Mon Jun 6, 2011
Iraqi coast guards have blocked a convoy that was headed to crisis-hit Bahrain carrying humanitarian aid for the anti-regime protesters in the tiny Persian Gulf nation.
Iraq’s National Committee for the Support of People in Bahrain organized the dispatch of an aid convoy carrying food and medical aid, but the ship was denied permission to sail through to Bahrain, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Al-Mukhtar vessel, with 80 activists and medical staff aboard, was scheduled to leave the Iraqi port city of Basra on Sunday.
“We intend to send a ship with tens of Iraqi doctors with surgical capability and equipment so that they can quickly set up a field hospital to treat people in Bahrain that are being denied medical attention by the authorities,” said Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi politician.
The convoy aimed to show solidarity with physicians, nurses and paramedics that have been detained, suspended, and even tortured for treating individuals injured during popular anti-government demonstrations in Bahrain.
Activists believe that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have exerted extreme political pressure on Baghdad to stop this aid convoy from reaching Bahrain.
Thousands of anti-government protesters have been staging peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain since mid-February, demanding an end to the longtime despotic rule of the Al Khalifa family.
On March 14, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed troops to the Persian Gulf sheikhdom at Manama’s request to help crush the nationwide protests.
According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested and tortured so far during the brutal crackdown on protesters by Saudi and Bahraini forces.