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

TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid