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Cablegate: Violence Condemned; Restraint Prevails Following

VZCZCXRO0799
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0253 1081415
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171415Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7797
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000253

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/17/2018
TAGS: PGOV ASEC BA
SUBJECT: VIOLENCE CONDEMNED; RESTRAINT PREVAILS FOLLOWING
POLICEMAN'S DEATH

REF: MANAMA 236

Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: Cooler heads have generally prevailed in the aftermath of the April 9 killing of a police officer, with security forces moving to effectively lock down the village of Karzakan immediately following the incident. The police have arrested 14 people believed to be connected to the attack, and all major political societies have condemned the killing and expressed support for the security forces. The Minister of Interior called on the cabinet to address the root causes of the street violence. End summary.

2. (U) Security forces moved in to effectively lock down the village of Karzakan immediately following the April 9 killing of a police officer by a gang of violent youth (reftel). Fourteen people have been arrested in connection with the incident. According to the press, the suspects are being held incommunicado to prevent leaks until the police are confident that they have identified and arrested everyone involved. The Ministry of Interior issued a statement April 14 categorically denying any foreign involvement. (Note: Earlier a policeman had told a reporter that he believed the attackers had received training in the use of Molotovs from abroad. End note.)

3. (U) All major political societies, including the largest Shi'a party, Al-Wifaq, issued strong statements condemning the killing and supporting the security forces. Other than the arrests, there has been no security crackdown. The Prime Minister has called for greater monitoring of websites and other media that promote sectarian strife.

4. (C) In an April 14 meeting with the Ambassador, Minister of Interior Sheikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa said that during an April 13th cabinet meeting, he identified two problems. The first one, he said, is of limited scope: "I can find and arrest those responsible for this attack." He admonished the Cabinet that there was a larger problem that could not be solved by law enforcement alone. "It's your job, not mine," he told his ministerial colleagues, "to solve the sectarian divisions in our society that produce this kind of violence."

5. (C) Comment. The government response has been measured but effective. The Minister of Interior's remarks to the cabinet were noteworthy. He, himself, is a member of the ruling family, yet he characterized the issue as a social, rather than a law enforcement, problem. In that respect, he has exposed the heart of the matter. Until the government moves decisively to address core Shi'a grievances relating to housing, unemployment, and naturalization of Sunnis, the discontent that drives the street violence will likely continue to simmer. End Comment. ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** ERELI

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