Ongoing US-Supported Repression in Bahrain

John Glaser, August 31, 2011

One of the many unfortunate consequences of all the breaking news from the Obama administration’s war in Libya, is that many of the details that expose the contradictions of US empire get crowded out in the media. How many know, for example, that the Bahraini Arab Spring is still in full throttle with major protests almost every day? See this al Jazeera segment on a 14 year old boy just killed when Bahraini security forces shot him in the head with a tear gas canister:

According to the New York Times, the Bahraini government is denying its security forces were even involved in today’s crackdown in Sitra that resulted in this boy’s death. They are even offering “a reward of more than $26,000 for information about those responsible for his death.”

The dead boy’s uncle, Isa Hassan, who was also at Wednesday’s morning march, described a small group of protesters assembling after morning prayers and then being confronted by the police, who fired tear gas at them from roughly 20 feet away.

“They are supposed to lob the canisters of gas, not shoot them at people,” Mr. Hassan told The Associated Press. “Police used it as a weapon.”

Surprisingly, the Times even notes the following:

Activists say that because Bahraini government is a strategic ally of the United States — the Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based there — and of Saudi Arabia, the violent suppression of protests has not received the same attention from the international community as the brutal crackdowns in Syria and, before that, Libya.

Even without the extended time on the tube taken up by Libya and Syria coverage, Western media is reluctant to cover the crimes of US allies and clients. What is absurd is that strategic concerns about “regional stability” (read: suppressing democracy in subservience to US demands) and supposed Iranian influence passes as legitimate justifications for the ongoing US support for repression in Bahrain.