[Important - General Strike Resolution Statement following story at bottom]
A three-month State of Emergency declared yesterday in Bahrain by the government of King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa saw state security forces remove all restraint in a ruthless campaign of carnage directed against the mass of the Bahraini people. Repressive forces of the isolated monarchy were emboldened by thousands of invading Saudi troops, tanks and helicopter gunships, joined swiftly by special forces of the emirates and feudal sheikdoms of the region.
The immediate target was the huge popular demonstrations in the financial district, in Pearl Square and in the villages and interior of Bahrain against an isolated, autocratic and corrupt monarchy.
A precipitating factor in the reckless invasion by the Saudi monarchy and its acolytes was the dramatic emergence of the Bahraini working class as a focal point of resistance through the declaration of an unlimited General Strike by the General Federation of Workers Trade Unions of Bahrain.
Not only were Bahrain’s two largest companies, Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA) and Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) shut down, but the leadership of the GFWTU reached out to trade union federations across the Middle East and the world, posing the necessity of a regional general strike.
Bahrain’s workers received immediate backing from the AFL-CIO, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the ITUC in Brussels. Support is pending from the Confederation of Arab Trade Unions.
The reckless brutality of the onslaught against the Bahraini people betrays unmistakable panic in the counsels of the discredited Bahraini ruling family but no less so within an increasingly precarious Saudi regime and among Gulf Emirates so dependent upon U.S. regional power headquartered in Bahrain.
Mass demonstrations by civilian protesters of recent days of 50,000, 60,000 and 100,000 were met by open gunfire, the widespread use of nerve gas and chemical agents that have been confirmed by doctors and medical specialists.
The pivotal role of hospitals doctors, surgeons and ambulance crews who have, in the course of the popular uprising, devoted themselves to saving lives and treating an ever growing stream of gravely wounded prompted a barbarous response from governmental and occupation soldiers.
Bahraini armed forces and Saudi troops took over the major hospitals. Senior medical personnel were targeted specifically. At Salminiya Hospital and at Sitra hospital, medical staff were taken at gunpoint and held on the second floor. Emergency staff, doctors and surgeons were seized. Many were removed from the hospital at gunpoint, their fate unknown.
The invasion of Bahrain with thousands of Saudi and GCC troops followed hard upon U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates parachuting into Bahrain on Friday night for emergency meetings with King Hamad on Saturday.
Gates expressed concern that unless the protests were wound down swiftly, the future of the regime was in doubt. Warning that “the Iranians” would seek to profit from the crisis, Gates told the U.S. military organ Stars and Stripes “time is not our friend.”
Gates urged the King to take “far reaching steps.” To the media, Gates spun this summons as praise of the King and Crown Prince Salman for being “serious about reform and moving forward.”
By Sunday, Saudi forces were mobilized and by Monday, they were joined by troops from the GCC in its entirety as the invasion was on.
Washington has been spinning hypocritical pleas “for restraint,” for weeks, eyes rolled to Heaven, followed in each instance by unleashing of deadly force against the mass popular protests by U.S. client regimes from Bahrain, Oman and Yemen to Saudi Arabia.
The clearest evidence that the invasion had a green light from Washington is that Gates met Sir Peter Ricketts, head of the NSA for the United Kingdom, just prior to his meeting with King Hamad and, upon leaving the King, headed for a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron.