(ANSAmed) - DOHA, MAY 23 - The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
army - the Peninsula Shield Force - must leave Bahrain, said
Khalil Ebrahim Al-Marzooq, one of the leaders of the Bahraini
opposition group Al Wefaq.
''The GCC Army is being used against the population of
Bahrain and is seen as oppressive, not defensive,'' Al-Marzooq
said. ''Maintaining troops in the territory leads the Bahraini
population to believe that Gulf countries want to support local
regimes independently of how they treat citizens. Withdrawing
the troops from Bahrain will relieve tension,'' he added, saying
that the repression in Bahrain was harming the image of the
The Iranian influence denounced a number of times by the Al
Khalifa family in power in Bahrain is - according to the
opposition leader - simply an alibi to avoid bringing in reforms
demanded by the population. ''We have been asking for the same
democratic reforms for decades, and the king has always evoked
the spectre of an external enemy: first it was the Soviets, then
60 years ago the Egyptians and now the Iranians. However, in
reality there is only the Bahraini population, which is
demanding democratic reforms and greater participation,''
Al-Marzooq said. For this reason, according to him, Kuwait's
model of government could be a step forward.
More than 30 mosques have been destroyed, 4,400 people (about
3% of the overall workforce) have been laid off for political
reasons and the media continue to document violence.
Nonetheless, the Al Wefaq opposition leader believes that
reconciliation is possible between the rulers and the
population, as well as the constitution of a regime in which the
king is granted power but is also flanked by a Parliament with
legislative powers, a government answering to the parliament, an
independent judiciary and security forces made up not only of
those loyal to the king.
''The democratic transformation process is already underway
and will penetrate all Gulf countries,'' Al-Marzooq said.