Sens. Rubio, Wyden Call for Bahrain Reform Eval
Senators Marco Rubio (R- FL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) took the lead on an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that “requires the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to report on implementation of reforms promised by the Government of Bahrain over a year ago,” according to Human Rights First. The group praised the passage of the amendment, and Brian Dooley said “In the interests of a stable future for Bahrain and the region, the United States must immediately re-assess its approach to Bahrain.”
Meanwhile, Amnesty International urged Bahrain to release 13 jailed opposition activists, contending that doing so would prove the Gulf monarchy is “genuinely committed” to reform and respecting human rights.
Additionally, Dooley writes, “The U.S. government has too many vital strategic interests in the region not to adopt a new strategy [toward Bahrain], one that helps bring fundamental reform and stability. The United States can’t afford another year of “what might have been.” John D. Hutson says that the conventional wisdom that the “United States should not push too hard for democratic reform in Bahrain because the country hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet” is “wrong.” He insists that “it’s precisely because of the presence of the 5th Fleet that the U.S. has a particular interest in seeing a peaceful transition to democracy.” Amira Asad conducted an interview with Bahraini activist Maryam al-Khawaja.