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Bahrain’s security crackdown 18, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Bahrain.
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Four opposition activists have been arrested in Bahrain and their whereabouts remains unknown.

Abd Al Jalil Al Singace was arrested on 13th August when he arrived back from London. Abdal Ghani Al Khanjar, Sheikh Said Al Nuri, and Sheikh Muhammad Habib Al Moqdad were arrested on 15th August after attending a conference in the UK’s House of Lords earlier on in the month during which they criticized Bahrain’s human rights record. Al Muqdad and Al Nouri are outspoken critics and Al Kanjar is the head of a human rights group that supports the victims of torture.

Whilst no official comment has been made, it is believed that they have been arrested for “inciting violence and terrorist acts.” Despite Bahraini law dictating that they ought to have been brought before the public prosecutor by now, this has, as yet, not happened.

Human Rights Watch reports that Al Singace is a lecturer at the University of Bahrain and a leader of the Shia-based Haq movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy that has advocated the boycott of elections and election officials.

Elections for Bahrain’s Parliament are due on the 23rd October. The majority of Bahrain’s population is Shia yet are largely disenfranchised. Recent years have seen the percentages of Shia and Sunni change starkly. Whilst the Shia used to be a clear, large majority (70%+) thanks to the co-option and immigration of Sunni tribes, they are down to a majority of, according to some reports, only 55-60%.

These measures have already fostered protests and more are surely on the way.

Pakistan floods satellite image comparison 18, August 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Central Asia.
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These pictures were taken on the 10th August 2009 and 11th of August. 2010. They show, better than anything I’ve seen yet, the veritable  explosion of the River Indus. Don’t forget that these are satellite images and the scale is enormous: these pictures show essentially all of Pakistan.

(NB. Just to be clear, the turquoise splodges are clouds)