Resistance in Bahrain

Interview with Matar Ebrhaim Matar, former Member of Parliament from Bahrain. Matar is visiting Australia to obtain support for the resistance in Bahrain.

[This interview was broadcast on the Paradigm Shift on 4ZZZ (fm 102.1 Brisbane) on Good Friday, 2012.]

Matar Ebrahim Matar is one of  the leaders al-Wefaq, an opposition organization in Bahrain which supports the opposition parties in Bahrain. It is akin to Hezbollah in Lebanon but does not wish to be compared with it. Al-Wefaq works side by side with the Democratic Progress Tribune  which consist of leftists parties and secular movements ( an anti-imperialist organization in opposition to the monarchy)The significance of al-Wefaq lies in its religious outlook which oppose the monarchs of the Gulf States who are mostly Sunni. Shia means followers of Ali (Mohammed’s cousin who was killed in Iraq. Sunni means ‘the law’ or the sayings and actions of Muhammad’.

Bahrain is a military base for the United States and its authority is puppet in the hand of US. The Saudi Army occupies Bahrain to control the opposition of the people. The American 5th fleet resides there.

They support Syrian and Hizbollah resistance but are wary of being compared with them. I canvas this question in the interview and Matar gives a more nuanced response than I have given here. I would not compare the al-Wefaq religious movement with the uprising in Teheran in 1979 because Khomeini wished to introduce a new theocratic constitution in Iran whereas Matar describes in the interview how he wishes to introduce a secular constitution in Bahrain.

Al-Wefaq have a progressive position (like Hizbollah) on women’s issues when you compare it to other religious movements, but not as good as socialist and secular groups.

There is a lot of corruption in Bahrain in the electoral, judicial and financial sector.

“One activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja , was arrested last April for his role in anti-government demonstrations that swept through his country in February and March, has been on a hunger strike for eight weeks to protest his life prison term.

In June, al-Khawaja and seven other Shiite opposition activists were found guilty of plotting to overthrow the country’s Sunni royal family. They were sentenced to life in prison.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit human rights group started by al-Khawaja and for which his daughter works, has appealed for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.

His life is in danger, Maryam al-Khawaja said, “and getting to a situation where there might be an unrepairable damage to his physical well-being, if he survives.” from CNN-NN (sic)


More than 65 people have been killed, hundreds injured and around 3000 people sacked from their jobs since the uprisings began.

I was shot by around 40 cluster bullets which are still in my body. I went to a private hospital but I didn’t receive any treatment because the hospital was invaded by military troops“, a Bahraini refugee, Ahmed, said.

Physicians for Human Rights have described the military crackdown on health services and professionals in Bahrain as “the most extreme violations of medical neutrality in the past half century  — from Media Release by NSW Greens’ MP, David Shoebridge.

Ian Curr
Paradigm Shift
April 2012

3 thoughts on “Resistance in Bahrain

  1. Ray Bergmann says:

    Will it turn into an arena for conflict? .. Saudi Arabia under the super morgue!

    April 1, 2012 – http://iraqibeacon.wordpress.com/
    Jouhina News , by Struggle Victory

    The threat of Wahhabism is no longer within the borders of Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia or Chechnya. Notwithstanding the anti-American policy of any state, from Nigeria to Algeria to Syria, Saudi Arabia is waging war by its intelligence forces assisting al-Qaeda in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Egypt, and waging war by direct military intervention in Bahrain.

    Saudi Arabia … is now fighting several states at once by fostering terrorism and money!! It is no secret that the United States of America is in declining influence in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and has come to rely on a number of countries to implement their policies: Israel, Saudi Arabia, Georgia, South Korea, the most important strategic point being occupied Afghanistan.

    How to read the future of the world after the defeat of insurgence forces in Syria, the repercussions of the defeat of the Zionist entity in its aggression against Lebanon, the U.S. failure to keep to a withdrawal timetable in Iraq, the fall of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine , the fall of the revolution of lilies in Kyrgyzstan, the region of Darfur with the failure of a Petroleum project directed by South Sudan once it became outside the territory of North Sudan, the extension a gas stream in the Russian Arctic that as a result began to contradict U.S. and German interests, as well as impacting on the Polish economy, and then the failure in Lebanon of Washington’s “color revolutions” directed from Iraq, questioning whether the US decline will fail the “Arab spring” revolution in Syria, having graduated from Washington’s (failed project in) Afghanistan, or that blowback will come to Washington in their own backyard?

    Starting with the policy of diversification of the Russian economy was implemented so as to dispense with Russia’s dependence on energy revenues (gas and oil) when Washington provided alternatives to Russian energy for the European Union, Medvedev began his war in the Caucasus trapping the Georgian agent of Washington Saakashvili in his palace in Tbilisi, it is certain that Putin will begin Russian-Chinese joint naval maneuvers, which may aggrieve Washington.

    The “Arab spring” was a threat to Moscow more than or equal to the era of color revolutions, and thus Putin is responding to the U.S. which is still trying to convince itself of its sole superpower status. So examining the American reactions to their defeat in Syria can read the dangers ahead and predict the Russian-Chinese next reaction.

    Washington attempts to hit Russian-Chinese relations by threatening the energy resources of China to put pressure on Beijing, by the return of some of the violence to Darfur, the return of Ethiopian troops to Somalia, as well as the U.S. military presence in Uganda, targeting the output of oil in Southern Sudan, expanding conflict in Nigeria and North Africa (Mali, Algeria, Chad).

    On the other hand, Washington has opened a dialogue with the Taliban in Doha, and still rejects any dialogue (with Russia) on missile defense. In Syria the US refuses to recognize defeat and insists on an escalation by what is revealed that Petraeus will visit to Turkey.

    In Libya, Nigeria, Algeria war is escalated to try to master of the situation, and therefore the U.S. is still engaged completely in psychological warfare (by special ops) rather than achieving military results on the ground. But a psychological war, coupled with defeats on the ground, in addition to the loss of United Russia party of more than a hundred deputies in the Duma, and despite all the spending in the Caucasus to back terrorism to strike again, thus Putin is focussed on maintaining Russia’s national security, as well as survey the implications of “Arab spring”, these may be fronts terrifying to Washington, Israel and Saudi Arabia, in addition to the fronts in Georgia, Afghanistan, so Russia is interested in completely burning the U.S. in Afghanistan, bring about evacuation of the U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan, and thus unravel the project to supply U.S. forces and NATO in Afghanistan, and the project to undermine Moscow’s support of Georgia’s opposition.


    “Statements by Western officials are all about the security of Israel (but is it really obtained by promoting racism and terrorism in the Middle East?), and there is no mention by any Western official of the security of the House of Saud, yet everyone became aware that the future of the Saudi power elite lies in the morgue!”

    Saudi Arabia is fighting intelligence on four fronts, and the U.S. understands it will not win any of these fronts. Syria and Iraq only constitute a strategic threat to Saudi Arabia if Saudi Arabia remains the spearhead of the West in Syria and Iraq, and as well in Yemen and Bahrain. Most importantly the U.S. began to destabilize relations between Gulf States to prevent the issuance of a single currency and to prevent disengagement from the dollar. Here we understand that the U.S. already has agreed to (Neo-con/Israeli) project for change in Saudi Arabia with no objection (amongst US allies) except for Britain to do away with the rule of the Al-Saud royal family, The English think that change will impact on the Wahhabi movement to lose (the alliance with) Islamic takfiris, while the U.S. believes that the Islamist takfiris under the cloak of mercenaries paid for by al-Saud princes, while Israel believes that it could revive the New Middle East Project of a grand division of Arabia, and even overthrow Iran by radical Islam, which can be created (as insurgency) in the Gulf and extending it to Iraq and Iran. Some leaks by bin Jassem (?) confirm the approval of the West, with the exception of the United Kingdom to such a change in Saudi Arabia.

