Bahrain has recently received a delegation of Jordanian General Directorate of Gendarmerie to discuss security cooperation between the two Arab states.
The local news agency BNA on Saturday published an official statement that said the two sides “discussed joint training cooperation to enhance performance, stressing mutual resolve to bolster bilateral cooperation.”
BNA further stated that the delegation “met Jordanian cadets who are training at the Bahrain Royal Police Academy.”
“The delegation expressed its satisfaction and appreciation of the educational and training capacities available to the Jordanian students,” it added.
However, in light of Manama’s human rights record the visit appears dubious. Observers contend that the Jordanian delegation’s visit is meant to increase support for the Bahraini regime in its repression of the pro-democracy opposition.
Already, Bahraini authorities receive backing from the Saudi regime. Since the beginning of the uprising in 2011, Riyadh has been working to stifle popular protests against the oppressive monarchy. Knowing that protesters are demanding democracy, justice, and equality, the Saudis are keen on preventing the revolution from attaining its goals.
One reason Riyadh dreads the civil movement in neighbouring Bahrain is the would-be change in the country’s position on regional issues should fair representation of the public be finally achieved. The current regime has thus far supported the Saudis in controversies such as the war on Syria, branding Hezbollah a terrorist organization and severing ties with Iran.
Another Saudi concern is how a successful revolution in Bahrain would influence domestic discontent. With its own share of public restlessness over its oppressive policies, the Arab state will not risk leaving a Bahraini revolution to inspire another one on its soil.
In 2011, Saudi armoured vehicles rolled into Bahrain to help authorities crack down on protesters. Since then, Saudi-backed security forces have been infringing upon human rights and freedoms.
In a recently published annual report on human rights the US Department of State incriminated both monarchies over basic rights violations.
The summary of last year’s violations highlighted the following: “The most serious human rights problems included citizens’ limited ability to change their government peacefully; lack of due process in the legal system, including arrests without warrants or charges and lengthy pre-trial detentions, used especially in cases against opposition members and political or human rights activists; and restrictions on free expression and assembly.”
Notably, in addition to torture, the use of lethal weapons against protesters, and revoking citizenships, the Bahraini authorities could not have done all of this without Saudi assistance.
At present, it seems Manama is bidding for additional military support against the peaceful protesters. If Jordan enters the picture, there is a high chance that human rights abuses in the kingdom are going to mushroom instead of subsiding.
With both Riyadh and Amman providing support, the pro-democracy path will be further obstructed. This is not to say that protesters will give in. In fact, time has shown that the opposition has the will and resolve to continue its quest for justice no matter how many sides attempt to block the route to freedom.