact that people abuse the issue, doesnt take away from the hypocrisy of the issue itself.

    Sure it took the West hundreds of years to get it right, but you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Learn from our mistakes.

    Please take no offence to this Aliandra, but that is a very simple minded opinion. Why does this not work with children? No matter what mistakes the father makes, his sons daughters usually have to learn the hard way as they grow up, always to the horror of the parents who then come back and say “we told you so”.

    Because people learn when they go through things themselves. Its a fact of life. Yes, in many ways, the wheel does have to be re-invented.
    Like riding a bike, you learn by falling over a couple times. If you have a good mentor, he can guide you, but he cannot make you learn.

    And frankly, with the US supporting the likes of Saddam when it suited them, Iran when it suited them, Saudi when it suits them, makes for a very dubious mentor.

    We arent talking about simple tactical changes in say, a specific tax rate, or an import/export policy, that one nation can learn from another. We are talking about a fundamental change of society – and with that, people have to go through the hard way to learn.

    Simple as that.

    ——————————–

    Jasra,

    Ibn ..

    You rock!

    …ahh woman! – why did you say that? You KNOW im really really bad at taking compliments… 😉 But with that said – you aint so bad yourself either!

    -Ibn

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