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US think tank 'linked to Bahrain unrest'

Manama, June 15, 2013

An American think-tank has been accused of training political activists to encourage unrest in Bahrain.

The website Albahrainnews.com has published a document which reveals the alleged support given by the NDI to radical opposition members in Bahrain, before the February 2011 unrest, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

NDI allegedly mobilised around 159 Bahrainis to "oversee the 2010 elections" in Bahrain and provided more than BD100,000 ($265,252) - an average allowance of BD332 for each observer per day - in addition to other expenses including "jackets, meals and media support".

At least 11 of them were later arrested in connection with terrorist acts in the kingdom, said the report.

The NDI also reportedly mobilised more than 70 teachers to supervise the elections, although they were not specialised in this field.

Most of these teachers later took part in the strike called by the dissolved Teachers Association.

There have also been claims that NDI mobilised "three times" the required number of election observers, since the kingdom has only 40 constituency polling centres and seven general polling stations.

Among the names featured in the document are Zainab Ibrahim Isa Al Dirazi and Zainab Hassan, who died of a chronic disease with radical groups describing her as a "martyr" later.

The document - signed by NDI's accounts manager Sally Showeikh - dates back to October 30, 2010 and reveals the names of the opposition members and their telephone numbers.

Bahrain and the UAE had shut down NDI offices for their suspicious activities in both countries.

The GDN had earlier published a New York Times report that claimed that the US administration had poured millions of dollars into financing leading personalities in Bahrain and the Middle East, who launched campaigns of destabilisation and mobilised protesters via social media.

The newspaper said the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, and activists such as Yemeni Entisar Qadhi have all received training and financing under the guise of promoting grassroots democracy in Arab countries.

It has reportedly come from groups such as the International Republican Institute (IRI), NDI and Freedom House, a non-profit human rights organisation based in Washington and other think-tanks known for playing a dubious role in engineering the wave of unrest and destabilising regimes.

These details were confirmed by interviews with leading personalities and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.

The newspaper singled out the April 6 Youth Movement and Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and other grassroots activists who came under the media spotlight and were turned into stars by the Western media, including Entisar, trumpeted in her home country as a youth leader.

These groups and individuals were later directly involved in the unrest which swept the region.

"The US democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organising through new media tools and monitoring elections," said the New York Times.

IRI and NDI are offshoots of the Republican and Democratic parties.

They were established by the US Congress and are systematically funded through the National Endowment for Democracy, a think-tank founded in 1983 to channel money allocated to promote democracy in developing nations.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | unrest | US think tank |

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