THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
February 17, 2011
BBC News

Bahrain Protests: Police Break Up Pearl Square Crowd

Security forces in Bahrain have dispersed thousands of anti-government protesters in Pearl Square in the centre of the capital, Manama.

Hundreds of riot police using tear gas and batons moved in before dawn, with tanks now reported on some streets.

At least three people died in the operation, with hundreds more injured.

The protesters want wide-ranging political reforms and had been camped out since Tuesday. . . .

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[Pro-democracy demonstrations stretched into a third day in Bahrain, while police and anti- regime protesters clashed in Yemen and Libya, the latest country in the region hit by demands for change. . ..

In Yemen, where the government has cooperated with the U.S. in anti-terror efforts, hundreds rallied for a sixth day, marching outside Sanaa University to demand the immediate resignation of the president of 32 years, Ali Abdullah Saleh. . . .

The unrest in Libya helped boost oil prices, with futures rising for the first time in four days. Oil for March delivery rose 60 cents, to $84.92 a barrel, at 9:09 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, with 44.3 billion barrels in 2009, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.Glen Carey and Mohammed Hatem, "Protests Spread to Libya as Unrest Roils Bahrain, Yemen," atimes.com, February 16, 2011]

David Martin, "Brutal Bahrain Plays Vital Role to U.S. Gov't," cbsnews.com, February 17, 2011

[Bahrain is a tiny archipelago of 1.2 million people separated from Saudi Arabia by a causeway - 65% of Bahrain is Shi'ite. But the al-Khalifa dynasty in power is Sunni. Most Shi'ites are poor, marginalized and discriminated against - a rural proletariat. And they have been squeezed further as a mass of "imported" Sunnis - upwards of 50,000 from southern Pakistan, Balochistan, Jordan and Yemen - have been naturalized. Add to it a classic divide and rule strategy - local workforce pitted against foreign workforce; 54% of the population are guest workers, nearly half of these from southwest India. . . .

To top it off, the US 5th Fleet - a self-described cop on the beat - is berthed in Bahrain.--Pepe Escobar, "All about Pearl roundabout," atimes.com, February 18, 2011]

Andrew England, "Libyans challenge Gaddafi's grip," ft.com, February 18, 2011

"Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa -- country by country," cnn.com, February 18, 2011

Robert Fisk, "'They didn't run away. They faced the bullets head-on': After Egypt's revolution, the people have lost their fear," Independent, February 19, 2011

Robert Fisk, "These are secular popular revolts -- yet everyone is blaming religion," Independent, February 20, 2011

John Vidal, "What Does the Arab World Do When its Water Runs Out?," Observer, February 21, 2011

"Political Unrest in North Africa and the Middle East," nytimes.com, February 21, 2011

"Gadhafi accused of genocide against his own people," mcclatchydc.com, February 21, 2011

Hussain Abdul-Hussain, "Iraq protests show a democracy hijacked by '100 mini-Saddams'," thenational.ae, February 27, 2011

Justin Elliott, "U.S. silent as Iraqi regime cracks down: The U.S.-backed al-Maliki government imprisoned intellectuals and used live ammunition on protesters," salon.com, February 28, 2011

Gus Lubin, "These Are The Controversial Satellite Photos That Set Off Protests In Bahrain," businessinsider.com, March 2, 2011

[Saudi Arabia was yesterday drafting up to 10,000 security personnel into its north-eastern Shia Muslim provinces, clogging the highways into Dammam and other cities with busloads of troops in fear of next week's "day of rage" by what is now called the "Hunayn Revolution". . . .

An indication of the seriousness of the revolt against the Saudi royal family comes in its chosen title: Hunayn. This is a valley near Mecca, the scene of one of the last major battles of the Prophet Mohamed against a confederation of Bedouins in AD630.--Robert Fisk, "Saudis mobilise thousands of troops to quell growing revolt," Independent, March 5, 2011]

[Whatever the outcome of the protests, uprisings and rebellions now sweeping the Middle East, one thing is guaranteed: the world of oil will be permanently transformed. Consider everything that's now happening as just the first tremor of an oilquake that will shake our world to its core.--Michael T Klare, "The collapse of the old oil order," businessinsider.com, March 5, 2011]

[When Saudi Arabian troops rolled into Bahrain to help quell Shi'ite Muslim protests, the world's top oil-exporting region inched closer to a sectarian stand-off that could involve non-Arab Shi'ite power Iran.--Lin Noueihed, "Analysis: Tiny Bahrain could provoke regional conflict," Reuters, March 14, 2011]

Webster G. Tarpley, "Behind the 2011 Orgy of Destabilizations: Pre-Emptive Coups by the CIA to Halt an Exodus of US Satraps and Viceroys Leading to a Multipolar World," tarpley.net, March 15, 2011

Shirin Sadeghi, "The Fabrication of Bahrain's Shiite-Sunni Divide," huffingtonpost.com, March 16, 2011

[A crackdown that killed dozens failed to stop massive demonstrations--Ahmed Al-Haj, "Yemen's US-backed leader fails to stop uprising," msnbc.msn.com, March 19, 2011]

"Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh agrees to step down: Deal to hand power to deputy within 30 days accepted by opposition parties, but with reservations," Associated Press, April 24, 2011

[Wissam Tarif of the human rights group Insan . . . said he had received the names of 1,800 people who have been detained since Thursday, bringing to nearly 10,000 the number of people taken into custody since the uprising began in March. The death toll stands at 716, he said.--"Syria crackdown escalates, spreads," Associated Press, May 8, 2011]

Ernesto Londono and Sudarsan Raghavan, "Yemeni crowds celebrate after president transfers power, flies to Saudi Arabia," Washington Post, June 4, 2011

Patrick Cockburn, "Saudi police open fire on civilians as protests gain momentum," Independent, October 5, 2011

Kevin Sullivan, "Saudi Arabia's secret Arab Spring," Independent, October 23, 2011

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