The Number One thing we should have been watching out for in the 2014 Bahrain elections was Brian Dooley and friends queuing up to attack the democratic process and condemn the fact that Bahrainis are being given the chance to vote for who will represent them for the coming four years.

Let’s take five minutes to see what seven things Dooley will be looking out for in this round of elections, and see whether his insights go beyond his usual depressingly predictable tirades against Bahrain:

1.     Voter Turnout

Nobody will be surprised if the results are lower than in the 67% turnout of 2010, as a result of opposition attempts to enforce a boycott and taking into account a degree of voter apathy following a very difficult period. These elections are not a referendum on recent reforms and the issues being discussed are very different; as Mr. Dooley would know if he’d spent any time researching these elections before setting all his prejudices and disinformation out in his Huffington Post article.

Brian Dooley wants to imply that the Government will be cooking the results under the watchful eyes of 300 election monitors and over 50 senior judges. However, there is nothing to suggest that turnout statistics in the past haven’t been accurate. For example, in 2011, against a backdrop of violence, instability and a boycott, turnout in some constituencies for the by-election were historically low and this was faithfully reported by the local press at the time.

2.     Surge in Arrests

There wasn’t a “surge in arrests” before the 2014 Grand Prix – despite Dooley & friends warning that there would be.

If Dooley wanted to be honest, he would acknowledge that just a couple of days before the vote there is no such evidence for a “surge in arrests” despite measures being taken against those responsible for a wave of violent attacks against candidates who are defying the boycott.

Will Dooley be defending the human rights of those terrorists who set light to candidates’ homes while their families were sleeping inside?

3.     Social Media Attacks

The social media has recently been relatively benign, particularly after measures have been taken against certain individuals from both sides for spreading sectarian hatred. However, this hasn’t deterred vicious attacks through the social media against candidates who have been repeatedly accused of being traitors and have received multiple death threats.

Presumably we’ll have to wait for Dooley’s next article for him to defend the human rights of parliamentary candidates who bravely support the democratic process despite threats and attacks.

4.     U.S. Government Reaction

The US should rightly be encouraging the democratic process in Bahrain and it is good that the EU and others have condemned the opposition for trying to derail the elections.

We hope that the US will also find Dooley’s arguments incomprehensible, that the result of the elections will be greater instability and threats to US assets in the region. Wishful thinking?

5.     No Change at the Top

Parliamentary elections don’t bring about a change in the executive; that’s why they’re called “parliamentary elections”.

Does Brian Dooley expect the British public to be voting in a new Queen in 2015?

6.     A New Opening?

At least Mr. Dooley has got one of his predictions right. Because of the relatively small number of MPs standing in these elections, Citizens for Bahrain statisticsshow that at least two-thirds of faces in the new Parliament are likely to be entirely new faces to Parliament, including figures from a business, law and human rights background.

We hope that this does help create renewed momentum for reform, dialogue and national reconciliation.

7.     Everyone Claiming Victory

There will be little reason for Al-Wefaq to claim victory during this process. There is likely to be a respectable turn out even in many constituencies where Al-Wefaq have fielded MPs in the past.

They can’t force people not to vote and the opposition have to live with the fact that their boycott has encouraged militants to take matters in to their own hands and attack candidates.

As always, Brian Dooley’s articles say far more about his biased mindset and his obvious agenda that they do about Bahrain. Dooley could have acknowledged the fact that in many constituencies this is a far more exciting and competitive process than in previous years, with substantial numbers of qualified and high-calibre candidates standing against each other.

The choices that Bahrainis make in the November 2014 elections will have far-reaching effects on the lives of ordinary people, on the Bahraini economy and Bahrain’s position in the region. There has been a strong degree of agreement among candidates about prioritizing issues like housing, unemployment, standards of living and education, so we can look forward to Parliament where these vital issues are addressed with renewed vigour.

This will come as a great disappointment to Mr. Dooley who only wants to see one thing in Bahrain and the Gulf – revolution and bloodshed. The idea that Bahrain can smoothly transition to a more democratic, reformed, representative and stable situation is the last thing that Dooley and his militant allies want to hear.

Therefore, the better things get in Bahrain, the more ridiculous articles you’ll see in the Huffington Post trying to sway world opinion in favour of the same revolutions that have been such a bloody and tragic disaster in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen.


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