Neither the governments in Manama or Washington confirmed the assertion
of Al Mahoud, regarded as a supporter of King Hamad. The Fifth Fleet has
been deployed in Bahrain for more than 40 years and represents the hub of
U.S. Navy operations in the Gulf.
"If the Bahraini regime is weak and unable to stop U.S. pressure, then
it has to admit it," Al Mahoud said in a sermon on July 8.
The cleric said the National Unity Assembly was preparing to demonstrate
in front of the U.S. embassy in Manama to protest Washington's pressure on
Bahrain. Al Mahmoud has been one of several leading royalists to oppose what
they termed U.S. pressure on the Gulf Cooperation Council state.
In July, the Bahraini regime was said to have warned a journalist from
the Al Watan daily to stop writing against the United States. NUA expressed
concern over what it said was U.S. pressure to muzzle the journalist,
identified as Yusef Al Bin Khalil. The U.S. embassy has denied any
"The United States has a long and distinguished history of defending the
rights of individuals around the world to express their opinions, even when
those opinions are critical of the United States or its policies," the U.S.