    On the other hand, as dozens of Saudis fought in Syria, some were arrested and interrogated (by Syrian security), the investigators were suprised at their entrenched mindsets, requiring interrogation sessions of many hours to convince the Saudi fighters that killing at least Sunni Muslims in Syria should be haram to them, but without result, they see all of Syria as a state of worst infidels, so the paradox was that the more extreme cells were in battle to kill even Sunni Muslims, and investigators were in vain to discuss this with their minds entrenched. According to a source familiar with it at least 50% of Saudi fighters investigated as captured terrorists in the Caucasus, after a lot of Russian officers, who warned the Russian leadership of (Saudi inspired) Wahhabi terrorism, but the Russian leadership considered that negotiations with the House of Saud is not only through the stick, but also through the purchase of rockets where there is no competitor, as they buy weapons from (Russian) scrap worth billions of dollars as do also from the Americans and before that from the English, in deals reaching $ 200 billion of weapons that did not benefit the Army of Al-Saud in their occupation of the Yemeni countryside, but failed tham when they tried to attack. Thus the struggle for Saudi Arabia is coming and everyone is beginning to realize the liabilities of Saudi Arabia as an ally and that the understanding with each Saudi move they threaten their own thrones.

    The question remains: who will carry out the (US/NATO/Israeli) project for change in Saudi Arabia and where will it end? And when? Note that Saudi Arabia is a boiling fertile ground for those who want to do this .. The years and months ahead of country’s deposits in banks from oil revenues is in the name of princes. Enough to feed all Arabs for a hundred years yet their people will go hungry!!

  2. Ray Bergmann says:

    I searched online for “Bahrain socialist” and found an interview with Ahmed Mohammed (“Bahraini activist” – no further description given) at http://www.socialistworld.net/view/156.

    At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_socialism I read: “Arab socialism (a political ideology based on an amalgamation of Pan-Arabism and socialism) is distinct from the much broader tradition of socialist thought in the Arab world, which predates Arab socialism by as much as fifty years. The first book on socialism in Arabic, Al-Ishtirākiyya (The Socialism), was published in 1913 by the Coptic Egyptian journalist and reformer Salama Musa (1887–1958), and republished from 1962 onwards.[1] The term “Arab socialism” was coined by Michel Aflaq, the principal founder of ba’athism and the Ba’ath Party, in order to distinguish his version of socialist ideology from the internationalist Marxist socialism in Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia, and the social democracy in Western Europe.”

    I searched online for “Bahrain communist” and found “(clandestine Marxist-Leninist) National Liberation Front of Bahrain”:
    “In the early 2000s, after a reasonable change in the regime’s policy, exiled leaders were allowed to return to Bahrain and to work politically. Before the election of 2002 some elements affiliated to the NLF, in co-operation with other independent activists (leftists and liberals), launched a legal political body under a new rule governing the establishment of political associations. In this way the Progressive Democratic Tribune Association was founded as a leftist progressive political organisation, but not as an alternative to the NLF. Since then it may appear that the PDTA has replaced the NLF, a groundless claim for which there is no documentary evidence. Moreover, the NLF never issued any statement that it has ceased to exist. The reality is that the NLF continues to exist and to struggle, though illegal and not openly active, because of the sensitive transformation period that Bahrain is passing through.
    Between 2002 and 2006 the NLF and PDTA had three members in parliament, including the deputy speaker, Abdulhadi Marhoon. However, all lost their seats in the election of 2006 when Sunni and Shi‘a communal “Islamist” forces won almost all seats.”

  3. iraqibeacon says:

    Well done Ian! your web Worker Bush Telegraph is as I think the first media that dealt with such issue out of restrection and silence imposed on Bahrain’s uprising. You are the real leftist! we must stand up for imperialism agression on Bahrain, Syria and Lebanon.

    See http://iraqibeacon.wordpress.com

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