Bahrain MPs Demand Treason Charges Against Opposition, Citing WikiLeaks

Already Accused of Iranian Ties, Shi'ite Party Now Accused of Being in 'Lap' of US

by Jason Ditz, May 29, 2011

Al-Asaiah, the hardline faction in the ruling Bahraini parliament bloc, has publicly denounced the opposition al-Wefaq Party as traitors, saying that WikiLeaks cables detailing meetings with US diplomats prove the group intended to betray the nation.

Al-Wefaq held the largest number of seats in Bahrain’s parliament, and was massively influential among the Shi’ite majority. When the pro-democracy rallies began, al-Wefaq was seen as a key party, and in the midst of violent crackdowns against the protesters all of the group’s MPs resigned in protest.

Members of Wefaq have faced arrest in the wake of the protests, and the government openly flirted with a public ban. Interestingly enough, at the time the justification was that the group, and indeed the whole “democracy” thing, were insidious exports from Iran.

Now, Asaiah seems to be hoping to play the anti-US card as well, accusing Wefaq of being “in the lap of the Americans.” It is an interesting strategy given US ambivalence about the Saudi-led invasion of Bahrain to help crush the pro-democracy rallies, but with officials looking for any excuse possible to move against the Shi’ite political faction more aggressively, it seems anything will be attempted.

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