Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Bahrain is not Syria

How poignant that the first anniversary of a true Arab pro-democracy movement in the Persian Gulf - then ruthlessly crushed - falls on February 14, when Valentine's Day is celebrated in the West. Talk about a doomed love affair.

And how does Washington honor this tragic love story? By resuming arms sales to the repressive Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty in power in Bahrain.

So just to recap; United States President Barack Obama told Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to "step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately" while King Hamad al-Khalifa gets new toys to crack down on his subversively pro-democratic subjects.

Is this a case of cognitive dissonance? Of course not; after all.

Syria is supported by Russia and China at the United Nations Security Council while Bahrain hosts the US's Fifth Fleet - the defender of the "free world" against those evil Iranians who want to shut down the Strait of Hormuz.

A year ago, the overwhelming population of Bahrain - most of them poor, neglected Shi'ites treated as third-class citizens, but also educated Sunnis - hit the streets to demand the ruling al-Khalifas allow a minimum of democracy.

Just like Tunisia and Egypt - and unlike Libya and Syria - the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain was indigenous, legitimate, non-violent and uncontaminated by Western or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) infiltration. Read More