– Bahrain seeks mercenaries from Indonesia, Malaysia & Pakistan (ABC Radio Australia, June 21, 2011):
A noted Saudi scholar claims that Bahrain’s royal family is seeking Indonesian mercenaries to help maintain its grip over the country.
Bahrain has arrested hundreds of state employees, permitted widespread and systematic human rights abuses in its prison and jailed leading political critics… not to mention opening fire on protesters.
In mid-March, troops from Saudi Arabia arrived to help quell the unrest.
Now it’s being claimed that Bahraini officials have travelled to Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan to seek mercernaries and more weapons.
Correspondent: Liam Cochrane
Speaker: Ali al-Ahmad, heads the Washington based Institute for Gulf Affairs
- Windows Media
AL-AHMAD: For the past few decades the Bahraini monarchy have been relying on foreign mercenaries to build its army in order to stop the influence or reduce the influence of the people of Bahrain. The majority of the people of Bahrain have been trying to change the policy and right now even unseat the regime, the monarchy has been using imported soldiers and officers to stop the people from taking power peacefully. And that has been the case for example in Bahrain. There is not a single Shia Muslim officer or soldier in the whole of the security and armed forces in Bahrain, which makes it one of the most unique and disturbing armies in the world. In fact the majority of the population are not allowed to enter into the security forces, and that is why they’re using imported, because the minority population cannot support the, does not have the numbers to provide for security and they still do not have trust the minority that they come from the Sunni Muslim, the Bahrain, so they need to import mercenaries from the foreign countries specially, Pakistan and other countries.
COCHRANE: So at the moment there are already mercenaries from Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan in Bahrain, is that the situation?
AL-AHMAD: Right now we have seen the majority of them come from Pakistan and some other Arab countries like Jordan, there have been reports or knowledge of Somalis, Yemenis, Syrians, but this is a new way, they are trying to really to not have one group dominates the army, so there bringing in Asians from poorer countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, because it’s cheaper to bring an Indonesian than to bring a Syrian. And that makes it harder for them to go against the government, because they do not speak the language, they just receive orders and kill people or torture people that they don’t speak their language and they’re basically foreign to them, and that has been the case. One of the leaders or the commanders of the Bahrain army spent a lot of time, about a week in Pakistan and met with Pakistani officials and they were guaranteed that they will get anything they want in terms of arms and in terms of mercenaries, because the government of Pakistan must approve such a transaction.
COCHRANE: For the case of Indonesia and Malaysia, how are you so certain that this is happening, that there is a recruitment going on, have you had contact with Bahraini officials or Indonesian and Malaysian officials?
AL-AHMAD: Well this was not only through our sources in Bahrain, but the Wall Street Journal also reported the fact that they are imported from Indonesia. So this is nothing, it’s not exclusive information that I have but also the American media, such as the respected Wall Street Journal has reported on that. And they have been getting Saudi support in trying to recruit people. In terms of Malaysia, the Malaysian government itself offered to the Saudi representative that they are willing to send troops to protect peace in Bahrain, when they mean peace they mean that to protect the monarch, the absolute monarchy in Bahrain from the population of that country.
COCHRANE: There’s a willingness there, is there any confirmation that either Malaysia or Indonesia have actually, people from Malaysia or Indonesia have actually gone to Bahrain?
AL-AHMAD: Right now we don’t have any confirmation of that, but I think that’s what taken, between weeks and a few months. I think the Malaysians probably would do that at the end because they are really focused on gaining a lot of economic access to the Gulf because of the high income and the oil revenue there so it will improve the economy of Malaysia. So they are willing to send a few hundred people and get the dollars for that, I think that they will do that anytime because they are focused on their economy in Malaysia. Similar in Indonesia the population is large, they have to do something, tens of thousands of people abroad for work and work and security, an officer or a soldier probably pays better than a maid or a driver in the Gulf.
– ‘Bahrain regime seeks mercenaries’ (Press TV, Jun 19, 2011):
Press TV talks with Ali al-Ahmad, director of IGA in Washington on the increasing nervousness of the Bahraini regime in the face of unrelenting popular protests demanding an end to the regime, which has forced action that will change the internal power structure of Bahrain’s royal family. Following is a transcript of the interview.
Press TV: On Friday once again massive crowds turned out to demand King Hamid al-Khalifa and his regime step down. With all the pressure that the Bahraini people are under it appears that the people are still determined to continue with their opposition protests no matter the price. Has it gone beyond where the regime can actually stop these protests?
Ali al-Ahmad: I think it’s too late. The regime has suffered and suffers every time they respond to the Bahraini demonstrations. So there is no return they have already crossed that threshold. You are talking about a monarchy that has shown its true face by being willing to destroy its own people; by being willing to sacrifice the soverntiy of the country in order to stay in power.
