Arrested Development: Stonewalling al Wefaq in Bahrain
On 16 June 2015, Ali Salman, leader of Bahrain’s al Wefaq bloc, was sentenced to four years in prison for inciting violence and encouraging an attempted coup d’état during the 2011 uprising. The verdict brought the Arab Spring in Bahrain to an end; a fact reflected in the muted response on Bahrain’s streets. Yet, many in the international press were swift to pour scorn on Bahrain’s government while glossing over the years of political unrest and the projection of Iranian interests though Ali Salman and the party he represents. This brief analysis traces al Wefaq and reveals similarities between the bloc and the gangs of Ayatollah Khomeini’s men at the cusp of the 1979 revolution, between the fiery rhetoric of the Shia clergy in both countries and, most importantly, between the lofty goals they share in relation to establishing and maintaining a theocratic state. Ayatollah Khomeini dreamed of the Islamic Republic of Iran just as Ali Salman and his spiritual leader, Isa Qassim, dream of the birth of the Islamic Republic of Bahrain.
So what is al Wefaq and what does it want?
History of the Bloc
In November 2001 members of the Islamic Da’awa Party of Bahrain founded the Islamic al Wefaq bloc as a strategic decision by Ayatollah Isa Qassim who recognised that a new avenue to consolidate power in Bahrain had opened up with the National Action Charter, which had significantly reformed the Kingdom and provided increased political freedom for all its citizens.1 Profiting on new-found political freedoms, al Wefaq initially sold themselves as a moderate Shia bloc that sought to redress issues facing Bahrain’s Shia community. Bahrain’s government responded positively and al Wefaq ‘was pampered by the government by receiving more and more political power – for fear of domination of extremists and the spread of violence again on the streets.’2
This was – as seen since 2011 – only a ploy. Al Wefaq was ‘pretending to be moderate and prudent.’3 Since its goals were, explicitly, linked to those of Da’awa (re: valayat-el-Faqih) and the Da’awa’s goals were based on overthrowing the al Khalifa government, it stands to reason that al Wefaq’s ambitions are the same, whether attempting to do so through the deployment of violence or politics. This is not novel. Much of Khomeini’s success in late-1970’s Iran is reducible to two deceptive political manoeuvres: khode and takiya. Khode means ‘to trick someone into misjudging his position’ while takiya is a form of psychological warfare based on dis- and misinformation.4
Ali Salman used the fanfare generated by Tunisia’s and Egypt’s political revolutions to attempt to capturing power and enacted a plan that was well prepared.5 Consider Salman’s firebrand speeches in February 2011 at the GCC Roundabout; he was stoking the crowds with inflammatory speeches, from his ready-made podium, under the ‘banner that read: “Until the Fall of the Government.”’6 This was a hefty goal for a political organisation without experience in governance or a realistic set of goals that could be used to initiate national dialogue. Al Wefaq is an organisation without a clear plan; another similarity with revolutionary Iran and the leadership of Khomeini who always deferred to the sentence that ‘Islam is the answer.’ For Ali Salman it is not Islam that has the answers, but Iran.
Ali Salman may have fashioned himself as a political leader but the revolution he is trying to organise is neither popular nor politically oriented—it is religious-by-nature and has identified geopolitical goals that would empower the Islamic Republic in the region for the purpose of instituting an Iranian-styled theocracy. In that case, Ali Salman and Qassim would become the main authorities of a Bahrain that would be nothing more than an Iranian vassal.
While al Wefaq has not been able to assume any real power in Bahrain, it uses lofty rhetoric across savvy platforms to capture the imaginations of its constituents, promising them religiously sanctified lives, pure Islam (according to their interpretations) and Shia empowerment. And these goals have been used to rally people to their cause even though they have based their entire careers working for the establishment of an Iranian-styled theocratic system. It is therefore hardly surprising that despite the multitude of claims issued by the bloc, there is not a single page devoted to the policy formulation, preferences and objectives of al Wefaq. It remains an elusive bloc with a clandestine inner core and more silent paramilitary forces ready to achieve in violence what cannot be won in politics.
