News / Middle East

US Says Force Won’t Solve 'Alarming' Bahrain Crisis

Thousands of anti-government protesters march to the Saudi embassy in Manama, March 15, 2011
Thousands of anti-government protesters march to the Saudi embassy in Manama, March 15, 2011

The United States, stepping up criticism of key Gulf allies, said Wednesday military means won’t resolve the political crisis in Bahrain.  A senior U.S. envoy is returning to Washington after talks in Bahrain, where Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have sent police and troops.

The Obama administration is stopping short of demanding the withdrawal of the Saudi and UAE forces who entered the country Monday.

But U.S. officials say the political conflict between Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim monarchy and its majority Shi'ite populace can only be resolved by dialogue, not military force.

U.S. concern about the situation mounted Wednesday  as Bahraini forces used helicopters and armored vehicles to drive protestors from a central plaza in the capital, Manama, that has become a focal point for demonstrations.

News reports from Manama said there were scores of injuries among protestors from bullets and buckshot, and that security forces entered ambulances and hospitals to drag away some of the injured.

The White House said President Barack Obama telephoned both Bahrain’s King Hamad al-Khalifa and Saudi King Abdullah Wednesday to urge "maximum restraint."  

Ending a visit to Cairo, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton termed events in Bahrain "alarming," and said they are "diverting attention and effort away" from the political track that is the only way to resolve legitimate differences among Bahrainis.

State Department acting spokesman Mark Toner said the United States has conveyed that message to all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, under whose banner the intervention has occurred.

"We stress here obviously that there’s no way to resolve this situation through security or excessive force," he said. "There needs to be a political dialogue that leads to a political resolution.  We’re deeply troubled by reports of injuries and deaths of civilians, as well as attacks on ambulances and hospitals. We certainly object to the use of excessive force and violence against demonstrators, and we remind Bahraini officials of their obligation to protect medical facilities and to facilitate treatment of the wounded."

Bahrain is host to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and has received extensive U.S. military aid over the years.

The State Department said last week it is investigating whether Bahrain’s use of force in previous protests violates the 1997 Leahy amendment from Congress, which bars U.S. military aid to foreign military units involved in human rights violations.

Spokesman Toner said Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman left Manama  Wednesday after two days of meetings with Bahraini leaders.

The crisis has strained U.S. relations with its Gulf allies. Saudi Arabia is understood to have barred a visit by Secretary Clinton this week angry over  what is seen there as U.S. encouragement to Bahraini protestors.

Saudi Arabia is concerned that the Bahrain unrest might lead to the toppling of the monarchy and a takeover by pro-Iranian elements among the opposition.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that in his calls to the Gulf leaders Wednesday President Obama said legitimate grievances of Bahrainis can only be addressed by a political process.

He said Mr. Obama reiterated support for a national dialogue initiative led by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid