Nabeel Rajab is one of the more prominent Bahraini opposition figures appearing regularly in the global media, disseminating a systematically biased account of the situation in Bahrain. Here Citizens for Bahrain, sentence-by-sentence, shows how a recent article written by Rajab is inaccurate and dishonest from beginning to end:
“The Bahraini people are struggling for democracy”
Nabeel Rajab is forever talking about the “Bahraini people”; when in reality he is representing a diminishing proportion of Bahrainis trying to violently enforce radical political change.
Most Bahrainis would support democratic reform within a context of Constitutional Monarchy, but the sudden revolutionary change that Nabeel Rajab is seeking has been a disaster in Egypt, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.
Nabeel Rajab is the public face for an opposition that has grown more sectarian, radicalized and anti-democratic in recent years, under its leadership of clerics and Ayatollahs.
“I saw how much Bahrain had changed it is change for the worse”
99% of the country is stable and quiet 99% of the time. It is only in limited rioting hotspots that we have seen any trouble at all recently.
“Villages are big attacked by Bahrain security forces on a daily basis”
Rajab is being inaccurate here. If there is violent rioting, destruction of property and attacks against security personnel, then obviously the police must intervene to quieten the situation. This is not an “attack” and over the past two months such incidents have been becoming fewer.
“People are being killed”
The death toll decreased dramatically from 2012 onwards. Over the last year only two rioters lost their lives in regrettable incidents of clashes with police. The number of police casualties has been high. See a detailed discussion here.
“The United States has continued to arm and train the Bahrain military”
Bahrain’s military have no role in policing the streets; and as the UN Convention clearly states, Bahrain like any sovereign nation has a right to be capable of defending itself from external aggression.
“People have become more radical and more likely to turn to violence”
Very true! Remaining opposition militants have been radicalized by a leadership which has sought to demonize and delegitimize the country’s ruling system. Nabeel Rajab was the most outspoken in calling Bahrain’s police “brutal mercenaries”. Why is he surprised when his supporters start planting bombs that have killed numerous policemen?
“It has become more difficult in the last two years to persuade young people in Bahrain that the peaceful way is the best way to get us our rights”
It is welcome that when Rajab came out of prison he made a statement urging dialogue. However, prior to his imprisonment Rajab was one of the most vocal figures opposing the Dialogue process and saying that it was a waste of time. While Rajab may not have publically advocated acts of terrorism, he at least condoned violence on several occasions as “self defence” and helped create a radicalized atmosphere where greater violence became permissible.
“The American government has sacrificed us in order to sustain its friendship with the ruling dictatorship”
Do any Bahrainis seriously want America to adopt a policy of regime change? Nabeel Rajab is completely incorrect if he expects foreign nations to stop constructively doing business with the legitimate and recognized Government of Bahrain.
“We are not moving towards democracy. Instead, we continue on a path towards greater repression.”
We have seen a sustained programme of reforms capitalizing on the King’s vision for a reformed Constitutional Monarchy as set out in 2001’s National Action Charter. Despite a sustained campaign of civil disobedience and rioting Bahrain’s authorities have been remarkably successful in retraining the security services to manage protests with restraint.
The opposition appears determined not to participate in parliamentary elections this year, despite the Constitutional Amendments which empower elected MPs. Actions not words show the opposition’s level of commitment to the democratic process.
“I could be punished again if I continue to speak out.”
Nabeel Rajab was jailed on charges related to him organizing and participating in illegal marches and encouraging others to do so. Major organized protest rallies have received permits from the authorities, but Rajab’s insistence on organizing demonstrations outside the legal framework has contributed to the pattern of confrontation and violence.