One reason is that Bahrain is home to the American naval Fifth Fleet. That’s a strategic port of call in the Middle East. Iran considers Bahrain a breakaway island, and has been accused of inflaming the demonstrations in a bid to destabilize the island. Thus Bahrain and the US gets to thumb their noses and go, “Nanny nanny booboo,” to Iran. Geopolitics is always so great. The problem is that the US can only stand by and hope things break its way. As with Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and Yemen, a political shift away from American hegemony would be a huge pain for the White House.
The brutal crackdown of the pro-democracy movement has been in place ever since Bahrain’s King Al Khalifa declared a State of Emergency mid-March in response to the country’s pro-democracy protests. Arrests and torture have reduced the once large-scale demonstrations into scattered skirmishes. When you read from the AP and other sources schoolgirls are being tortured and that three people who edited an opposition newspaper will stand trial for “unethical” coverage of Shiite unrest against the Sunni elites, the prospect for a good ending for this story isn’t very likely. Oh yes, the Sunni-Shiite conflict is in full effect in Bahrain. Don’t hold your breath, because there is not going to be any White House condemnation over the crackdowns of revolutionary movements going on in yet another Muslim country. The US has already revealed where it stands between the people and the ruling class.
As of Monday, May 16, Al Jazeera has claimed that since no international press is allowed on the island, there no news of how the crackdown is progressing. But don’t single out America for its lack of response or criticism. No other nation is saying much of anything either.
And so it goes.
(Article first published as Why Doesn’t the U.S. Stop the Killing in Bahrain? on Technorati.)