That is why al Wefaq had groomed, and later deployed, a paramilitary group (the Youth of 14 February (Y14F)—one of the main pillars of indictable offences that Ali Salman stood trial for. The Y14F closely resembles the asymmetric forces (notably the Basij) developed under Ayatollah Khomeini in his rise to power in Iran. To be sure, Hezbollah and Sacred Defence Bahrain are also effective asymmetric forces, with highly trained operatives and advanced command and communications systems which, when compared to Y14F seem professional and capable. However, the latter is a reflection of a paramilitary group connected to a political society which is attempting to assume power through similar techniques as the Ayatollah in Iran did.
Precursors to an Islamic Revolution in Bahrain? al Wefaq and Iran
In practical terms, Iran’s Islamic Republic has essentially transformed from a religious dictatorship to an arbitrary dictatorship, a pseudo-fascist state that uses coercion and torture as its main political currency. It is likely that al Wefaq would use similar methods of governance if it were to install itself as the political power in Bahrain. Such a similar disposition is not a matter of guesswork; it is an assumption based on the reflection of how al Wefaq positions itself in the country and the manner in which it mimics the Islamic revolution in its own policies.
There are, essentially, four points that could be usefully presented and compared to reveal the depths of mimicry of Bahrain’s attempted revolution when compared to Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Firstly, the unfolding revolution in Bahrain is, in fact, a cover for an intended coup d’état. Secondly, the leaders responsible for the political side of the attempted revolution, Ali Salman and Isa Qassim (from al Wefaq), adhere to the velayat-e-faqih principles of the Islamic Republic and support the development of national institutions based on guardianship principles with them as Rahbar (leaders). Thirdly, there has been a clear politicisation of rights – especially human rights – as a means of legitimising al Wefaq (like revolutionary Iran before it) and generating international support for its cause. Finally, the practical side to the revolution entails false consensus building and the development of paramilitary structures (which were constructed previously but remained as sleepers) that target non-religious allies as soon as the spoils of success need to be split.
Power by Coup d’état
Ayatollah Khomeini rose to power on the backs of two coups d’état; the first against the Shah and the second against his nationalist and secularist coalition partners, which prodded ‘members of the Green Movement for Freedom to [refer to] the Iranian regime as the “coup d’état government.”’7 It is interesting to delve into what is implied with such an approach to political power assumption and then apply the example to the case of Bahrain; the political and paramilitary groups that attack Bahrain’s government and civil society in a bid to sow the seeds of national chaos and crisis and then move to take over the state. In short, it is becoming clear that members of the al Wefaq bloc seek a general breakdown in public order – brought about by their paramilitary partners – and were readying themselves to come to power by coup.
With so many in the international community already very sceptical as to Iranian regional intentions, it is surprising that so few connect the situation in Bahrain as a microcosm – albeit late – of what happened in Iran more than three decades ago. Indeed, the Green Movement’s depiction of the Iranian regime as a ‘coup d’état government’8 should be applied to its allies among the Shia communities throughout Arabia and Asia. In other words, if Ayatollah Khomeini managed to come to power on the tides of revolution, a revolution that was, and continues to be spread beyond his death, and has prioritised revolutionary proliferation among the Shia, does it not stand to reason that each group affiliated to Iran – no matter the rhetoric they invoke – are fundamentally committed to follow in the Ayatollah’s footsteps and also come to power via coup d’état?
Qassim and Ali Salman certainly agree with the zeal of the Iranian revolutionary system and the transformative power it unleashed throughout Shia communities around the world. Indeed, reviewing some of the more potent statements that have been uttered by Qassim and Ali Salman provides important clues to the way they see revolution and coups d’état.9 These two men are intent on a revolution in Bahrain but it will not be a democratic revolution in the full sense of the term; Qassim and Ali Salman seek to invigorate the Shia community at the expense of Bahrain’s civil society, to come to power via Shia revolution enframed as a democratic revolution to keep the international community polarised and then declare a theocratic state based on the principles of the Islamic revolution in Iran. In other words, Qassim and Ali Salman plotted a coup d’état misnamed democratic revolution, a claim supported by the characteristics of their approaches to political life in Bahrain. Consider, for instance, their leadership style when compared to Iran’s, especially in the period immediately preceding the Iranian revolution.
