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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid