The international community has grown used to hearing how the US has intervened in the domestic affairs of its adversaries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya; these are reflections of long-term US approaches to the region. Yet, there are a number of cases where the US involves itself in a friendly, even allied, state to further its interests regardless of the affects such actions may produce.
Perhaps the greatest enemy facing the US today is its own State Department personnel, who seem to run-at-the-mouth for the sake of showing-off to peers and potential lovers. And thankfully I was there and bear witness to the latest plan of the US regarding Bahrain.
I heard the words and saw the gestures. My only hope is that this note awakens people to the plight facing Bahrain at the hands of the US. I also want to point out that I am very respectful to and of the US naval personnel stationed here in Manama; they are not responsible for the cloak-and-dagger policy of destabilization of Bahrain and should not be held to account for the errors made on their behalf.
The episode I am referring to started with the receipt from a friend of a video titled “Economic Hit man Bahrain”,
Interesting as it was, I did not pay much attention to the message, CIA were behind Bahrain’s current woes, possible, I thought no more.
That was until in Trader Vic’s following last Wednesday’s (06 March) Oil Conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Seef, Bahrain when I suddenly realized that I was possibly witnessing such a plan, with my own eyes coming to fruition.
In the tropical splendor of the restaurant, the first hint something was up was when I overheard a US diplomat in a drunken conversation with one of his non-American peers.
The content of the discussion was based on US’s moves – I assume by that he meant pressure – to coerce King Hamad to plant into the office of the Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman, his son the Crown Prince Salman. This, it seems, was part of the policy of appeasement the US has adopted towards the sectarian (Shia) Al Wefaq National Islamic Society who the US succors as the main opposition.
The world cannot have failed to notice that this actually occurred on the 11th of March, for indeed the Crown Prince was appointed as 1st Deputy Prime Minister, with a role full of ambiguity “for the Development of the Performance of the Executive Authorities.” One cannot assume with any degree of certainty, that Sheikh Salman was even aware that his appointment might be part of this latest US plot.
In the dirty world of international politics, the Americans probably consider him naïve, and were cashing in the on the enormous kudos Shaikh Salman had generated during his previously failed, but noble, attempts at reconciliation for ending the crisis in Bahrain in 2011.
The US, on the other hand is the master of subterfuge, they are surely using Shaikh Salman and in doing so are violating the national sovereignty of the Kingdom and its constitution.
On the 7th of March former Ambassador to Bahrain and President of the American Academy of Diplomacy, Ronald Neumann, visited. Those with whom he met were told on hearing complaints about the performance of the current US ambassador to Bahrain rumor has it, were fobbed off with the usual diplomatic responses. It was Neumann incidentally according to cables published by Wikileaks who initiated and introduced to the world the erroneous message that the opposition represented the majority; the infamous 70%.
On the 8th of March this headline hit the news-stands “Saudi Arabia is encouraging the government of its neighbour and ally Bahrain to forge a settlement with its opposition.” It was a story leaked apparently by the opposition in Bahrain to a single sympathetic reporter but the Saudi source was not identified.
A day later, on the 9th of March (reported on the 12th) the US Ambassador Thomas Krajesk was spotted leaving the remote venue of the National Dialogue just moments before negotiations were due to start. It is common knowledge here that the ambassador had been meeting with the owner of Al-Wasat’s newspaper Mansour al-Jamri, a former opposition activist during the Shia uprising in the 1990s, who had returned to Bahrain in 2001 following a royal pardon and with Khalid Janahi previously on the board at the EDB. The EDB or the Economic Development Board is a government advisory board run by the Crown Prince.
Then, on the 11th of March, to the amazement of most people in Bahrain, the BNA announced that the Crown Prince or CP had been made a Deputy Prime Minister. With no foresight or awareness of the internal dynamics in Bahrain, the US in my opinion had prepared this palace coup.
Let me answer some questions, which were nearly shouted out during the Trader Vic’s session.
The US supports Al Wefaq’s Head, Ali Salman – a frequent visitor to the US Embassy in Manama – in his efforts to destabilize the Kingdom and has, apparently, given its consent to the ‘seven orders’ Al Wefaq has brought with them to the National Dialogue, even though these violate Bahrain’s constitution. One of these ‘talking points’ also shows that the US supports Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad to assume to role of PM, which would undermine the political process of the country and be applauded as a success by Al Wefaq since it would signal success derived from political blackmail via the violence which has unfolded on the streets of Bahrain over the past 24 months.
The US wants a coup – an illegal, but non-violent – change of government that would ultimately see Sheikh Khalifa ibn Salman replaced by Crown Prince Salman. At the same time, the US wants a greater role for Al Wefaq in political decision making even though the bloc does not represent the spectrum of Bahraini society and is deeply aligned to both domestic terrorist groups and Iran.
It is hard to determine the timing of the US coup, but it seems that it will be part of the concluding arrangements of the National Dialogue. The first steps have already been undertaken.
Many will be asking why the US is so keen to appease Al Wefaq and to use Sheikh Salman, what are their interests. On this point, no real explanation was gleaned in my over-hearing of the Trader Vic’s discussion (perhaps I arrived too late).
But there are a few possibilities. First, many people in the Al Wefaq-and-friends circle have long established ties to the US and they likely confirmed that US interest, such as the Fifth Fleet Presence would be maintained.
This would be an empty promise since Al Wefaq is connected to Iran and hence the US is again showing its ignorance. Second, the US does benefit from upheaval in the region and supporting Al Wefaq may add an element to regional politics that the US could enter to solve and then look as though it is a broker of peace. This may sound conspiratorial, however this has been widely practiced by successive US governments.
The US is playing a dangerous game that needs to be exposed.
Bahrain’s political situation under reconstruction and reform and if the US takes the opportunity and empowers a political coup against Sheikh Khalifa ibn Salman who has greatest personal support and respect of any leader in Bahrain, it will not only be a violation of the treaty based alliance between the two countries, a breach of trust and an unethical intervention; it will also shatter the national unity of Bahrain which needs to stay cohesive in light of the unfolding violence sponsored by Iran.
Bahrain’s political system is not the business of the US and it should have learned that it is best served by allowing things in allied states to play themselves out rather than to jump into unknown waters (to it) where it has yet learned to swim. At the end of the day the US ploy was unsuccessful because of the overwhelming support of the Bahraini people to their Prime Minister, Khalifa Bin Salman, who is regarded as the father of modern Bahrain and has steered the entire political community through all the hurdles of statehood for the better part of a half-century.
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