By Joanne Bladd
US State Department issues fresh travel warning, media reports say Asian workers targeted in attacks
The United States has urged Americans to avoid Bahrain
warning that foreigners may become the target of harassment as protests
continue to simmer in the Gulf kingdom.
“We urge US citizens to defer travel to Bahrain at this
time. US citizens currently in Bahrain should consider departing,” the State
Department said in a travel warning issued Tuesday.
“Spontaneous demonstrations and violence can be expected
throughout the country… Even peaceful [protests] quickly become unruly and a
foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse.”
The kingdom is the base for the US Fifth Fleet, and central
to its military power in the Gulf.
Bahrain last week declared
martial law after weeks of protests led by the Shi’ite Muslim majority calling
for political reform.
The ferocity of the crackdown, which banned protests and
called in forces from Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia and the UAE, left at least
Media reports have said elements of the anti-government
protest groups have targeted foreign workers in the kingdom, particularly Asian
According to Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society, more than
40 Asian workers were attacked by protesters last week, three of whom remain
critically injured in hospital.
Many Pakistanis, as well as Sunni Arabs, have been
naturalised in Bahrain, infuriating the Shiite majority which believes that
many are given citizenship to tip the demographic balance favour of the Sunni
There are reportedly more than 50,000 Pakistanis in Bahrain.
Why this violence and hostility towards foreign workers by the gulf countries? Bahrain has hired foreign workers to meet their labor requirements and now they are back stabbing them. How can they be so disloyal after making use of the services of foreign workers?