The POMED Wire

Members of Congress Send Letter to Bahrain’s King

Malinowski

Photo Credit: Radio Free Asia

Eighteen Members of Congress have signed a bipartisan letter to King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain to express “concern and disappointment” with his government’s recent decision to expel Tom Malinowski, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor from Bahrain.

He was expelled in the first use of “a troubling decree… barring members of opposition parties from meeting with officials of foreign governments absent pre-approval from the government and without a representative of the Foreign Ministry present.” The letter requests that Malinowski be allowed to return in order to “resume his visit intended to strengthen bilateral ties and support your reform and reconciliation efforts.”

The members of congress called the decision “particularly disturbing” in the context of “the close diplomatic and military relationship that [the Bahraini and U.S.] governments have enjoyed for decades.” They warn potential repercussions of the decision include undermining “public confidence in the government’s diplomatic efforts,” damaging “Bahrain’s image in the international community,” and compromising ”any efforts toward reconciliation and the success of the National Dialogue.”

The letter was led by Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA)  and Keith Ellison (D-MN) and cosigned by Representatives Jim Moran (D-VA), Jim

Iranian Activists Hopeful for a Nuclear Resolution

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Credit: ICHR

A study published by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran found that leading Iranian civil society figures “support the nuclear negotiations and hope for a successful deal,” arguing that “an end to the confrontation over the nuclear issue will allow the focus to return to the state of human rights at the global stage.” The publication begins by acknowledging that President Rouhani has focused his attention during his time in office on “rehabilitating Iran’s foreign relations and ending its international isolation” primarily through nuclear negotiations. However, it is the duty of the international community to link Iran’s goals of global reintegration to substantive improvements in its human rights record, in light of the fact that latter remains a top concern in the agendas of the “voices from Iran” this study gives a platform to.

Support from Iranian civil society for nuclear negotiations comes from all parts of the country, in particular those who are, or once were political prisoners. Although participants disagreed on the long-term effect of a nuclear resolution on human rights in Iran, those interviewed by the ICHR unanimously agreed that human rights need urgent improvement, and nuclear negotiations may open up the …

POMED Notes: Egypt Caucus Inaugural Press Conference

Egypt caucus

 

Photo Credit: Breitbart News

On Wednesday, July 16, a press conference was held at the House Triangle to announce the formation of a “Friends of Egypt” caucus in Congress. Attending and making brief statements at the press conference were co-chairs Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

For full notes continue reading or click here for the PDF.

Following a disruption from protesters, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) opened the press conference with brief remarks. She began by emphasizing Egypt’s role as a “strategic partner” and how it is a crucial time for the U.S. to better understand Egypt and its people. As the U.S. and Egypt have had a “history of engagement,” Sanchez believes it is vital to continue to support Egypt through its current transition.

Next, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) noted the importance of the caucus, stating, “We need it now more than ever.” Having met with President Sisi in the past, Bachmann highlighted the importance of continuing support to Sisi as he understands that the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization that it must be countered, and has done his part in …

Journalists Injured and Detained Amid Iraq Violence

Iraq press

Photo Credit: ICSSI

According to “news reports and local press freedom groups,” Iraq has seen a recent crackdown on journalists as at least two journalists have been injured and one detained while a newspaper office was also raided “amid heightened political uncertainty and violence.” The abuses come as Iraq attempts to form a new government and counter the threat posed by the Islamic State. Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists Sherif Mansour underlines that “times of crisis put journalists at greater risk, but it is exactly at these times that the work of journalists is crucial.”

Baghdad-based newspaper Al-Thaakhi‘s office was raided by “masked gunmen” who “threatened the staff with violence, confiscated equipment, cellphones, and account books, and took three cars belonging to the station.”  The following day the Iraqi Ministry of Interior announced a new committee tasked with investigating the raid noting “that protection of freedom of the press was an essential mission of the ministry.” Mansour added that CPJ urges “authorities in Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq to ensure that journalists can do their work freely and safely, without fear of legal or physical reprisal,” and calls on the …

‘Egypt Caucus’ Announcement Disrupted by Protesters

Video Credit: Jeremy Ritter-Wiseman

The inaugural press conference for the new “Egypt Caucus” was disrupted by a group of protesters demanding the end of U.S. aid to an Egyptian government that they criticized for being founded from a coup and for jailing journalists. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was about to commence the press conference when members of the activist organization CODEPINK jumped in front of the podium holding a banner that read “No U.S. $$$ for Egypt’s Coup.” A spokeswoman for the group declared that “this regime imprisons Al Jazeera journalists,” “is routinely torturing people,” and “has given death sentences to over a thousand people in sham trials.” Concurrently, protesters supporting the caucus shouted “Iran out” and “Brotherhood out.”

After the protesters were moved to the periphery of the conference by the police, Congressman Rohrabacher offered opening remarks expressing his support for an “elected government which is confronting violent extremists and [bringing] back the hope for democracy, stability, human rights and prosperity.” Al-Monitor reported that the caucus was formed just as senate appropriations voted to cut aid to Egypt by $400 million and the Obama administration put (and later released) a hold on a delivery of Apache helicopters.

Rohrabacher was …

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