Hearing the furious beating of the wings of Capital

24 Apr, '12

Another day, another mindless attack on businesses in Bahrain, this time in Jiddhaffs.

I don’t give a damn what religion, sect, colour or sexual orientation of the criminals who’ve done this and other crimes against businesses. What I do care about is that this, much more than demonstrations and, dare I say it, burning tyres, are the things which scare businessmen and their capital to take flight. Let alone the complete discouragement of foreign direct investment in this country.

The onus is now on the police to actually catch these criminals and bring them to justice, not chase protestors and drown whole villages in tear gas and other assorted chemicals chased by bird shot and other miscellaneous weaponry.

Jiddhaffs robbery

Jiddhaffs robbery

Source: Al-Wasat – 24 April 2012

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Comments (30)

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  1. Ahmed Abdulla says:

    Mahmood,

    Put your self in the police commander’s shoes. Say you were sent to patrol a village where demonstrations are going to take place. Based on past experience you know that violent rioters break off from the group and start attacking police, this necessitates the presence of a force capable of defending its self if needed.

    You stand there watching the protests go on as usual hoping to God that there is no violence. Now as predicted a group starts throwing molotov cocktails at your men.
    Do you:
    A) Deploy men to advance with batons and bird shot
    B) Disperse rioters using tear gas and sound grenades
    C) Leave the area and allow the rioters to advance and block off roads and highways with burning tyres +/- oil slick

    Drowning the villages with tear gas would not happen if there were no violent rioters. Why do the use fire bombs in residential areas. They are the ones who want collateral damage. I blame them not the police.

    • Rogork says:

      Or:
      D) Address the grievances of the citizens instead of threatening, arresting, killing, and torturing anyone who dares voice their opinion against the government.

  2. Ali says:

    WOW never thought I would read this interpretation from you! So “THIS” to you is what really scares businesses to run away from Bahrain?!?!?! For more than a year your peaceful demonstrators have done various and different things that were the reason for businesses to run away from Bahrain and now you simply blame such things – and I think I know what you mean as many other people who regularly read your blog “the attacks of sunnis on Jawad and other businesses are the reason” – to scare businesses out of Bahrain.
    Thank you Mahmood for this.

    • mahmood says:

      Hardly.

      The issue here is the absence of security which gave rise to crime with impudence. i.e., it’s become normal. That’s the thing that scares capital away. International business is used to disruptions and can deal with them, even if they are violent. They cannot deal with absence of security.

      The return on investment now is way below zero.

      • Ahmed Abdulla says:

        I agree with you completely. The police is tied up with nightly riots. These robberies were few and far between before Feb 14. Now the police have one hand tied behind their backs and are spread thin.

        • mahmood says:

          From my understanding, the Riot Police is a completely different division from that which is charged with “normal” policing. If that’s the case, then your argument fails. However, even if they are one and the same, then your argument could be easily flipped in that if the regime gave the overwhelming majority what they want in political and personal rights, then they won’t get involved in their protests and channel their energies constructively elsewhere leaving the police with ample time on their hands policing the country.

          You see, you can’t just lump the blame totally on a single side, and more importantly, you must hold the police to a much higher moral standard than the ones they are charged to protect.

          • Ahmed Abdulla says:

            No, they are all under the public security and are from a single pool of men, with duties tasked and divided as needed. We need to come up with solutions that will satisfy the Sunni bloc and the Shia Bloc. With both sided with their fingers in their ears we’er getting nowhere fast.

            Lets say we come up with a novel idea where delegates from the sunni bloc are elected by sunna, and delegates from the shia bloc are elected by shia. Then both blocs are given equal seats in parliament and the leader would be chosen by the election within parliament. This would force both sides to co-operate which is what we need. There also must be space for an independent bloc the caters to people who don’t align themselves with either bloc.

            I believe in a the Montesquieu model of constitutional monarchy which close to our system but quite there yet. Where the King would head the executive branch, cabinet, and armed forces. The Parliament is elected and is the legislative branch. The judicial branch is appointed by both Parliament and the King.

            Whatever solution we come up with will have to involve both sides. If tomorrow the king agrees to the demands of the Feb 14 youth and Al-wefaq, the next day the sunnah will riot.
            The rhetoric from the other side implies that all that is needed is pen on paper from the royal court and this whole thing will be solved…Things are not that simple.

  3. AbuRasool says:

    Mr Ahmed Abdulla puts it right: Things are not that simple. indeed.
    That is why the republican system is such a wonderful idea.

  4. mahmood says:

    Ahmed regarding the roles and responsibilities of the riot police against the “regular” police, forgive me for not taking your word for it without you offering some kind of proof, especially that everyone knows that the riot police are sequestered in a different area and undergo a different kind of training regime. Logically, it follows that they are under two different commands.

    As to your novel idea of complete segregation of the community which will surely result from your scheme, if enacted, I shall be the first to go out and physically demonstrate against this divisive way in which you want to divide the country.

    Why would you want to re-invent the wheel in any case? Republican systems of governance have been used to a great effect throughout history, why not just propose that form of democracy and be done with it? Why not just give every single man a vote within clearly defined equitably drawn electoral districts? Your obtuse way just does not make sense!

    • Ahmed Abdulla says:

      Ok, just go back to my response and switch sunni bloc to “Republican” and shia bloc to “Democrat”.
      A two party system is not reinventing the wheel.

