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November 03 2013

Why is Saudi Arabia changing its foreign policy ? Interview with Toby Craig Jones

Why is Saudi Arabia changing its foreign policy ?
Interview with Toby Craig Jones

Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, the Saudis have become much more active regionally. Not just in Syria, but also in Yemen and Bahrain. According to Saudi insider and royal adviser Nawaf Obaid, the Saudis are embarking on a doctrinal shift towards a more “activist foreign policy”. Is this because the Saudis are reacting to a vacuum in U.S. leadership in the region?

JONES : It’s an interesting question, whether or not the Saudis are acting in an American vacuum. But I actually think the U.S. has more consistently supported the Saudi position than they’ve opposed it, most visibly in Bahrain and in Yemen. And also in Egypt where the United States now supports the military regime and has not really had any problems with the coup there this past summer which was certainly delightful to the Saudis.

To answer your original question, yes, the Saudis have become more active in the region, (...)

Overall, the Saudi concerns and reasons for the recent increase in foreign political activity comes down to three issues:

First, there’s Syria, Bahrain and the fear of Iranian regional hegemony. The increase in Saudi activity here is best seen through the lens of a balance of power consideration: They want to check Iranian ambitions in the region. (...)

The second issue has to do with fears about democratic transition and change. The Saudis are simply fearful that there could be more support in the region for democratic politics. They want to support the status quo, the old autocrats and all the perquisites that follow from that.

The third thing is connected to the second issue. If there is a popular change in government and more people have a say in the workings of domestic political economy, decision making could shift to more populist kinds of politics. The consequences of that for the Saudis in particular of course would be, that they would lose their grip over the ability to generate massive wealth for themselves and to live their lives of considerable privilege. Being a Saudi not only means that you have power over the Arabian peninsula, it also means that you have fantastic wealth, you know, gold plated 747′s [Boeing airliners], multiple palaces, the ability to travel and so on. It’s a business as much as it is a country, and the Saudis fear the possible passing of their ability to control that.

Autre question abordée : les dirigeants de l’Arabie ont-ils vraiment les moyens et le désir de rompre avec les Etats-Unis ?

September 29 2013

Bahrain jails 50 activists for up to 15 years

#Bahrain jails 50 activists for up to 15 years

A young Bahraini girl poses for a picture during an anti-government protest in the village of Jannusan, west of the capital Manama, on 17 September 2013. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed al-Shaikh)

A Bahraini court on Sunday sentenced 50 protest activists, many of whom were denied access to a lawyer and gave confessions under #Torture, to lengthy jail terms on terrorism-related charges, a rights group said. Separately, two police officers who were jailed for torturing a (...)

#February_14 #Prison #Top_News

August 14 2013

Policing Bahrain : the long arm of the British | openDemocracy

Policing Bahrain : the long arm of the British | openDemocracy

Un article sur les liens indéfectibles entre le régime bahreini et l’ancien colonisateur britannique, symbolisé par le fait que le jour de la fête nationale à #Bahreïn ne correspond pas à celui de l’indépendance vis-à-vis des Britanniques, le 14 Août (1971), mais au jour de la prise de "pouvoir" par le père de l’actuel roitelet, le 16 Décembre (1961).

L’article se focalise sur la participation- sous couvert de "formation"- du Britannique #John_Yates (et en passant celle de “#America’s_worst_cop#John_Timoney), ex-flic de haut rang dans son pays, dans la répression à Bahreïn.

(John Yates avait été impliqué dans le scandale des écoutes illégales du tabloïd News of the World.)

On August 14th, many Bahrainis will celebrate the day in 1971 when the country gained its independence from Britain. The Bahrain government and its ruling family, however, will not, preferring instead to commemorate “National Day” on December 16th, marking the date the current King’s father began his rule in 1961. King Hamad recently went so far as to say, “for all practical and strategic purposes the British presence has not changed and it remains such that we believe we shall never be without it.” The celebrations on August 14th will thus take the form of protests demanding self-determination, democracy and human rights.

To many opposition activists, the contemporary face of British “practical and strategic purposes” in Bahrain is John Yates, the former Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner hired as an advisor to the Bahrain Ministry of Interior (MOI) in December 2011. Yates is the latest in a long line of British advisors to Bahrain, including the notorious Colonel Ian Henderson CBE who oversaw horrific torture during his tenure heading the country’s security apparatus between 1966 and 1998.

July 19 2013

Attentat à la voiture piégée à Riffa, mercredi soir le quartier réservé aux membres de la famille…

Attentat à la voiture piégée à Riffa, mercredi soir le quartier réservé aux membres de la famille royale. Les manifestations sont interdites ce vendredi

Bahrain : Rallies banned in wake of car blast |

The twin bans by the ministry were announced after a car exploded in the parking area of a mosque in Riffa, south of Manama, as worshippers were performing the Isha (evening) and Taraweeh prayers. The interior ministry said that gas cylinders were used in the explosion.

The car blast was promptly condemned by the country’s leaders and major political figures and societies amid calls by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa for the arrest of the perpetrators.

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