Today, you have an occupied Bahrain; you have a king that has no legitimacy with the majority of the people of Bahrain and you have a population that is determined to create a new system, which could be a constitutional monarchy or even a Republic, which is probably the best option for Bahrain given the fact that the world’s democracies are mostly Republics and the US, which led the world in building a Republic should support a Republic in Bahrain.
Press TV: Our other guest, Professor Rodney Shakespeare has concluded that the UK and US does not stand for democracy in Bahrain. People in both countries would be very surprised at that type of accusation when both of them symbolically say that they stand for human rights; that they stand for democracy – Why is it in the case of Bahrain they have remained silent even against such examples as a fifteen year old boy being put on trial and others on military trial? Still, ‘mum’ is the word from Washington and London.
Ali al-Ahmad: Well, I think the professor is right. The US and British governments have not only been staying silent they have in fact been supporting the Bahraini monarchy in one way or another by extending them special favors or status; supporting them with weapons and training; allowing them freedom of movement and not criticizing them in any way or shape to the sufficient manner in which they should be.
What you hear sometimes (from these governments) as a statement of concern is to maintain some degree of credibility – it has no grounding in policy. Certain governments would like to maintain the image that they are caring about human rights and democracy in the region where in fact they are doing the opposite.
What I mean by saying that is the US, for example, allowed the crown prince, who is seen as the second most corrupt person in Bahrain – involved in land grabs and expropriating public and private land and he is responsible for the military crackdown; but he is welcomed at 10 Downing Street in London and in the White House. This tells you the real story of what is happening.
The US and British governments are both supporting the monarchy. The professor is also right about corrupt organizations. UNESCO for example is a corrupt organization; otherwise they would not have allowed a small country (Bahrain) to hold a session at UNESCO in Paris.
And the World Bank would not allow them to do the same thing in Washington unless there are kickbacks to these officials in UNESCO and in the World Bank so you are dealing with corrupt international organizations that are supporting dictators following in the manner of the American and British government support. This is not going to continue for long because the people of Bahrain are taking over; it’s just a matter of time.
Press TV: How nervous do you think in general the regime in Bahrain is right now? As repressive as they have been still we witness last Friday people in mass taking to the streets still demanding that King Hamid and his regime step down.
Ali al-Ahmad: I think they are very nervous and this is why the Bahraini officials have been traveling across the globe – they went to Pakistan to seek more mercenaries and more weapons; they are traveling to south east Asia to recruit military help from Malaysia and Indonesia and to get more mercenaries from there. The Saudis are doing the same trying to invite Indonesia and Malaysia to send military troops to protect the monarchy; and we see that from Jordan as well.
So we are seeing a monarchy that is really at the end of its rope. They do not trust even the loyalists in Bahrain so they need to seek mercenaries from elsewhere – and these mercenaries will one day be captured and tried in public.
They are extremely afraid that the world is going to turn against them and the international community will have no choice but to turn with the people of Bahrain when the page turns. The page is turning and before the end of this year we will see it.
The Bahraini monarchy is so nervous they want to link and have Saudi Arabia annex Bahrain. We saw just yesterday the son of the King of Bahrain got engaged and married the daughter of the King of Saudi Arabia. This is an important step fro them to try to ensure the survival of the Bahraini monarchy.
But the person who is going to be nervous the most is the crown prince who was here in Washington last week; very nervous according to witnesses and insecure about his own future as he may no longer be the crown prince because his younger brother will now be the new Crown Prince sicne he is the husband of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia’s daughter.
Even within the ruling family they are fighting to maintain their own survival – brothers are fighting for the crown prince role…
Press TV: The Americans and the Brits are the Bahrain regime’s biggest supporters. How likely is it that their own interests will be threatened or pressure within mounts to the point where they will be forced to turn against the Bahrain monarchy?
Ali al-Ahmad: They will turn. A large section of the US State Department and in the White House are viewing the Bahraini monarchy as a dictatorship that should not be there any longer and that it should be transformed to a Republic or true constitutional monarchy.
A lot of people are going to be put on trial. This whole process is going to take some time, but it is better for the British government to be ahead of the curve instead of behind it. The people of Bahrain will ultimately win this battle and the policy makers in Washington are slowly coming to realize that. They are still denying reality, but reality is going to sink in very soon and they will have to deal with the new page in Bahrain.
A new government in Bahrain will be much more beneficial for US policy in the region because they will have not only an ally that’s democratic, but democracy will spread there and they will be able to save a lot of the money they are presently committed to spending and in maintaining military bases around the Gulf.
So this would save the American people a lot of money and the US a lot of headache. The image of the US will be better in the region if they support the people because it is the people who will eventually rule.