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Latest Bahrain Items
If the world is in crisis, you wouldn't know it by watching President Obama's spring break. Between golf, basketball and the president's upcoming trip to Rio de Janeiro, the White House is projecting a disinterested aura of business as usual. For this administration, "tuned-out" is the new normal.
Bahrain's Sunni monarchy detained at least seven prominent opposition activists Thursday, and Iran recalled its ambassador to protest the Gulf troops backing the government against the Shiite protests that forced martial law-style rule in the island nation.
President Obama's less-than-penetrating observation last month that the protesters in Egypt wanted "change" is obviously correct. But despite the president's affection for the word, there is very little assurance of what "change" will bring and whether it will be congruent with American principles and interests.
The Obama administration has denounced the crackdown on protesters in Bahrain. But whether President Obama realizes it or not, stability in that country is a vital U.S. interest.
Soldiers and riot police expelled hundreds of protesters from a landmark square in Bahrain's capital on Wednesday, using tear gas and armored vehicles to try to subdue the growing movement calling for an end to the 200-year-old monarchy. At least five people were killed as clashes flared across the kingdom, according to witnesses and officials.
Gulf Arab stock markets slumped Tuesday and the cost of insuring Bahrain's debt surged, as investor unease with the political volatility in the tiny island nation appeared poised to grow with the declaration of a three-month state of emergency.
It appeared to be the first global storm since World War II, a commingling of unrelated disasters. For Japan, it was Sept. 11-plus, the worst disaster since U.S. atomic bombs leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki 65 years ago and sealed the end of the second World War in the 20th century.
Bahrain's king declared a three-month state of emergency Tuesday and gave the country's military chief wide authority to battle a Shiite-led protest movement that has threatened the Sunni monarchy and drawn in forces from around the Persian Gulf.