In one of the first interviews he has given to the Western media in years, Bahraini Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa defends his government’s course of action against the country’s opposition. He tells SPIEGEL ONLINE that he will not tolerate Western interference and accuses protesters of seeking to turn Bahrain into a “second Iran.”
SPIEGEL ONLINE: In the meantime, the protests in your country are continuing. The opposition claims the government’s reforms do not go far enough and that you aren’t really interested in a dialogue.
Khalifa: First of all, this is a movement of people which, in the modern world, we call a “terrorist group.” This movement is supported by Iran and Hezbollah. What we are facing is exactly what the Americans are facing with terrorism.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: But a number of international human rights groups and Western countries claim that your security forces are continuing to abuse protesters and opponents of the government.
Khalifa: I do not think these accusations are legitimate. How do Western police deal with unlawful and violent protests? Are they just letting protesters there throw stones and Molotov cocktails? When it comes to national security, human rights aren’t the most important thing. Or did the Americans and their allies think about human rights when they marched into Iraq and Afghanistan?
The Pm likes to deflect a lot.