      Any way the bottom line is the Shia bloc, (oh sorry democrats) are bypassing the Sunni bloc and unilaterally demand change from the government.

      Frankly, I don’t care if their demands are a copy and paste from the UN charter of rights, by bypassing the Sunni bloc we are being marginalized.

      If both blocs sat together and agreed on a list of demands the government will have no choice but to accept. This is where alwefaq have failed. They want to be the single brokers for change. It does not work that way.

      As for the police question I have family who are in the police and have asked them directly, you can take my word for it, if not that is your prerogative.

      • mahmood says:

        Frankly, I don’t care if their demands are a copy and paste from the UN charter of rights

        Ah. Ok. I am, for once, at a loss for words…

        • Ahmed Abdulla says:

          My point is even if the demands were universally accepted, without the endorsement of both blocs the other bloc will be marginalized. Both sides have to be involved.

          • mahmood says:

            What’s wrong with you joining your voice in the demands for the same outcome? The demands are universal in their appeal, and it behooves you to support, rather than destroy the possibility of success.

            Stomping your feet and having a tantrum because “we want to be seen to play” is not only childish, but wildly irresponsible.

          • Ahmed Abdulla says:

            This is the fact of the matter, and I my eyes the solution. If you ignore the other then your sincerity is questioned.

            Not sitting together on one table is what is destroying the possibility of success, and wildly irresponsible.

  5. Expatbrat says:

    Can we long-term expats have the vote as well ?

    • mahmood says:

      In municipal affairs once you own a property you could. In others, I’m afraid not. Just as it is in other sovereign nations.

  6. YoYo says:

    Mahmood,

    I have just come across this article, what do you think of it. Although some bits of the article and Ed’s answers are true, but it looks the interviewee is on the payroll of the Bahrain government.

    http://www.cfr.org/bahrain/bahrains-unsettling-standoff/p28085

    • Ahmed Abdulla says:

      Wow, same basic principle that I have been advocating. The way out of this is having both blocs negotiating with each other, and both agreeing on a way forward. The government’s role should be an arbitrator between the two.

      Why pay in blood if you can use words?

      • Abdulhadi says:

        What can poor Shias in Buri demand from poor Sunnis in Galali (or vice versa)? Neither have anything give away except solidarity.
        The common adversay for both communities and others living in Barain is the ruling family that seeks to keep all political power and economic resources in it hands.
        This simple statement was made some sixty years ago Abdulrahman alBaker and other pioneering leaders of our national movement. It remains valid today.

        • Ahmed Abdulla says:

          It’s not a question of what each sect has to give to each other, but what each sect wants from the government. If you are looking for consensus on removing the monarchy in my opinion you will never get it. The history is too deep.

          • mahmood says:

            but what each sect wants from the government

            And herein lies the divergence and problem…

            In a democracy, the government is the servant of the people. Yours, it’s the other way around. The struggle ongoing since the 1920s has been to achieve the former, yours is to maintain the latter.

          • Abdulhadi says:

            That is strange view of politics. ‘Governments’ are as Mahmood rightly state should serve the people rather expect to be pampered. Unless, of course, one believes that Bahrain is a private property of the Alkhalifas. …. It is NOT. Neither are we the ruling family’s subjects.
            .
            That is why I told the shiekh Hamad (on May 15, 2001) that he should be interested in our endeavours to re-educate his family and bring it into the 21st century. For that is the only feasible path towards ‘building a modern constitutional monarchy’.
            .
            Unfortunately for him and for the country he thought he was too smart to listen
            to anyone else than his uncle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0IuENwEmOU

  7. Ahmed Abdulla says:

    Mahmood,

    Joining voices and telling the government what the people want is a position of power, not weakness and puts the government in the service of the people. A consensus between both sects will be taken and carried out by the government verbatim: they have no other choice.

    This my way or the highway attitude is like a broken pencil…
    pointless! 😀

  8. Onenight says:

    No matter how ‘neutral’ you try to be, the fact that your blog is allowed indicates you have the regime’s approval.

    • JB says:

      His blog had him arrested at one point! I think it doesnt signal that he has their approval, just that they know he has too large a following, given that he never says anything illegal or unfair. It’s a sad state of affairs when the fact it is “allowed” (today at least ) is something to be remarked upon.

  9. Onenight says:

    @Abdulhadi

    “Unless, of course, one believes that Bahrain is a private property of the Alkhalifas. …. It is NOT. Neither are we the ruling family’s subjects.”

    The truth of the matter is, you’re incorrect on both of those points.

  10. Ahmed Abdulla says:

    Onenight,

    This idea of kings and subjects is foreign to the Arabian peninsula. That is way we use terms like Wali al-amr, Amir, Shiek. We are families, tribes and our leader is the head of the family.

    • Abdulhadi says:

      Are you sure you are not a a closet republican? Who defends patrirachy in the 2012?

      • Ahmed Abdulla says:

        The American founding fathers were greatly influenced by Montesquieu and basically have setup a constitutional monarchy with an elected “monarch”.

        As you can see from my previous responses I support a Montesquiean model of a constitutional monarchy. In this model obviously the monarch is not elected but the legislative branch is completely elected and both the executive and the legislative branch together appoint the judicial branch.

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