Date: Thu, 8 May 1997
From: BFM <Bahrain@compuserve.com>
More than 30 Kuwaiti personalities forwarded an open letter to the speaker and members of the Kuwaiti parliament calling on them to intervene and put an end to the violations of human rights committed by the Kuwaiti state security department. The Kuwaiti dignitaries cited the case of the Bahraini citizens who were detained and harassed by the stated security department as a signal that the old mentality has not disappeared. It is worth noting that the Kuwaiti justice minister visited Bahrain on 5 May in relation to the case of the Bahraini citizens unlawfully detained in Kuwait.
Few days after the departure of the Amir for a private visit, the crown prince, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa moved swiftly to consolidate his position against his uncle, the prime minister. The crown prince issued three "Amiri Orders" on 5 May appointing three persons for filling senior positions in the "Ruling Family Council (RFC)" . Mohammed Hamad Abdulla Ibrahim Al-Khalifa was appointed as Director General of the RFC with the rank of a "minister," Hemood Khalifa Mohamed Abdulla Al-Khalifa was appointed as deputy to the Director General with the rank of "under-secretary"; and Abdulla Khalifa Salman Al-Khalifa as member. The RFC was established in the period between the Constituent Assembly and the National Assembly in 1973. The RFC's creation was aimed at unifying the ruling Al-Khlaifa family in the face of the newly established National Assembly and to prevent any move from some enlightened al-Khalifa members (one of whom became a member of the parliament) to integrate the Al-Khalifa family within the Bahraini society as normal citizens. The RFC maintains the balance between the various factions, distributes the monetary and land "free" allocations amongst the Al-Khalifa family, and represents any Al-Khalifa member in courts or in any dispute with citizens or residents of Bahrain.
On the other hand the crown prince received (on 5 May) the commander of the Special Operations of the Jordanian armed forces, Prince Abdulla bin Hussain. Last November, the Jordanian commander attended a tactical exercise conducted jointly with the Bahrain Defence Force that come under the crown prince. After that visit, the crown prince formed the "National Guard". The National Guard was formed for countering the powers of the prime minister who controls all the security forces. The crown prince also met with a French Defence Ministry official to negotiate the purchase of military equipment for the so-called "National Guard". Last February, the crown prince and foreign minister met with British Defence Ministry officials for a similar negotiation. The victory of the Labour Party in the UK was not well received by the Al-Khalifa family who will attempt to use the leverage of purchasing arms for political maneuvering.
On 7 May, the interior ministry summoned the heads of the assembly halls that were shut down by the security forces few weeks ago. The assembly halls were opened later in the day as the Al-Khalifa realized that they will lose more by these closures. The meeting with he heads of the matams (assembly halls) was conducted by Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, the undersecretary of the interior ministry.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
8 May 1997
Fax: (44) 171 278 9089