When the weather changes from Spring to Summer in the MENA region, you feel it. The sun and heat shift into a different gear and more often than not, the change comes on the wind with the dust and sand making snakes along the highways. Once that shift happens, there is no going back, Summer is locked-in for next 5-6 months. In recent years Summers have been the time of escape. Oil wealth in many countries allowed citizens to bug-out for the maximum vacation time allowed during this oppressive period.
Some towns in Libya, for example, were known to look like ghost towns during this time. In the UAE, it is the only time of year you can be assured of a smooth and easy commute to work. In many parts of the Middle-East, the heat can be so oppressive that you don’t even want to move around during most hours between sunset and sundown. This is especially true in the Gulf Region where it regularly pushes 45+ centigrade every day. Over the last few months, the world has witnessed the Winter of Arab discontent, and the Spring of Revolutions. However, another shift has begun: the Summer of Counter-Revolution is upon us.
The heat always kills optimism and the forces of counter-revolution and oppression have come to control the story. In Bahrain, the heat came early with an invasion by GCC forces (mainly Saudi), the destruction of Lulu (Pearl Roundabout), and a brutal clampdown by the Al Khalifa regime. Since then, Bahrain has seen the disappearance and arrests of hundreds of activists, the destruction of Shia mosques, the arrest and intimidation of doctors, torture, and other forms of state terror. The American government’s reaction in the face of the invasion and the brutal crackdown has been almost silence on these issues. However, they are not the only ones keeping silent. There has been an almost total media blackout orchestrated (no doubt) by Saudis and others.
When I was going the research for this article, there was a only a smattering of recent Western articles on what is going on in Bahrain. It is sad commentary when organizations like the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera are simply MIA when it comes to coverage. The only one who is covering it is Iran’s PressTV which has its own agenda.