Moral Outrage
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US allies Bahrain and Yemen next to go?

The freedom fever sweeping the Middle East is now coursing through Libya, Yemen, Iran and Bahrain.

The king of Bahrain, a U.S. ally, is now under siege. President Saleh of Yemen, another U.S. ally, has been forced to pledge he will not run again in 2013, nor will his son.

In Iraq, the influence of Iran is rising and the man behind the throne is the anti-American Muqtada al-Sadr. Pakistan also is aflame with anti-Americanism.

Of the new post-Egypt eruptions, perhaps the most problematic for Washington is the upsurge in Bahrain, where a Sunni king has long ruled over his predominantly Shi’ite subjects.

Bahrain, a small island kingdom in the Persian Gulf, is connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway.

Bahrain is a key element of the administration’s strategy against Iran: it is the headquarters of the Fifth Fleet, and will be the linchpin of any future military action in the Gulf by US forces. Simply put, the United States feels it cannot afford to lose Bahrain.

And for more on Yemen


5 Responses to “US allies Bahrain and Yemen next to go?”

  1. In a region blessed with nearly half of the world’s oil and gas reserves, there also exists persistent and unacceptable levels of poverty.

    First it was Tunisia, then Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Libya and stretching into the Gulf with Bahrain.

    While there are major historical and cultural differences between this assortment of countries, and even vast differences in per-capita income – Bahrain for example is high at $38,400, Yemen low at $2,500 — a few common threads can be found:

    The region’s youth lack opportunities, power is concentrated at the top and the inner circle around them, and most waited too long to embrace the winds of change brought on by globalization.

  2. […] Bahrain’s Shi’ites can certainly inspire Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia in terms of a long fight for greater social, […]

  3. While the world is focusing on the fighting in Libya, there is a much more profound development taking place in the Persian Gulf, particularly in Bahrain, where the government is negotiating with the opposition.

    It’s likely that the Bahraini monarchy will have to give some concession to the opposition. And once that happens, it will lead to an empowerment of the opposition, 70 percent of which is Shia — 70 percent of the population of the country is Shia — and that has very large-scale implications for the region, particularly for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. (With 30 percent of all Kuwaiti nationals are of Shia sectarian background.)

    From the point of view of Saudi Arabia, an empowerment of the Shia in Bahrain will likely energize their own Shia population in the oil-rich area not too far from the border with Bahrain.

    So that’s why we see the Saudis engaged in announcing additional social spending packages; the latest one is in the range of $11 billion spending on housing, social benefits, trying to improve employment opportunities. In essence, the Saudis do not want to see anything that can happen in Bahrain spill over into their own country. See also

  4. […] and Bahrain and Yemen getting away with repression of pro-democracy protests. The 5th Fleet calls Bahrain home, and Aden, in Yemen, is the key to the Red […]

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