A Beggar Regime: What’s Expected of the $10 Billion Gulf Aid?

2018-10-20 - 6:34 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Bahraini regime's plan went well as it managed to get $10 billion dollars in Gulf support. The Saudi crown prince says that this support is sufficient to cover the "regime's deficit" over the next five years, during which it will have to reform its internal situation. We, as Bahrainis, wish this, but we do not trust that the regime will behave well.

We call it the "regime's deficit" rather than "state budget deficit" since the regime is the one that led the country to this level of deficit, and turned Bahrain into a "beggar" country that seeks, through humiliation, the sympathy of the richest Gulf countries so they would provide it with financial assistance at the beginning of every month, thus making it fully compliant to their political positions. On the other hand, Bahrainis pay the price of this deficit and tampering with state funds from their pockets and from their daily sources of income.

The Bahraini regime uses its old narratives which paint Bahrain as a target of Iran, Hezbollah and Qatar in order to cover up the reality of its abuse of state funds, and to steer attention from its scandalous corruption and manipulation of the state's resources and properties, from looted plots of land worth about 15 billion dinars, to bribes, thefts, financial corruption and wastage of public money by spending it on campaigns to whitewash the regime's notorious reputation worldwide. This; therefore, makes the regime directly responsible for the situation in Bahrain. The Bahraini regime is resorting to taking advantage of old court cases "to expose cells" that seem to be never ending. It is its golden ticket to make Gulf states feel uneasy and thus provide material support for the Kingdom. This also makes its "begging" less subjected to blame by other neighboring countries.

This very small and resource-limited country does not benefit from the revenues of oil and aluminum resources, since the main share of it goes to the defense budget, which is controlled by the King and his family members, the King in his capacity as the supreme commander of the armed forces, and his family members who enjoy royal immunity against accountability and investigation. All military and intelligence activities are exempted from accountability in the Parliament, including their abuse of power, secret transactions, bribes and donations. The deals of the military and security agencies are not subjected to general financial measures, and the defense strategy that should govern spending decisions is not accessible to people. The money taken from the state's funds into their pockets and banks are not subjected to accountability as well.

This was confirmed by Transparency International's first annual report since 2013, concerning corruption in the defense sector. The report ranked Bahrain the penultimate in the category of "very high corruption," stressing that the Al Khalifa family dominates political life and decision-making in Bahrain, adding that the lack of control and regulations is increasing the risk of political corruption. The report also showed that senior officials in the military and security institutions hold positions in private companies.

The situation deteriorated after 2013, when this report was released, and the signs of exhaustion of the state budget started to appear, which became a direct burden on the people's shoulders.  Austerity was declared regarding everything related to people, without this affecting the ruling family's pockets or those linked to it. People paid that price for this deficit and exhaustion of resources, subsidies on meat were lifted first and then gasoline followed by the selected tax reaching to the VAT.

Nothing has changed in the state budget, except what affects the distressed citizens who continue to suffer more deprivation and alienation. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of corruption continue to store their barrels with state funds, depositing them in banks worldwide. Despite the scandals disclosed by the Financial Audit Office annually that are rampant in all state structures, from theft of public funds to tampering of state resources. The state; however, takes no measures against such acts of corruption or attempts to recover state finances, simply because the corrupters are men protected by the regime.

Yes, the beggar regime has succeeded in gaining $10 billion dollars of Gulf support, but will these billions be used to reform the country's current situation within five years as planned, or will they reach the pockets of the ruling family, its followers and loyal servants as usual, with crumbs distributed here and there?


Arabic Version



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