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The failure of the Obama administration to swiftly condemn the bloody crackdown in Bahrain that has killed four and injured hundreds points to the ongoing hypocrisy that defines U.S. Middle East policy. When pushed, our government eventually supported the multitudes of demonstrators in Cairo, but not before assuring that the U.S.-backed military is there to manage Egypt’s “transition to democracy.”
Bahrain, the tiny island nation in the Persian Gulf that harbors the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, is a different story. There, demonstrators face a U.S. and Saudi backed monarchy that has just violently broken up a tent city that sought to emulate the actions in Cairo’s Tahrir square. The White House response has been to ask all sides to refrain from violence.
We must encourage the U.S. government stand for democracy and the people of Bahrain by condemning the violence inflicted by the Bahraini government and allow for peaceful protests. As Bahraini human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, told DemocracyNow! this morning:
[I]f Barack Obama could come out and speak about other countries like Egypt and Iran, so he could speak about Bahrain. Especially we have more dead people here than they had in Iran, that he should come out and speak and say to the Bahrain government, they should stop [this violence against the people]. Barack Obama and the United States are a very influential country here. … They are the people who could speak. But so far, unfortunately, we have not seen any positive statement made by the United States government.