The ‘Secret’ Revolution That Could Set the Middle East Aflame

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was unequivocal in her condemnation. “We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria,” she said in remarks earlier this year. “They have, from time to time, said that we shouldn’t worry; everything they’re shipping is unrelated to their actions internally. That’s patently untrue.” In the … Continue reading “The ‘Secret’ Revolution That Could Set the Middle East Aflame”

Bahrain? Never Heard of It

News that a civilian appeals court in Bahrain upheld the harsh prison terms —including several life sentences — of 13 “Arab Spring” activists last week, drew rapid fire from the human rights community. Their “crimes” — organizing largely peaceful protests to demand social and economic reforms from the ruling monarchy in 2011 — had branded … Continue reading “Bahrain? Never Heard of It”

Rights Activists Call on US to Revise Bahrain Policy

Human rights activists are calling on the administration of President Barack Obama to radically revise its policy toward Bahrain in light of the decision by an appeals court in the kingdom this week to confirm harsh prison sentences against 13 opposition activists. The court’s decision, which also confirmed the conviction of the 13 men by … Continue reading “Rights Activists Call on US to Revise Bahrain Policy”

US Arms Sale Sends Wrong Signal to Bahrain, Groups Say

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is sending the wrong signal to the government of Bahrain in proceeding with a partial sale of new arms to Manama, according to human rights activists and some lawmakers. Their reaction followed Friday’s announcement by the State Department that it had cleared a number of items for transfer … Continue reading “US Arms Sale Sends Wrong Signal to Bahrain, Groups Say”

Operation Lip Service

The popular uprising in Bahrain shows no signs of going away. The royal family tried crushing the revolt, importing shock troops from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. It tried jailing important figures in the opposition, such as human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who as of early May had been on hunger strike for 90 days. The … Continue reading “Operation Lip Service”

Touring Tyranny in Bahrain

On the long flight to the Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain on Feb. 10, I had been studying the Lonely Planet guide to the region in order to be able to explain at the airport, if needed, that I had come as a tourist. As it happened, while most passengers on our plane sailed through passport … Continue reading “Touring Tyranny in Bahrain”

The Bahrain Uprising in Numbers

  Population of Bahrain: 1.2 million Number of citizens: 535,000 Percentage of citizens who are Shia Muslim: 70 Percentage of those in government: 13 Number of senior positions they fill in the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, the National Guard, the Supreme Defense Council, and the Royal Court: 0 Percentage … Continue reading “The Bahrain Uprising in Numbers”

US Arms Bahrain While Decrying Russian Weapons in Syria

Peeved at Russia’s Security Council veto derailing a Western-sponsored resolution against Syria last week, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice implicitly accused the Russians of protecting the beleaguered government of President Bashar al-Assad primarily to safeguard their lucrative arms market in the Middle Eastern country. But around the same time, the United States was evaluating a $53 … Continue reading “US Arms Bahrain While Decrying Russian Weapons in Syria”

Congress Urged to Reject Bahrain Arms Sale

More than a dozen U.S. and international human rights and arms control groups are urging Congress to block a proposed 53-million-dollar arms sale to Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, until it ends its crackdown against the opposition and adopts serious reforms. In a letter sent to lawmakers Wednesday, the groups, which include Human Rights First … Continue reading “Congress Urged to Reject Bahrain Arms Sale”