The Leadership Pyramid
Among the most obvious characteristics of the Islamic Republic is its deliberate, but effective, misnomer; its manipulative use of the word “republic” in the name of the country. This is done to espouse the image of a state in which citizenship has political meaning, enhancing civil society and defending the rights and responsibilities of individuals are the sole priority of the country’s leadership. However, the reality of Iran reveals it to be the exact opposite of a republic; it is a religious dictatorship whose leaders came to power as part of a wide coalition and then used infiltration, violence and suppression to ravage former coalition partners (notably the secularists and nationalists) and assumed control of national institutions. A quick look at the political conditions facing post-revolutionary Iran will help set the tone for understanding the manner in which al Wefaq approach political life in Bahrain; as a reflection of what Qassim was taught in Iran and what Qassim has taught Ali Salman.
In contrast to the values of republics, Iran’s system is based on the marriage between the spiritual leader (the Grand Ayatollah), a council of his disciples (the Guardians Council) and national institutions. Murat Tezcür accurately notes that in Iran
<cite>Ultimate power is concentrated in the hands of a single individual, the supreme leader, who is not popularly elected, practically has life tenure, and controls a loyal security apparatus with a mission to repress internal dissent. Citizens who want to run in the elections for parliament and presidency need their political credentials to be approved by an institution (the Guardians Council) whose members are not popularly accountable. The same institution can also strike down any parliamentary legislation or presidential bill on the grounds that it violates the constitution or Islam […]</cite>10
With more than decade of unchallenged political leadership of al Wefaq, with not a single internal election, grand council, or party gathering, it is clear that Ali Salman’s tenure is life-long. Together with Isa Qassim – who fashions himself as a spiritual leader, but who is, in fact an Ayatollah – they are the Rahbars of the Shia community, whether that community wants them or not. In this way, Ali Salman and Qassim already assumed a form of direct control and suppression; they formed a political bloc which they are determined to use to wrestle power away from the current national leadership of Bahrain and force adherents from an otherwise apolitical (wider) Shia community in Bahrain.
If the al Wefaq bloc manages to wield political power nationally in Bahrain, it would most certainly do so according to the same principles as the Islamic Republic. This hypothesis is verifiable based on three lines of examination:
Firstly, whether or not one agrees with the message being delivered by Ali Salman and Isa Qassim, it is clear that they were not hoisted to the top of the Shia political spectrum in Bahrain via elections or as part of a consensus-building project to get the entire Shia community to speak with one voice as to community interests. Instead, their assumed leadership – besides the fact that they are not representative leaders – is a reflection of their standing in the larger Shia pyramid based on the Twelver ideological tenet of valayat-el-faqih and their self-recognition (and Iran’s recognition) as Rahbars. Much like the legitimacy of the Ayatollah system dominant in the Islamic Republic, Ali Salman and Qassim are only legitimate because the Iranian Ayatollahs granted them legitimacy. This is deeply problematic since they do not reflect the interests of Bahrain but rather of Iran and the latter’s revolution should act as a stark reminder of what may result from dubious legitimacy, for the sake of regime change, in the hands of illiberal individuals. This has raised significant suspicions in Bahrain since Rahbars demand adherence under the Shia rules of marja’iyya (religious leadership) which essentially maintains a pyramidal structure of Rahbars and Ayatollahs; a structure which insists on complete obedience by lower Ayatollahs to higher Ayatollahs. Such a system is counter-intuitive to democratisation and provides a snapshot of the form of political discourses which would follow any assumption of power by people – like Qassim and Ali Salman – who base their authority on foreign sources of law, jurisprudence and power.
The second point, as highlighted above, is based on the level of internal (intra-party) mobility within al Wafaq in that there is a decidedly lack of intra-party mobility. Qassim is the spiritual leader and will remain so until his death or incapacitation, Ali Salman is the political leader and will remain so until his death or incapacitation. This form of political organisation does not leave space for people to withdraw and change their political affinities; you are aligned for life and those that do leave – as many did in response to al Wefaq’s 2014 elections boycott – aare ostracised. This may work – though dysfunctionally – for opposition movements but could never be superimposed onto an actual political system without establishing a dictatorship. The lack of internal party politics suggests what would lie on the horizon if al Wefaq gained more power. It is not a reform minded party—it is deeply conservative and would not yield to a single demand for greater transparency and competitiveness since it has already prevented such values from determining its present character.
