Responding to the Washington Post

August 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Tuesday night, The Washington Post released an editorial entitled “Backfire in Bahrain.” The piece presented a highly selective interpretation of events and, ironically, ran on the same day wire services reported that the government of Bahrain had charged fifteen policemen with mistreating prisoners.

Police in Bahrain don’t face an opposition that is “slowly radicalizing.” The opposition in Bahrain has contained very hardline and violent elements from the beginning. The Post falls into a familiar trap. It should recognize that the opposition has its own energy and its own ideology, some of which Americans might find extremely unpalatable

For many months, Bahraini police have been forced to control aggressive protestors who block streets, sabotage roadways and vandalize property, and who regularly attack the police with Molotov cocktails, rocks and other lethal weapons. Bahraini police officers do not carry firearms and only have nonlethal forms of crowd control, such as tear gas, to control crowds that become violent, destructive, or highly disruptive. Our police employ tactics that are quite consistent with the methods used by Western nations on a regular basis. Bahrain has demonstrated a willingness to investigate wrongdoing and will address violations of our rules of engagement when complaints are brought forward.

Bahrain is on a difficult road, but The Post continues to ignore the real progress the government has made to implement the recommendations of the National Dialogue and those contained in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report. Progress may seem slow to some, but it has been real, meaningful and significant. I would ask for our friends in the United States, with whom we have been strong allies for many decades, to have patience while the political dynamic changes. It can’t be expected to change radically overnight, but meaningful change has been made both in the last 18 months and on a continuous basis for the past 11 years.

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