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Bahrain hosts U.S. Fifth Fleet, but its leaders fear Obama is backing Iran

Special to WorldTribune.com

WASHINGTON — Relations between Bahrain and the United States have
come under increasing strain amid the Shi’ite revolt in the Gulf Cooperation
Council kingdom, a report said.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said that Bahraini
leaders were expressing dismay over what they determined was Washington’s
failure to support Manama in the campaign against Shi’ites backed by Iran.
The institute cited veiled criticism of the administration of President
Barack Obama during the Manama Dialogue in early December.

Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa delivers a speech at the Manama Dialogue.

“The United States sees political reform as compatible with maintaining the historical security relationship, while the royal family views Shi’ite leaders with suspicion, believing they are too sympathetic to Iran and determined to change the political status quo,” the report said.

Titled “U.S. Differences with Bahrain Playing Out in Public,” author
Simon Henderson said U.S. diplomats were stunned by an address by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to the Manama Dialogue. Salman, long regarded by Washington as the leading lobbyist for reform, failed to mention the United States in the kingdom’s list of allies. Bahrain has hosted the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet for the last 40 years. Instead, the crown prince addressed unidentified countries that criticized Bahrain’s leadership.

“The exchange suggests that the gap in perceptions between Washington
and Manama is as wide as ever,” the report, dated Dec. 12, said.

The report was released amid increasing criticism of the United States
by Manama. Parliamentarians reported close
coordination between the U.S. embassy in Manama and the Shi’ite opposition.

Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner was the last senior U.S.
official to visit Manama. On Dec. 11, Posner urged Manama to prosecute
officials responsible for human rights violations during the Shi’ite revolt
in 2011.

“Going forward, two dangers threaten U.S.-Bahraini relations,” the
report said. “The first is that Iran will attempt to further weaken the
relationship; the second is that Washington has made seemingly little effort
to repair it. In December 2011, for example, only a single, junior U.S.
official attended the Bahrain National Day celebration in Washington.”

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1 Comment for “Bahrain hosts U.S. Fifth Fleet, but its leaders fear Obama is backing Iran”

  1. Obama made it clear in his campaign, and throughout his administration, that he wants to make the Muslim World happy. Since only the destruction of Israel would make the entire Muslim World happy, that is where the focus of attention has been. But, the fact is, there is no “Muslim World”; there are “Muslim Worlds”. There is a Sunni World, and a Shiite World, each of whom wants to rule the “Muslim World”, and each of whom have been killing the other for many years. Obama has straddled the divide. He has bowed to the Saudi King, and is providing Saudi Arabia with jet fighters, and he has supported the Muslim Brotherhood, and put them in position to be the dominant Muslim power, if Iran does not achieve nuclear weaponry. If Iran does achieve nuclear weaponry, and attacks Israel, the Shiite World will become the Muslim World, and Iran will become its undisputed leader.