Finally, Ali Salman and Qassim, as Rahbars, have already demonstrated that they are comfortable with the use of violence in pursuance of their political and religious ambitions. Such violence is not only directed at the Bahraini state, the Sunni community, police or the majority expatriate community; it is also focused on those members of the Shia community that disagree with their style of governance and their ideological persuasion. There have been, for instance, numerous cases of arson, physical violence and even murder directed against those that refuse to participate in some of the episodes of disorder in the Shia villages. Of course neither Ali Salman or Qassim directly use force; it is left up to their adherents. Just as there have been specific units constructed for the collection of intelligence, building explosives, leading riots and ambushes, so too has there been the construction of crack teams of fighters that intimidate and abuse internal dissenters – men and women, girls and boys – for the sake of showing unity to the outside world. Perhaps this is why the international community has regurgitated the false argument that Bahrain is split into two communities, a Shia and a Sunni, and not the multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and multi-faith society that actually exists a society being held hostage by false images of human rights being promoted by agents of theocracy.
The Politicisation of Human Rights
The use of the language of universal human rights by al Wefaq and their international agents is propaganda intended to dupe the local, regional and international communities into believing that al Wefaq is genuinely interested in the proliferation of individual rights and freedoms and only represents people in their quest for democracy. This contrasts with the reality of a bloc more interested in promoting a sectarian agenda and constructing a theocratic state in Bahrain in which peoples fundamental human rights are systematically abused.
Again, this line of argumentation has been tried and tested – successfully – in the past; in the lead-up to and execution of the Islamic revolution in Iran. Consider Osanloo’s exposure of the politicisation of rights during Iran’s revolution:
What ultimately became the Islamic Republic was the result of a compromise whose effects continue today. Among those effects was the politicisation of “rights talk.” In March of 1979, activists by the tens of thousands flooded urban centres to protest the suspension of a Shah-era law, the Family Protection Law, which had given women some rights in marriage dissolution and child custody, and the issuance of directives, including mandatory veiling, which did happen, and revocation of suffrage, which did not. The protestors, who held up signs favouring “equality” and “women’s rights,” were dubbed Western puppets and attacked. The attacks showed the early fissures within the popular struggle to remove a monarch.11
There were however, other rights which were accepted by the Ayatollah as means of legitimating the Islamic revolution within and beyond revolutionary Iran. Women, for instance, are considered ‘autonomous subjects’12 under Iran’s legal system and they retain a wide variety of “rights” that provide a useful democratic sheath for an authoritarian regime. Speaking the language of democracy, Iran has been able to project a more democratic image for a primarily Western audience that shows a sophisticated bargain of individual freedoms and religious authority. However, scratch the surface and it becomes clear that such legal precepts are based on the levels of adherence of women to the roles allotted to them under the religious authority of the Ayatollah. In other word – for instance – woman are ‘autonomous subject […] as long as they were properly attired in hejab […]13
And in Bahrain? A simple glance at one of al Wefaq’s famous demonstrations, its internal configuration, a listening to the Friday sermons of Qassim and the political dialogue it maintains for its listeners as opposed to the dialogue it uses for others reveals the same patterns as in Iran. Bahrain’s opposition figures have adopted the language of human rights in order to reach the Western audience and gain attention for an otherwise irrelevant struggle since the Shia community in Bahrain is not discriminated against as a community. For nearly a decade, members of the Shia establishment – notably Qassim, which do not favour extending even basic rights to women or the expatriate community in Bahrain – have spoken in two languages, one aimed at their own constituents and the second aimed at the international community. In the first case, the language adopted by Qassim and Ali Salman – and their many supporters – smacks of total religious subservience in the spirit of valayat-e-Faqih where the “guardians” of the community make decisions and such decisions are final. Take the rejection of Bahrain’s new family law as an example. It was rejected for the Shia community because Qassim deemed it to give too much personal autonomy to women over their own bodies and decisions (such as divorce).
Simultaneously, other members of the al Wefaq bloc such as the al Khawaja family and Nabeel Rajab, have learned to speak in the language of human rights to great effect in the West with major international bodies now calling for the release of Rajab from prison and providing Maryam al Khawaja an audience at the United Nations. In both cases (and many more) the international community has been duped by its own goodwill and the mainstream discourses related to universal human rights. Neither the al Khawaja family nor Rajab are truly human rights defenders; they seek Iranian intervention in Bahrain and politicise human rights as a means of legitimising such an intervention. At the same time, many human rights organisations around the world have accepted, at face value, the claims of al Wefaq and its supporters instead of adequately researching claims of abuse. This is a deeply troubling development in the latest round of political violence to hit Bahrain since it risks fully alienating the country from its Western allies and the international community more broadly based on selective information, half-truths and manipulation. It would be wrong to suggest the Bahrain’s human rights record is flawless; it is not. However, it should not be judged by a different standard than other states.
