Saudi Arabia fears democratic change in Bahrain: Activist

Press TV has interviewed Saeed Shehabi, Bahraini opposition leader in London, to discuss the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Bahrain.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.


Press TV: Bahrainis have been protesting against the Al Khalifah monarchy for more than five years now. Do you see any changes on the horizon for the Bahraini people?

Shehabi: Change will always come when the people want it. If any people decide to change their affairs, their welfare, then definitely that will change. It may take time but nobody usually, the natural law says that if you endeavor to change yourself and your situation, you will be successful at the end.

However, it may take long, it may take short time but at the end of the day people who demonstrate daily, who give sacrifices, who are determined about affecting and enforcing change in their country, if that change is within the human taste and the framework of democratic transformation then that change will happen and we have absolutely no doubt that this change will one day come to Bahrain. It may take some time but there is absolute certainty that with God’s help it will materialize in the not so far future.

Press TV: For how long do you think the Bahraini monarchy can continue this against the Bahraini people?

Shehabi: Look, trying to catch corners leads you to what you have today in Libya, in Syria, in those places, in Egypt. If you try to jump over the natural framework of things, then you end up having bad results. We are not in a hurry. What we want to achieve is total and real transformation from autocracy, from hereditary dictatorship into democratic practices. We want to realize the rights of the people, we want to end the Saud occupation, we want to see that the foreign intervention that is being exploited and used to support this dictatorship comes to an end and these are big aims.

Now whether we can do it or not, I think definitely the people with their determination and with their sacrifices – only last week one of our youths was killed by the police – with those sacrifices change will happen inshallah (God willing) of course with the will of God we always have this belief in God Mighty.

So that will happen with the help of the good and the freedom-loving people of the world and of course with the sacrifices of people and the help of God.

Press TV: But why is it so important for Saudi Arabia to suppress the Bahraini people in their quest for freedom in their own country?

Shehabi: The Saudis have suppressed the Egyptians, they have suppressed Syrians, they have suppressed the Libyans in their own way, in the way they want they have suppressed. Now they are suppressing the Yemenis in their own way either with war or with terrorism or with intervention or with military or economic means and in Bahrain they have suppressed them by the use of invasion.

Now why do they want, because they do not want the Arab world being transformed into a free world. It is under dictatorships for the past 50, 60 years since the colonial times and they know that if there is real, serious, democratic transformation in Yemen or in Bahrain or in Egypt then definitely Saudi Arabia will be next.

They do not want to end their reign. They know that they have put their hand on golden mines, mines of gold, this oil, and this is why they have billions and billions at their disposal and this is why corruption is at its peak in those countries especially in Saudi Arabia. They do not want to give up power. Dictators do not easily give up power. They do not want to submit to the will of people. This is the nature of dictatorships and despotism and this is what the people of Bahrain want to achieve.

So Saudis are naturally inclined to suppression, to repression, to dictatorship and that will continue unless there is determination within the Saudi society and within the Arab society at large to enforce change by depending on themselves not on outside powers.

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