Robert Fisk in Bahrain: ‘They didn’t run away. They faced the bullets head-on’

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Horrific Video Captures Bahrain Troops Gunning Down Peaceful Protesters In The Street

After Egypt’s revolution, the people have lost their fear

‘They didn’t run away. They faced the bullets head-on.’

“Massacre – it’s a massacre,” the doctors were shouting. Three dead. Four dead. One man was carried past me on a stretcher in the emergency room, blood spurting on to the floor from a massive bullet wound in his thigh.

A few feet away, six nurses were fighting for the life of a pale-faced, bearded man with blood oozing out of his chest. “I have to take him to theatre now,” a doctor screamed. “There is no time – he’s dying!”

Others were closer to death. One poor youth – 18, 19 years old, perhaps – had a terrible head wound, a bullet hole in the leg and a bloody mess on his chest. The doctor beside him turned to me weeping, tears splashing on to his blood-stained gown. “He has a fragmented bullet in his brain and I can’t get the bits out, and the bones on the left side of his head are completely smashed. His arteries are all broken. I just can’t help him.” Blood was cascading on to the floor. It was pitiful, outrageous, shameful. These were not armed men but mourners returning from a funeral, Shia Muslims of course, shot down by their own Bahraini army yesterday afternoon.

A medical orderly was returning with thousands of other men and women from the funeral at Daih of one of the demonstrators killed at Pearl Square in the early hours of Thursday.

Read moreRobert Fisk in Bahrain: ‘They didn’t run away. They faced the bullets head-on’

Bahrain: Four Killed As Riot Police Storm Pearl Square, Fire On Protest Camp

Bahrain: riot police fire on protest camp (Telegraph):

Riot police have stormed a protest camp in Bahrain’s capital, killing at least four people, as the government tried to quell three days of protest.

Hundreds of security forces used batons, rubber bullets and tear gas on demonstrators who had been camped out in Pearl Square calling for political reform.

In the clashes that followed, an estimated 100 people were injured.

After the police had cleared the square in the capital Manama, 50 tanks were deployed to patrol the city’s streets in a show of force by the authorities.

“Police are coming, they are shooting teargas at us,” one protestor said amid the chaos. Another said: “I am wounded, I am bleeding. They are killing us.”

Bahrain protests: Four killed as riot police storm Pearl Square (Guardian):

At least four people have been killed in an early-morning raid by security forces on Pearl Square, the focal point of anti-government demonstrations in Bahrain, sparking street battles with riot police.

Armoured trucks have been seen in central Manama and key roads are blocked by security forces. The crackdown follows a dramatic and violent turn in three days of protests calling for widespread reform within Bahrain’s ruling minority. Dozens of wounded protesters were being taken to hospitals across the city on Thursday morning.

Riot police stormed the rallying point for the demonstrations, a landmark known as Pearl roundabout, at around 3.15am, firing teargas and birdshot, and wielding clubs and knives, which they used to cut through tents set up by demonstrators.

“We were asleep and they started slicing through our tent,” said Nabeel Ebrahim, who was sleeping alongside two trauma surgeons from Salmaniya hospital. “They started firing gas from the overpass and attacking us from all directions.”

One of the doctors, Sadiq al-Ikri, is receiving treatment in the critical care unit of the hospital he works in. “He was handcuffed and then kicked repeatedly in the head, face and body,” one of his colleagues said. “We have nine other seriously wounded patients.”

In the nearby morgue, two protesters lay dead, their bodies covered by wounds from birdshot rounds. Their deaths take to four the number of demonstrators killed in the past four days and place intense pressure on a regime that has been struggling to contain the fallout from an uprising that is gaining momentum.

Read moreBahrain: Four Killed As Riot Police Storm Pearl Square, Fire On Protest Camp

Bahrain: Protesters Threaten Egypt-Style Permanent Demonstration

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Violent Clashes in Bahrain Before Planned Protest Rally

Bahrain’s King To Give 1,000 Dinars ($2,650) to Each Family Ahead of Planned Protests

Protesters in the key Gulf state of Bahrain last night threatened to keep up a permanent Egypt-style demonstration in the capital until demands for the government to be sacked were met.

As calls for democracy continued to spill across the Middle East from Tunisia and Egypt, the King of Bahrain was forced to make a rare implicit apology for the behaviour of his security forces.

Two young protesters have been killed by police in the last two days – the second yesterday outside the hospital where 10,000 people gathered as the body of the first was being taken away for his funeral.

“We extend our condolences to the parents of the dear sons who died yesterday and today,” King Hamad said in a broadcast address. He promised an investigation headed by the deputy prime minister and said democratic reforms would continue.

But his words failed to assuage the protesters, who gathered on Pearl Square, a vast traffic concourse in the capital, Manama, renaming it “Bahrain’s Tahrir Square” after the epicentre of protests in Egypt.

Mohammed al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Centre for Human Rights, said the demonstrators were demanding the replacement of the prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, an uncle of the king who has held the post for 40 years, with an elected politician.

They also wanted a new constitution, improved living conditions, and an end to human rights violations.

