Kuwaitis Stage Protests and Bahrainis Pay Price: What’s behind Sudden Security Campaign and Arrests of Dozens?

2019-11-16 - 9:03 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): As thousands of Kuwaitis demonstrated at the Erada Square in the Kuwaiti Capital on Wednesday (November 6, 2019) demanding the overthrow of the government and parliament heads in a peaceful manner without any contact with security forces, the scene in Bahrain was quite the opposite. Security forces, including 20 masked people, Commandos and anti-riot forces carried out a massive preemptive security campaign, which has resulted in the arrest of dozens of people, including 20 so far. It also extended to a wide geographical area that extended to more than eleven areas: Al-Musala, Diraz, Nuwaidirat, Sitra, Sanabis, Al-Daih, Sanad, Abu Saiba, Shakhoura and Janusan.

The reason behind this security campaign has not yet been revealed at a time of relative calmness in the country with the absence of all opposition forces, as no official statement has been issued yet. However, it is not a coincidence that this comes with the movement in Kuwaiti and the ongoing demonstrations in Iraq and Lebanon.

Bahrain has not seen a recent and impressive call for similar demonstrations, particularly under the ban on marches and rallies since November 2012 and the iron security fist. In many similar cases, the authorities used precautionary measures.

During the 2019 Formula One season, the authorities launched a similar security campaign against many activists, including the closure of some vital streets and bridges "on false pretext of maintenance", as part of a frequent annual operation aimed at reminding citizens of the wall of fear in order to block the way in the face of any protests, which may be held during the race period.

In 2013, coinciding with a revolt movement (Tamarod) in Egypt, Bahrain's security authorities launched one of the largest security campaigns, which resulted in the arrest of hundreds of activists and imposition of more repressive and strict laws, such as citizenship revocation under the pretext of countering terrorism. It is not unlikely the three-day security campaign is a preemptive security tactic in anticipation of any similar movements.

The February 14, 2011 movement was inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian movements. Also, Bahrain's 2013 call for rebellion was inspired by the Egyptian Tamarod Movement.

The Kuwaiti movement, which raises the slogan "Bas Mskhet", which means that Kuwaitis have had enough of the widespread corruption, is clearly inspired by the two movements in the neighboring Republics of Iraq and Lebanon, which are raising similar slogans related to the ruling class corruption.

It seems that there is chemistry between Arab countries, especially when it comes to revolutions. This is at least what the first Arab spring revolutions (2011-2012) and the second spring of revolutions (2018-2019) revealed. In Kuwait, the authorities seem to have prepared for this with a new approach that has so far been characterized by wisdom and calmness. It granted permission to the demonstration's organizer, former MP Saleh Al-Mulla, to stage it at the designated location. Security forces were only present and protected the sit-in, the National Assembly and a number of other vital entities without having contact with the demonstrators.

On the other hand, it seems that the Bahraini authorities are still feeling terrified of the ghost of 2011. Their latest security campaign reveals a panic of having this scenario repeated. It is not surprising that the slogan of the Kuwaiti movement "Bas Mskhet" comes at the same tone of the Bahraini opposition movement "Wa'ad" slogan "Basna Fasad", meaning "enough corruption", which was launched years ago and led to the authorities' decision to ban it.

"Fighting corruption" is the master of slogans in the new wave of Arab protests. A system that has accumulated injustice and corruption for years, such as the Bahraini regime, has to experience tension and anxiety. The popular idiom "He that commits a fault thinks everyone speaks of it" explains the current Bahraini situation.

Arabic Version