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Bahrain deputies call for expulsion of U.S. military

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

ABU DHABI Bahraini parliamentarians are calling on the kingdom to expel the U.S. military amid three straight days of violent anti-American protests.

The deputies demanded that King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa sever ties with the United States as well as other countries that are participating in the war against Iraq. Parliament is dominated by the Islamic movement.

On late Monday, an explosion was reported outside Fifth Fleet headquarters, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said anti-U.S. protesters detonated a propane gas tank outside the naval base. Nobody was injured.

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"Our Arab leaderships have been considering these countries as friends for years and now they are being repaid for their blind trust and unlimited support," parliamentarian Abdul Nabi Nasser said in a session of the National Assembly.

The United States maintains the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Manama. Last year, Bahrain was designated as a major non-NATO ally.

Last week, King Hamad received a telephone call from U.S. President George Bush. The official Bahraini new agency said the two men discussed the Iraqi war as well as bilateral relations.

Parliamentarians also called for a boycott of the United States. The proposal included the ban of U.S. journalists from parliamentary sessions. Some of the deputies called on the kingdom to withdraw Bahraini forces from Kuwait. Nearly 1,000 Bahraini troops as well as a warship are participating in a Gulf Cooperation Council military mission to protect Kuwait from Iraq.

"They are turning brothers into foes," Mohammed Khalid Mohammed, vice chairman of parliament's Services Commitee, said. "It's not acceptable for Muslims to kill each other except in self-defense."

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