On the sidelines of the the fourth Abdulrahman Al-Nuaimi Forum held in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, in the presence of Bahraini and Arab Figures, BJDM held a short interview with Wa’ad’s former Secretary-General Radhi Al-Mosawi about recent political developments in Bahrain.
BJDM: What are the consequences of the recent political developments (revoking Sheikh Isa Qassim’s citizenship, lengthening Sheikh Ali Salman’s sentence as well as the arbitral decisions issued against citizens) on the Bahrainis and the internal situation in the country?
Radhi Al-Mosawi: No doubt that these judicial, security and political measures that have been executed since the arrest of Sheikh Ali Salman on 26th December 2014 and the proceeding in the stripping of nationality policy reaching Sheikh Isa Qassim are a way to express the critical security situations witnessed by the country. We can say that they are accumulations from 2011, i.e. when the situation started to rapidly worsen, until the security section of the government became the most predominant. This creates an unstable political and security situation whilst on the other hand, the region is witnessing major repercussions in terms of sectarian, political and religious unrests. For example, there is a war launched against ISIS in Iraq; there is also war in Yemen and Syria. I think that one of the points that affects the situation in the country is the bad living and economic situation in the region’s countries after the oil prices decreased to the third. All of these conditions together form the wider image of the general situation in Bahrain under the title of “There is No Dialogue between Opposition and Government”. There is obstruction in the country and no initiatives from the government part to hold a dialogue.
BJDM: What are the chances of reaching a reconciliation between the government and opposition?
Radhi Al-Mosawi: If both parties clear their intentions then we might reach reconciliation; however, the current reality shows that obstructions will remain due to the large pressure caused by the cases in the region. We have tried as much as possible to keep Bahrain away from the repercussions experienced in the region, however, it seems that we have failed to do so. The situation in the region is rapidly deteriorating which affected us in Bahrain badly. I think that settlement possibilities do exist if all the political parties in Bahrain decide to sit together on a dialogue table. We can’t eliminate any party as we, in our country, are strong in our differences and interaction among each other. We also have great potential. We need to reach reconciliation that would guarantee us social and political stability, civil peace as well as a national unity that can confront any political interferences that would affect us.
BJDM: Do you expect another uprising in Bahrain similar to those that happened in 2011 and in the 90s?
Radhi Al-Mosawi: The 2011 uprising had its own givens and conditions. Among its conditions were the Arab Spring witnessed in the Arab countries, the closed horizon for the internal problems and the failure of the legislative authority in reflecting the people’s interests. There were overlapping in the authorities’ work which led to political congestion and the uprising, as a result.
Bahrainis haven’t stopped their political struggle since a century; they have kept on fighting for their legitimate rights in taking part in the current and future decisions.
I think we may experience an uprising, but it may be different than that of 2011, as the world have developed and social media can now reach everywhere. However, we have to reveal new facts in a way that would help us develop our political condition. The political process is brought to a halt now; the opposition is being harassed and the arbitrary measures taken by the government against the opposition would delay reaching the settlement we are waiting for.
BJMD: How would Donald Trump’s election affect Bahrain? Will the American administration change its stances towards Bahrain?
Radhi Al-Mosawi: The United States is a country of institutions and law. Besides, the political and economic decisions are taken by the think tanks that present their visions to the president. I think that Trump can have an influence on some topics, but after all, US is just like any other country that seeks its interests in the region. We, in Bahrain, can put a limit to Trump’s influences in any way. Trump says that others have to pay to US to protect them; the US didn’t build its bases in Bahrain to only protect the regimes there, but to protect its interests in the region. It is known that US’s main strategical relations are with Israel, thus, US sees the Arab countries as affiliated elements that it deals with according to its relations. We can mitigate the influence of Trump’s election through our internal unity and the fruitful dialogue.
BJDM: What do you think about the different UK stances?
Radhi Al-Mosawi: We witnessed three different stances within 24 hours while the UK PM, Theresa May, was visiting Bahrain. While May highlighted the return of the UK existence to the country through the bases that cost billions of dollars, we noticed that the UK ambassador to Tehran stressed on developing the relation between Europe and Iran and not only the US and encouraging on signing more deals.
Bahrain needs to strengthen its relations with other countries amid the tensions witnessed in the region. We need practical steps to cool down the security and political fields to reach a dialogue. We also need a strong national unity that can confront terrorism. Finally, I say that we need stable conditions in order to overcome the crisis.