More enemy fire from the White House:
"Bahrain hosts U.S. Fifth Fleet, but its leaders fear Obama is backing Iran" Special to WorldTribune.com, December 17, 2012 (hat tip the shadow)
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.”