“The leaders of these protests are the youth – they are not connected to any political parties,” he said. “We will press on until the government makes concessions.”

Read moreBahrain: Protesters Threaten Egypt-Style Permanent Demonstration

Violent Clashes in Bahrain Before Planned Protest Rally

An unidentified Bahraini shows a wound Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, he says came when riot police opened fire on a demonstration in the village of Karzakan, Bahrain. Demonstrations began Sunday in several parts of Bahrain as opposition groups blanketed social media sites with calls to stage the first major anti-government protests in the Gulf since the uprising in Egypt. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali) (Hasan Jamali – AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bahrain’s security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets Monday at thousands of anti-government protesters heeding calls to unite in a major rally and bring the Arab reform wave to the Gulf for the first time.

The punishing tactics by authorities appeared to foil plans for a mass gathering in Bahrain’s capital Manama, but it underscored the sharply rising tensions in the tiny island kingdom – a strategic Western ally and home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

At least 25 people were treated for injuries, and one man died after being found on the street with severe head trauma, according to family members.

Read moreViolent Clashes in Bahrain Before Planned Protest Rally

Bahrain’s King To Give 1,000 Dinars ($2,650) to Each Family Ahead of Planned Protests

Latest appeasement (bribe) comes as activists call for protests to demand political, social and economic reforms.

Egypt Effect: Activists have called for protests to demand political, social and economic reforms [Reuters]

Ahead of protests planned to take place in Bahrain next week, the nation’s king has said he will give 1,000 dinars ($2,650) to each Bahraini family.

Friday’s announcement on state media came as the latest step that Sunni rulers have taken to appease the majority Shia public.

Activists have called for protests in Bahrain, starting from Monday, to demand political, social and economic reforms. The demonstrations will coincide with the tenth anniversary of Bahrain’s constitution.

Although most analysts do not see any immediate risk of revolt after popular uprisings toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, the small island nation is considered the most vulnerable to unrest among Gulf Arab countries.

Read moreBahrain’s King To Give 1,000 Dinars ($2,650) to Each Family Ahead of Planned Protests

Arab states agree on single currency modelled on the euro in latest threat to dollar hegemony

The Arab states of the Gulf region have agreed to launch a single currency modelled on the euro, hoping to blaze a trail towards a pan-Arab monetary union swelling to the ancient borders of the Ummayad Caliphate.

Traders at the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange

“The Gulf monetary union pact has come into effect,” said Kuwait’s finance minister, Mustafa al-Shamali, speaking at a Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait.

The move will give the hyper-rich club of oil exporters a petro-currency of their own, greatly increasing their influence in the global exchange and capital markets and potentially displacing the US dollar as the pricing currency for oil contracts. Between them they amount to regional superpower with a GDP of $1.2 trillion (£739bn), some 40pc of the world’s proven oil reserves, and financial clout equal to that of China.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar are to launch the first phase next year, creating a Gulf Monetary Council that will evolve quickly into a full-fledged central bank.

The Emirates are staying out for now – irked that the bank will be located in Riyadh at the insistence of Saudi King Abdullah rather than in Abu Dhabi. They are expected join later, along with Oman.

The Gulf states remain divided over the wisdom of anchoring their economies to the US dollar. The Gulf currency – dubbed “Gulfo” – is likely to track a global exchange basket and may ultimately float as a regional reserve currency in its own right. “The US dollar has failed. We need to delink,” said Nahed Taher, chief executive of Bahrain’s Gulf One Investment Bank.

The project is inspired by Europe’s monetary union, seen as a huge success in the Arab world. But there are concerns that the region is trying to run before it can walk.

Read moreArab states agree on single currency modelled on the euro in latest threat to dollar hegemony

United Arab Emirates exit leaves Gulf currency plan on brink of failure

Saudi Arabia dwarfs other states in the region and analysts say there is concern that a common currency would serve to concentrate power in Riyadh

A project to establish a common currency for the Gulf has been dealt a near-fatal blow with the decision by the United Arab Emirates to abandon monetary union after disagreement with Saudi Arabia over the location of a future central bank.

The loss of the Emirates to the currency project could accelerate decisions within some Gulf states to diverge from Saudi Arabia’s desire to maintain a currency peg with the dollar. This could lead eventually to the UAE, the Gulf’s most sophisticated economy, floating its dirham, analysts in the region said.

The UAE attributed its decision to quit the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) project to the choice of Saudi Arabia as host of the key monetary institution.

Evidence of mounting rivalry and distrust between the Gulf’s two biggest economies emerged two weeks ago, when a meeting of the GCC voted to locate the central bank in Riyadh. UAE officials expressed reservations about the decision. The choice of Riyadh would enhance the physical presence of Saudi Arabia within the GCC, as the organisation’s secretariat is already headquartered in the Saudi capital.

The UAE is the second state in the six-member GCC to pull out of the common currency, which was due to be launched next year. Oman had said already that it would not take part, but the loss of the Emirates, which has the greatest international trading links, makes it unlikely that the project will get off the ground.

Read moreUnited Arab Emirates exit leaves Gulf currency plan on brink of failure