Pro-Democracy Protestors in Bahrain Blame U.S. for Supporting Dictatorship
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain with President Obama (photo: Getty Images)
Demonstrators in Bahrain have a new villain in their protracted struggle to gain democratic freedoms: the United States.
Instead of exclusively blaming the dictatorial regime of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, protestors have called upon Washington to “stop arming the killers,” namely the security forces controlled by the government.
Since the internal strife began last year, American officials have publicly called for democratic reforms. But behind the scenes, they have continued to sell weapons to Bahrain’s military. Among the main contractors who profit from the weapons sales to the King of Bahrain are AM General in South Bend, Indiana, and Raytheon Missile Systems Corporation in Tucson, Arizona.
Bolstered by this aid and the presence of more than a thousand troops from Saudi Arabia, Bahrainian leaders have been able to keep a lid on any uprising. They also have stopped negotiating with pro-democracy groups, while 21 prominent dissidents remain imprisoned.
Yousif al-Muhafdah, an activist at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, told The New York Times that the Obama administration does not care about the plight of the demonstrators. In addition to being a loyal OPEC ally, Bahrain’s ruling family has allowed the United States Fifth Fleet to be based in their country, providing the U.S. Navy with an optimal location in the strategically-vital Persian Gulf region.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
As Hopes for Reform Fade in Bahrain, Protesters Turn Anger on United States (by Kareem Fahim, New York Times)
Bahrain: Police Attack Peaceful Protest (Human Rights Watch)
Why is Obama Selling Weapons to the King of Bahrain While He’s Attacking Pro-Democracy Protestors? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
U.S. Military vs. Human Rights in Bahrain (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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