Lawmakers in the tiny but strategic nation of Bahrain are outraged with the United States and accuse the U.S. ambassador — apparently a mild-manner professional diplomat — of waging “war” against the Persian Gulf kingdom, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
From his comments, speeches and interviews posted on the U.S. Embassy website in Bahrain, Ambassador Thomas Krajeski is an enthusiastic booster of U.S.-Bahraini relations. He voices only the mildest criticism about the country’s poor human rights record and the Sunni minority’s crackdown on protests by the Shiite majority.
However, members of parliament have been using him as a target after the State Department issued several reports recently that cited Bahrain’s government for religious discrimination and political repression.
“There is a war on Bahrain led by Mr. Krajeski,” Hassan al Dossary, a leading member of parliament, exclaimed during a harsh debate on the State Department reports.
Bahrain’s Cabinet denounced Mr. Krajeski in a resolution two weeks ago.
The resolution, proposed by parliament, was designed to “put an end to the interference” by Mr. Krajeski, the state-owned Bahrain News Agency reported.
Mr. Krajeski, however, has praised King Hamad for naming an independent commission to investigate the government’s crackdown on Shiite protests, which began in February 2011.
“Still there is work to be done,” the ambassador told the al Bilad daily newspaper in an interview two months ago. “As such, we renew our call on all parties — including the government, political societies and others — to engage in dialogue and negotiations in which all elements of society have a real voice.”
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
• Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, who meets President Obama to discuss plans for the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland in June.
• Alexey Malashenko, co-chairman of the Carnegie Moscow Center’s religion, society and security program, who discusses the restless North Caucasus region in a briefing at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.