Friday, May 6, 2011

Bunting: The endgames of our empire never quite finished – just look at Bahrain

"Second, this imperial endgame explains so much about today: for instance, the growing crisis in Bahrain, where new arrests over the weekend appear to herald a fresh bout of violent repression, and why we are not currently bombing this Gulf state with as much enthusiasm as we are Libya.
It has been one of the most successful chapters in British imperial domination; the Al Khalifa dynasty signed its first treaty with the British in 1820 and they finally "left" in 1971. The British have backed a repressive regime in a very cosy, mutually advantageous relationship of finance, military training, arms deals and royal ceremony (one of the less edifying aspects of the imperial endgame has been the use of the royal family to flatter and seduce client regimes, however unpalatable). In the last few months the Bahrain government has beaten, killed, tortured the Shia protest movement. On Saturday, the Guardian reported that Bahraini students who had protested against this repression in Britain now feared violent reprisals. The west has done little but mumble incoherently; too many interests are at stake to live up to the grand moral rhetoric now being lavished on Libya."

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