Brian Dooley’s latest article in the Huffington Post (26 March 2014) is interesting for a number of reasons.

To start with, Mr. Dooley, Director of “Human Rights First”, several times acknowledges Iran’s increasing interference in Bahrain:

  • “The longer Bahrain’s political impasse continues, the more likely Iran will have real influence.”
  • “There’s no doubt Iran will seek to exploit Bahrain’s political chaos”.
  • Claims of Iranian interference are “becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy”.

Brian Dooley has been notable for denying Iranian interference in Bahrain, in the same way that US oil companies denied the reality of climate change, and Ahmedinejad denied the Holocaust. So why is Mr. Dooley suddenly so focused on Iran’s increasing “real influence” in Bahrain?

Clearly, one reason is that Iranian influence has become so blatant; with shipments of Iranian arms and explosives being impounded on Bahraini shores and Iranian explosives being used to kill multiple policemen.

Mr. Dooley usually stresses that all protesters are “peaceful dissidents”.  So this article marks a huge U-turn, with him acknowledging that “protests have become more violent, with reports of several more policemen killed this month; civilians casualties are mounting too”.

However, while he acknowledges the reality of terrorist attacks against police and civilians – there were 101 bomb attacks in Bahrain last year – he continues to assert that all those detained for these crimes are “peaceful dissidents”.

Brian Dooley states: “A stable, democratic Bahrain that respects the rule of law is a more reliable partner than a volatile dictatorship.”

We are sure that Bahrain’s leaders would agree with him on this point. This is why King Hamad on coming to power in 1999 instituted a new Constitution, which gained over 98% approval in a 2001 referendum.

The Constitution established an elected Parliament and set Bahrain on the path of reform and democratization. Since 2012 a series of reforms – which Mr. Dooley denies the existence of – further empowered the Parliament and reconfigured the justice and security sectors.

Bahrain – with its elected Parliament, its Constitutional Monarchy, primacy of the rule of law and enshrined rights of women, minorities and citizens – is arguably the furthest country from being a so-called “volatile dictatorship” in the region.

Brian Dooley clearly knows this. However, his crude anti-Bahrain propaganda continues unabated because of the high levels of ignorance in the West about the real situation in Bahrain.

We would question why Mr. Dooly, as the head of an organization that purports to deal with human rights all round the world gives scant attention to countries with infinitely worse human rights records than Bahrain – Syria, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Egypt and Burma, for example.

Why does he spend his life travelling round the world attending events and conferences rubbing shoulders with the Bahraini opposition? Why does he write so much published material obsessing about Bahrain; and devotes so much time in the social media focusing exclusively on Bahrain?

Could Brian Dooley please clarify what his real agenda is?

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