For instance, in the lead-up to the 2013 G8 meeting in London, more than 400 people were pre-emptively arrested for their plan to disrupt the talks.14 Such pre-emption certainly goes against the standard forms of policing but was deemed acceptable since the costs of not pre-empting would be higher (it was thought) in terms of public safety. Neither the political opposition in the UK, nor the EU or any other major international actor condemned such policing tactics. If Bahrain were to do the same, based on the same logic, it would face an avalanche of criticism and have many around the country and the world mobilised against Bahrain’s security precautions. This imbalance is due to the manner in which Bahrain’s opposition has managed to manipulate human rights discourses and penetrate major human rights organisations, likely with the financial and political assistance of Iran.15
Al Wefaq, Qassim and Ali Salman are using human rights in order to achieve their ultimate objectives which are tantamount to regime change and the establishment of a theocratic state in the image of revolutionary Iran. So, not only does the bloc maintain close relations to Iran and is (largely) based on the same personalities and principles, but it has also politicised human rights in a bid to dupe the international community for the purpose of achieving such ambitions. In other words, al Wefaq is nothing more than the organ best placed to replicate the Iranian revolution in Bahrain.
From Consensus to Tyranny
Most disturbing however is al Wefaq’s mimicry of the Islamic Republic’s consensus building strategy which, essentially, is based on speaking a language which other political groups can relate to and support, using that support to appear to represent a major percentage of the country – for the sake of domestic and international legitimacy – but to retain violent designs on allies to be deployed following the collective success.
In Iran, consensus was needed between ‘(d)isparate factions, including nationalist and secularists’ who sought a multi-party, power-sharing arrangement with more religious groups including the ulema.16 The Ayatollah may have been the centre point in the anti-Shah coalition, but he – and his loyalists – were not the only source of power or the only group capable of mobilising segments of society against the Shah. Through the use of khode and takiya (noted above) Khomeini and his selected council – which included Qassim and current Iranian president Hassan Rowhani – secularists, unionists, nationalists and communists were duped into overthrowing the Shah; on the promise of a multi-party system.
Now enter the al Wefaq party with Qassim and Ali Salman at its helm. They are attempting to mobilise different segments of society against al Khalifa governance and they are using the false promise of compromise; they are also deploying the tactics of khode and takiya. Until now, these attempts have come to naught since the majority of Bahrainis see through them and the wide majority of people from both main sects – Sunni and Shia – as well as the different political and religious denominations in the country. However, the process is on-going and the manipulation of the national dialogue reveals the extent to which al Wefaq is willing to go to show Bahrainis that they intend to establish a consensus. This would not become a reality however. Qassim and Ali Salman intend to follow the footsteps of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and if they ever establish a consensus between the various segments of society against the current leadership of the country, it would be used to undermine the existing political process and multi-ethnic and open state of affairs and replace it with a theocracy.
Any understanding of al Wefaq’s behaviour needs to recall these points since, much like the bloc’s Iranian parent, they are the likely outcomes of the empowerment of a political society that has prioritised regime change as its main raison d’être.
But, at the time of this writing, al Wefaq has had its wings clipped by three fundamental changes to the political landscape in Bahrain:
- al Wefaq’s boycott of the November 2014 Parliamentary Elections was seen by the majority of its constituents as a betrayal since elections and power enhancements (for Parliamentarians) was one of the main goals of al Wefaq’s programme after 2011. A number of al Wefaq representatives left the bloc – in protest at the boycott – and ran (and remain) as independents.
- The arrest, trial and sentencing of Ali Salman for crimes committed during the violence at the GCC roundabout further revealed his political impotency—a point reflected in the mild reaction to his incarceration from within his former strongholds. Simply, Ali Salman is no longer regarded as the spokesperson of al Wefaq and certainly not of the Shia community more generally. The trial showed diligence and the transparency needed to assuage fears of political motivations driving Ali Salman’s sentencing. Ultimately, Ali Salman has been relegated to a footnote in Bahrain’s current political landscape.
