Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Barack's Busy Right Now...

The Bahrain Foreign Minister, Khalid Al-Khalifa responds to foreign journalists (twitvid.com):

I [Toula Vlahou, CBS] had a very bad experience yesterday which is contrary to what I've experienced in Bahrain. I've been here a month.

Where? Where is it?

I was in a village outside my hotel in [inaudible]. I was fired upon by the riot police along with a colleague who happens to be Bahraini. He was terrified.

It's a very delicate situation.

Sir, I was in the car. I didn't do anything. They didn't ask me to stop.

They just fired on you?

We came up... yes!

It could be a... it's a very sensitive...

No, they fired. They were riot police. They had helmets and guns and tear gas, and because of the tear gas we decided to leave.

You should report that to a police station.

We did.

OK, then you did the right thing.

But why would they fire on a car?

(Moving away) I don't know. It's an incident that should be investigated.

(2nd journalist) There seem to be an awful lot that should be investigated...

(Bridling) You're not telling me there's a clear order for them to fire at any car? That's not true.

Apparently, they thought there was.

(Agitated) No, no, no, no. They're police. They're not high officers giving those directives...

[Inaudible]... riot police because they searched the car, they slashed the tyres, they smashed the windows. We found it that way. I did not see them...

(Moving away) Wait for your police report.

(3rd journalist) Look, how long can this continue? Basically, you're waging war.

No, we're not waging war. We're restoring law and order. Any suggestion that we are waging a war on anyone, especially our own people, is wrong and unacceptable.

You've cleared the roundabout. In Shia villages there have been clashes. I mean, how do you resume talks with any oppostion, how do you resume national dialogue?

There'll be a dialogue when their leaders come and resume talks. We've seen situations similar to that in the 90s and we came out of it and we know we're going to come out of it.

There are staffers at the hospital saying that they've been in Salmaniyeh for 3 or 4 days. They're not allowed out.

Which hospital?

Salmaniya. And when they leave they're beaten and sent back in.

I'm just hearing it from you.

I've spoken to 3 doctors... [indistinct]...

Nobody knows how many people have been beaten before they came to the hospital.

Nurses and doctors were not beaten. They're terrified and won't leave.

Have you seen the bruises? Have you seen the deaths of police?

I've seen a lot more dead protesters.

No, no, no. This is, this is...

Meanwhile, back on the ranch... John Kerry (D-MA), when asked why Libya was getting the treatment, but not Bahrain, "insisted that Iran and Hezbollah were secretly to blame for the protests" there, and, and, and, chipped in Admiral Michael Mullen, anyways, "Bahrain has been a critical ally for decades," but Libya hasn't, so there! (US struggles to explain difference between Bahrain, Libya, Jason Ditz, news.antiwar.com, 20/3/11)

And Barack, what's he got to say about this? Well, nothing really, because right now he's got weightier matters on his mind: "President Barack Obama marked the Persian New Year, Nowruz, by reaching out to Iranian youth, saying the future of their country is in their hands and that he supports them. 'The future of Iran belongs to the young people - the youth who will determine their own destiny', Obama said on Sunday in a video posted on the White House web site. 'Your talent, your hopes and your choices will shape the future of Iran, and help light the world. And though times may be dark, I want you to know that I am with you', Obama said." (Obama sends message of solidarity to Iran's youth, Reuters, nytimes.com, 20/3/11)

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