Instability in Bahrain has grown in recent years as the Sunni royal family has repressed rather than accommodated the desire of the majority Shia population for a role in the political life of the country, but the White House reaction is silence. Elliott Abrams tells the story in a new article in Foreign Policy.
The U.S. State Department released this statement on May 11, 2012. Most of the details about the original 1992 U.S.-Bahrain defense agreement are classified; according to a press conference after the statement, this renewal includes providing "additional items and services to the Bahrain Defense Force, the Coast Guard, and National Guard...for the purpose of helping Bahrain maintain its external defense capabilities."
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry presented this report in November 23, 2011, with final revisions made by December 10, 2011. The report investigates potential human rights abuses in Bahrain during the protests that took place in February 2011, part of the Arab Uprisings across the Middle East. In Bahrain, the report is known as the Bassiouni Commission, as it was led by Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, who investigated war crimes in Bosnia and Libya for the United Nations.
Though Bahrain's crown prince is in the United States to restore frayed relations, the government is pressing its campaign against the protest movement, despite its ending of martial law and a call for national dialogue, says Middle East correspondent Roy Gutman.
CFR Senior Fellow Steven Cook and Foundation for Defense Democracies Research Fellow Tony Badran discuss the increasing violence and political change sweeping the region with Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose. Cook and Badran have authored articles in the recently released eBook New Arab Revolt, published by CFR and Foreign Affairs.
The International Crisis Group examines the Bahrainian protests and their impact on regional and global politics. The report concludes that Bahrain’s crackdown and Saudi Arabia’s 14 March military intervention could turn a mass movement for democratic reform into an armed conflict while regionalising a genuinely internal political struggle.
The Saudi intervention to help quell a Shia-dominated uprising in neighboring Bahrain is misguided and the kingdom should instead focus on guiding the way to political modernization, writes CFR's Ray Takeyh.
F. Gregory Gause III interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman
Bahrain's security forces are loyal to the Sunni regime, which means the unrest isn't likely to lead to collapse, says expert F. Gregory Gause III. Still, the protests pose a dilemma for the United States, which has chided the government but views Bahrain as an ally.
This bilateral commercial treaty between the United States and Bahrain was signed into law on January 11, 2006 and implemented on August 1, 2006. The USTR states, "A U.S. - Bahrain Free Trade Agreement is an important step in implementing the President's economic reforms in the Middle East and pursuing the goal of a Middle East Free Trade Area. ...The United States is seeking to eliminate tariffs and other duties on trade between Bahrain and the United States on the broadest possible basis, improve intellectual property rights protection, and eliminate barriers in Bahrain's services markets."