Tag Archives: Bahrain

EU diplomacy sidelined Yemen conflict

At present there is a visible diplomatic apathy in the EU, regarding the protracted Yemen conflict, blaming on too many foreign actors, stirring the ongoing feud, which have already degraded into proxy war through involvement of multiple external players, supplying belligerent parties with weapons. However the revenues of arms exporters, namely the Europeans. are not the sole responsible for the warfare, continuously claiming lives of Yemenis, and escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The desire of the European Union to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, keeps out of focus numerous Tehran illicit activities, aggravating various conflicts, including civil war in Yemen, increasingly destabilizing the entire region. The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which damaged half the production, evoked accusations from the West, presuming the rockets were launched from Iran’s territory. Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement in the offensive, claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. However Iran responded reasoning the attack on Aramco oil plans as an act of “legitimate defense” of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Since regional tensions escalated following the attacks on Saudi’s oil facilities mid-September, the Yemen conflict was upgraded on diplomatic agenda. Especially in view of the protection of vessels in the Persian Gulf from Iranian attacks, as well as the prevention of the illicit arms trade and the protection of civil aviation.

Nowadays there is growing concern among foreign policy experts, pointing at intensified engagement between the Houthi leadership with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Hezbollah chiefs, conspiring operations to strengthening Iran position in the Strait of Hormuz, and weakening Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.

In the context of the escalations of tensions, on October 21-22 the diplomats have been gathering for a conference in Bahrain (Manama) to discuss the security issue in the Gulf. The even has been co-hosted by the U.S. and Poland, and is regarded as a part of Warsaw Process (Ministerial’s Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group). So far there have been little information about the EU diplomacy participation, and input of the representatives of the European External Actions Service – who claim to be highly sought after “global player”. The conference was attended on a diplomatic level by a delegation representative, the spokesperson confirmed, adding the EEAS position remains unchanged, based on the EU Council conclusions.

The EU continues to reaffirm that only a negotiated and inclusive political solution can end the conflict in Yemen.The EU has contributed with over €560 million in assistance since the beginning of the conflict.

What is defined nowadays by experts as a “proxy war” erupted in in 2014, when Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa. However, in reality it was a new chapter in a long saga of confrontation between the Iran-backed Shia movement and loyalist forces since 2004.

The United Nations Security Council reacted upon belligerent spell of Houthi with resolution 2201 “deploring” their “unilateral actions’ ” and calling for the immediate halt of hostilities. The message of the global community has repeated several times, condemning the violence, including after March 26, 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition that included the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco launched its first military operation.

The Yemeni Civil War is a protracted conflict (since 2015) between two factions: the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi led Yemeni government and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the official government of Yemen.

According to the UN report due to the protracted conflict, Yemen is the most affected country with in acute need for humanitarian aid for 24.1 million people, including children, who are prime victims of the bloodshed and hunger.

In September 18 drones and seven cruise missiles hit a major oil field and processing facility in Saudi Arabia, which blamed Iran for the attack.

Qatar defines boycott as illegal

Four Arab states declared a boycott on Qatar, and issued an ultimatum to Doha with a demand to shut down Al Jazeera television channel, curb ties with Iran, close a Turkish base and pay reparations.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have sent a 13-point list of demands openly aimed on tempering Qatar’s active foreign policy. Kuwait is helping mediate the dispute.

Doha was reviewing the list of demands and that a formal response would be made by the foreign ministry and delivered to Kuwait, but added that the demands were not reasonable or actionable, according to a Qatari government spokesman.

“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” Sheikh Saif al-Thani director of Qatar’s government communications office, said in issued statement.

Qatar in diplomatic isolation

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.

The coordinated move escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement, and adds accusations that Doha suppports the agenda of regional arch-rival Iran.

EU opposes Bahrain executions

bahrein-demo
“The EU reiterates its strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. This case is a serious drawback given that Bahrain had suspended executions for the past seven years, and concerns have been expressed about possible violations of the right to a fair process for the three convicted”, – says EEAS spokesperson statement of three executions in Bahrain carried out on Sunday 15/01/2017.

“The EU rejects violence as a political tool and fully supports the stability and development of the Kingdom of Bahrain, but believes this can only be achieved through a sustainable and inclusive national reconciliation process”.

According to human rights organisations monitoring the situation in Middle East, these executions terminated a six-years long pause, interpreted by some as path towards modernisation of the justice system. Sunday’s executions triggered unrest among Shiite population: the images of burning tyres, blocking roads leading to confrontation with police units; the photographs of devastated family members of the executed circulated in social media, which became the major source of information on the dramatic events in the country to compensate for absence of journalistic reports: the authorities banned correspondents from coverage the events individually.

According to available sources the demonstrations broke out as soon as word spread of the upcoming death penalties to be carried out in days after the verdict. The unrest deepened the tense relations between the Shiite majority, and Sunni minority, ruling the country last two centuries under Al-Khalifa dynasty.

All three convinced were found guilty for death of three policemen in for March 2014 bomb attack.

(Source: EEAS)