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  • Protestors Turn up the Heat in Bahrain

    When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Kingdom of Bahrain in December, she lauded the tiny Gulf island as “a model partner” and noted that she was “impressed by the commitment that the government has to the democratic path.” The 10,000 protestors currently camped out in Manama’s Pearl Square would beg to differ.

    On Monday, “The Revolution of 14th February in Bahrain” organized demonstrations throughout the capital city protesting the Sunni regime. Bahrain’s Shia majority are demanding an end to their marginalization, including better employment opportunities, education and housing as well as a new constitution and the release of political activists imprisoned last year.

    The protests were symbolic, as February 14 is the anniversary of the 2002 constitution, which instituted democratic reforms including an elected parliament. Despite Bahrain’s steps toward democracy, Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the king’s uncle, has been in office for 40 years and the majority of Parliamentarians are Sunni, despite the fact that 70 percent of Bahrain’s population is Shia.

    While the demands for democratic change toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt, not everyone in Bahrain shares the same fondness for democracy. The elite Sunni population could quickly see their position in society downgraded if the Shia majority gains more representation in government. This is an unsettling possibility not only for the current government but for one-third of Bahrain’s population.

    Even more cause for concern is the Shia community’s close ties with Iran. Bahrain is a key U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism and countering Iranian influence in the Middle East. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is also stationed there to monitor and defend the Straits of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s oil exports are transported. If the Shia opposition gains more influence in government, Bahrain’s relationship with the United States could be altered.

    The protests in Bahrain are not a new phenomenon. The Shia majority has frequently demonstrated its demands for a more equal governmental system, and yet Secretary Clinton failed to sufficiently acknowledge this in her last trip to the island. Clearly the Administration underestimated the will of the people and saw only the strategic advantage of having the Bahraini leadership as a strategic regional partner. With the momentum of recent revolutions behind the protestors, the monarchy will need to reconsider many of its current policies.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Protestors Turn up the Heat in Bahrain

    1. Redfray, Pea Ridge, says:

      All the roiting in the middle East is against nations that are United States friends. In fact, all of them recieve money from our tax base. Nevertheless, the governments running the middle East nations are very corupt and have terrible humanitarian reputation. According to the secretary of state, H. Clinton, these nations are helping us fight against terrorism. Yet, they are terrorist against there own people. We should get out of there business and stop giving them money. Come home and manage our own internal affairs. America has no room to tell other nations how to treat people when we can't handle our own humanitarian reputation.

    2. joecool Westbrook, m says:

      We are witnessing, in real time, what happens when an elected official (or an official appointed by an elected official) determines what to say or do by sticking a wet finger in the air to find out which way the wind is blowing. The consequences in this part of the world will eventually be devastating to us and our real allies. It's the political equivalent of high speed rail and "green" industry.

      As Tip O'Neil once should have said, "All politics is politics, and it's all about elections and power."

    3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Protestors Turn up the Heat in Bahrain | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    4. Tony, Texas says:

      What started in cairo has moved to Bahrain and started in Madison. The new "weapon" is the use of 24/7 protests large enough to shut down enough business and stay long enough to bring down governments. It worked initially in Cairo, now fully implemented in Bahrain, and gearing up for Madison.

      Bahrain is unique, a pearl, in the Middle East. It is almost "secular", offering far more personal freedoms than any other Islamic state. Bahrain has a relatively large tourist business and is the "quick getaway" destination for Easterners and Westerners alike. The Imams controlling the Shite majority, who themselves are loyal to Iran, given a chance will shut down the tourist attractions, force women back under the veil, take away their driving privileges, and end freedom of religion enjoyed there.

      This sound like a good thing?

    5. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Yeah! I find it suspicious too, how it just seems to be America's allies that are having upheavals and how our Community Organizer In Chief has spread the Progressive ACORN style organizing to our allies and not to our enemies. I sincerely think Obama is not a Loyal American and these kinds of things just confirm he operates exclusively in the Foreign Interest. The new strikes in Egypt confirm to me that this is not a democracy movement, rather a political take over that intends to remove Egypt and Bahrain from America's shrinking list of friends.

      The Community Organizers sent into Egypt and elsewhere do not know what American Representative Democracy is! This one man one vote, let the Islamic Brotherhood form a political party, this is perfidy. Now that America is utterly dependant on foreign oil (thanks to Progressive Demo-crats) we will suffer one of those oil crises that Obama loves to take advantage of. Economic collapse is what this Traitor wants, so that he can Fundamentally Transform America into a Communist Nation. Uh! Don't look now but we already are most of the way there!

      All this smokescreen about Egypt is covering up for the horrible fact that we have a Communist Dictator in the White House and he is creating unlawful, Unconstitutional Forms Of Government right here at home. Please, please, please defund Obama's Shadow Government. We will not have free and fair elections in 2012! I mean that! George Soros' Secretary Of State Project, the new ACORN (whoever they are now) and the continuing influence of genuine Communists in Congress will insure that we will never again have an election like 2010!

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