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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization 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.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
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.
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.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

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