(Beirut) – The upcoming parliamentary elections in Bahrain, scheduled for November 24, 2018, are occurring in a repressive political environment that is not conducive to free elections, Human Rights Watch said today. Bahrain’s allies should encourage the Bahraini government to take all the necessary steps to reform laws undermining freedom of expression and assembly and to release detained opposition figures.
For more on the US Senate vote and the Bahrain elections, see ADHRB Weekly 278, accessible here.
06 November 2018 – Today, Representative Jim McGovern and Representative Randy Hultgren, the co-chairs of the Congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, publicized a letter they sent last week asking Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to “take all necessary steps to ensure that the upcoming elections for the Council of Representatives of Bahrain’s National Assembly meet international standards for free and fair elections.”
Nahdlatul Ulama, with 94 million members the world’s largest Sunni Muslim movement, is bent on reforming Islam. In a 40-page document, argued in terms of Islamic law and jurisprudence and scheduled for publication in the coming days, Nahdlatul Ulama’s powerful young adults wing, Gerakan Pemuda Ansor, spells out a framework for what it sees as a humanitarian interpretation of Islam that is tolerant and pluralistic in nature.
The Shia Muslim Council strongly condemns the terrorist attack upon worshippers in the midst of Sabbath service at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday Oct 27 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our hearts go out to the families of the worshipers who were mercilessly killed as well as those were injured.
Analysts have expressed scepticism about previous Bahraini allegations of Iranian and Hizballah involvement. Bahrain’s attorney general charged nearly 170 people on Tuesday with forming a Shia “terrorist organisation” named for Lebanon’s famed militant group Hizballah.
The eruption of Bahrain’s political crisis seven-and-a-half years ago marked a watershed in Manama-Washington relations. It also transformed how both Bahrain’s regime and its Shia-dominated opposition viewed the United States. For decades, Bahrain’s leadership has seen the United States as the archipelago kingdom’s offshore security guarantor and a bastion against political ambitions from regional powers.
After generating some positive press earlier this summer by lifting the ban on women driving, Saudi Arabia is once more the target of reproach. In August, the country’s notorious terrorism court sought the death penalty against Israa al-Ghomgham, a female activist.
Saudi Vision 2030, the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reduce the kingdom’s dependence on oil income, is coming undone. The king has stripped away the central pillar of the project. The country is becoming more autocratic and repressive. The slide toward greater repression is prompting capital flight.