News / Middle East

US Concerned Over Unrest in Bahrain

US Concerned Over Unrest in Bahraini
X
October 17, 2013 5:25 AM
The United States is increasingly concerned about unrest in Bahrain ahead of the trial of a leading opposition activist later this month. There has been little progress in a national dialogue that was agreed to following violent demonstrations in 2011. Considering Bahrain is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, it's a worrisome issue for Washington.
US Concerned Over Unrest in Bahrain
The United States is increasingly concerned about unrest in Bahrain ahead of the trial of a leading opposition activist later this month. There has been little progress in a national dialogue that was agreed to following violent demonstrations in 2011. Considering Bahrain is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, it's a worrisome issue for Washington.
 
Violence following the funeral of a Bahraini opposition activist is the latest setback to a national dialogue that was to have settled differences between the government and its opponents.
 
"We are disappointed by recent events that have happened on the ground and eroded the prospects of dialogue in Bahrain," said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
 
The Obama administration is aware of the detention and death of  31-year-old dissident Yousif Ali al-Nashmi, Psaki said. He was arrested in August on charges of taking part in illegal protests, although the Bahrain Center for Human Rights disputes that.
 
He died several days after his release this month following what human rights groups say was abuse in detention.
 
Last month, President Obama compared sectarian tensions in Bahrain to the violence in Iraq and Syria.
 
Bahrain is a majority Shi'ite country but is ruled by a Sunni royal family.  
 
However, the government of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa claims there is no comparing Bahrain with Syria and Iraq, where sectarian tensions have fueled violence.
 
A foreign ministry statement said "terrorist extremist groups" are targeting security forces and that Bahrain is responding "within the rule of law."
 
The opposition is demanding more jobs, more democracy, and the release of all political prisoners.

Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute feels Washington has missed an opportunity with Bahrain's Shi'ites, who make up 70 percent of the population but are not proportionately represented in politics.
 
"The U.S. has done very little on behalf of Shia in Bahrain, where the majority are struggling for some greater say in their government," said Bandow.
 
Psaki said the Obama administration is urging Bahrain's government to uphold freedoms of assembly and expression and for all parties to reaffirm their commitment to nonviolence.
 
"There’s more that all parties can do to move things forward. So I don’t know if there’s a specific obstacle as much as there’s more that needs to be done," said Psaki.
 
Former U.S. Ambassador Adam Ereli claims Washington's "middle-ground" is not working.
 
"Nobody knows what the U.S. position is. In Bahrain they say, 'Look, we support a democratic process. Don't use violence.' But we don't condemn the opposition. We don't declare support for the regime. Nobody knows what side we're on," explained Ereli.
 
Opposition groups suspended their participation in the national dialogue over last month’s detention of activist Khalil Marzouq, who is charged with using his leadership position in a legal political organization to incite violence. Amnesty International calls him a prisoner of conscience. His trial is set to begin October 24.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs