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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Analysis: What Should Obama Do With Bahrain?

Unlike Libya, Obama should not take the Bahrain and the Persian Gulf situation sitting down. If the United States look at the Egyptian revolution with a wary eye (I hope they did) then Bahrain is a takeaway. For something to happen to a prosperous and free country in Bahrain (unlike some in the Middle East) is indeed mind boggling and perplexing. There is obviously something very wrong with this situation and we will look at that later and how the Obama administration should respond.

Don't get me wrong, I don't agree and I don't like the violence and I hope this will stop. But let us back up a little bit here. The Bahrain Royal family has already suggested reforms to the protesters but the unrest continues. The UK has called for reforms in Bahrain as well and as we said a suggestion has been put forward and such cannot be accelerated untill there is unrest there and with people calling for the royal family to step down.

Last Sunday, Saudi Arabia, after temporarily stopping its own protesters, came to the aid of Bahrain. I heard from a Bloomberg analyst that it would be impossible for the Saudis to do such a thing without at least consulting the US and I agree with him. However; the aftermath of such an action only made the US officials more indecisive in their speeches.

What should Obama do in Bahrain? He should call this situation for what it is, an intervention of Iran into the affairs not only of Bahrain but also other countries in the Gulf like Saudi Arabia, Oman, etc. Saudi Arabia it seems was forced into action as it sees Iran mobilizing the Shiites in the region which are the majority in Bahrain.

Obama should be brutally honest in this one because it is not just peace in that region is at stake but also the trust of his allies around the world.