- ISIS’s anti-Shia campaign in the Gulf region is increasing a shared threat perception among all Bahrainis. This has meant that those attempting to polarise Bahraini society via allegations of sectarianism are increasingly ostracised as the nation stands in unity against prevailing challenges. This has transformed into effective community police efforts that have brought members of the Shia communities to work closely with regular police units in order to keep the peace and ensure that Bahrain remains safe and secure. There is also much optimism that this initiative will be extended to other areas on the continuing quest to strengthen the country’s civil society—which will also deny Iran (Bahrain’s enduring rival) the entry points it has relied on to sow the seeds of disharmony in Bahrain.
Eventually, the true nature of Ali Salman, and his al Wefaq bloc, will be exposed in glaring clarity. And on that day, the man and movement will have to answer some very uncomfortable questions; questions that tie him to Iran and cast him as the spoiler of Bahrain’s political life for the sake of establishing the Islamic Republic of Bahrain. So, Bahrain is a better place without Ali Salman on the revolutionary prowl.<hr />
- Much of the subsequent text first appeared in: Mitchell Belfer (2014), Small State: Dangerous Region: A Strategic Assessment of Bahrain, Peter Lang Publishers, Frankfurt, Germany.
- Raed al Jowder (2011), ‘Al Wefaq: Its Birth and Origins,’ Bahrain Views, 09 September 2011.
- Ronen Bergman (2011), The Secret War with Iran, One World Publishers: Oxford, p. 12.
- This assertion is based on discussions with a former member of al Wefaq who had suggested that Ali Salman was seeking to launch his bid for power in 2015 but ‘sped things up’ in order to profit from the turmoil in North Africa. The interviewee has asked to remain anonymous.
- > Raed al Jowder (2011), ‘Al Wefaq: Its Birth and Origins,’ Bahrain Views, 09 September 2011.
- > Arzoo Osanloo (2013), ‘Contesting Governance: Authority, Protest, and Rights Talk in Postrepublican Iran,’ in Steven Heydemann and Reinoud Leenders (2013), Middle East Authoritarianism: Governance, Contestation and Regime Resilience in Syria and Iran, Stanford UP, p. 127.
- > Ibid, p. 127.
- > For examples of Isa Qassim’s firebrand views on revolution see: Isa Qassim (2012a), ‘Martyrs: Flashlight of the Revolution,’ Deraz, Bahrain, 28 February 2012. This speech is viewable at: <www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPastN9UxCg> (accessed 19 May 2013). See also, Isa Qassim (2012b), ‘Friday Speech,’ Deraz, Bahrain, 12 October 2012. This speech is viewable at: <www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-fjdIKlsmU> (accessed 20 May 2013). For examples of Ali Salman’s approach to revolution in Bahrain see: Ali Salman (2012a), ‘The Gains of Bahrain’s Revolution,’ 13 April 2012, available at: <www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYMudneS65I> (accessed 20 May 2013) and Ali Salman (2013a), ‘Strike and Civil Disobedience,’ 21 January 2013, available at: <www.youtube.com/watch?v=D43fiovvSQE> (accessed 20 May 2013). See also: Jane Kinninmont (2012), ‘Bahrain: Beyond the Impasse,’ Chatham House, London: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, p. 12.
- Günes Murat Tezcür (2013), ‘Democratic Struggles and Authoritarian Responses in Iran in Comparative Perspective,’ in Heydemann and Leenders (2013), p. 200.
- Osanloo (2013), p. 136.
- Osanloo (2013), p. 135.
- Osanloo (2013), p. 135.
- See, for instance, Mike Sergeant (2013), ‘Riot Police Storm Soho G8 Protest Squat,’ BBC News, 11 June 2013, available at: <www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-22859168> (accessed 10 July 2013).
- Consider the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), an outlawed organisation that claims to be self-funded. On its homepage the BCHR writes that ‘Because the BCHR has been outlawed by the government, it is unable to solicit funds, open a bank account, or hire independent financial auditors. As a result, the Centre exists on a very meagre budget, funded mostly by the BCHR workers themselves.’ Given the extensive activities of the BCHR it is unlikely to have such a meagre budget or be self-financed. Also, it has only been outlawed in Bahrain, not in the UK or Denmark where its main personalities live. It therefore stands to reason that the BCHR is deliberately shrouding its funding. See: <http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/faq> (accessed 12 August 2013).
- Osanloo (2013), p. 130.