March 10, 2011
Back on February 13, Bahrain vowed to use tougher anti-protest methods to prevent the people of the tiny kingdom from demanding government reform.
All substances currently being used in Bahrain to disperse what the state deems rioters are internationally approved, military courts director Major Humood Saad told parliament at the time. “He said that they were natural substances and that banning police from using them during riots, would mean that they would have to use more potentially lethal and stronger methods, such as rubber bullets,” Bahraini TV reported.
MP Dr Aziz Abul said that Bahraini law bans the country from using chemical warfare against enemies, “but allows police to use it against the people.”
Doctors confirmed the Bahraini state is in fact using “potentially lethal and stronger methods” in order to put down calls for a more representative government.
“Doctors from the scene of violent anti-government protests in Yemen’s capital said that what was thought to be tear gas fired by government forces on demonstrators may have been nerve gas, which is forbidden under international law,” reports theAustralian.
“The material in this gas makes people convulse for hours. It paralyses them. They couldn’t move at all. We tried to give them oxygen but it didn’t work,” said Amaar Nujaim, a field doctor who works for Islamic Relief.
Pathologist Mohammad Al-Sheikh said that some of the victims had lost muscular control and were forced to wear diapers.
Reports indicate victims of nerve gas apparently used by the monarchy on its citizens were not engaged in violence. “Military personnel opened fire on Tuesday night and used what was originally assumed to be tear gas to disperse a group of demonstrators who were trying to bring additional tents into the protest area outside Sanaa University,” the Australian continues.
Witnesses said soldiers fired warning shots into the air before shooting gas and live bullets at demonstrators, killing one and injuring at least 50.
The Shi’ite majority population has been protesting against al-Khalifa, the Sunni family that has ruled Bahrain for over 200 years.
Sectarian violence has erupted in the tiny kingdom between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
While the protests have primarily focused on demands for political reform and for better access to jobs, housing and education, demonstrators have also rallied against a controversialpolicy to extend citizenship to Sunnis from Syria, Jordan and other countries.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Saudi government had shipped dozens of tanks to Bahrain. Eyewitnesses reported seeing “15 tank carriers carrying two tanks each heading towards Bahrain” along the 25-km King Fahd causeway, which links the small island nation of Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, RIA Novosti reported on March 1.
It is not clear where Bahrain acquired nerve gas. Saudi Arabia, according to the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, does not have a chemical or biological weapons program. Bahrain is not tracked by the center.
Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet and 370 offshore banking units and representative offices.
This article was posted: Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 11:03 am