Bahrain must reform now, Clinton says

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, February 20, 2011 11:59 EDT
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WASHINGTON — Bahrain must carry out political reforms immediately, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in comments aired on Sunday in which she blasted any violence by the Gulf kingdom’s security forces as unacceptable .

“Bahrain had started on some reform and we want to see them get back to that as quickly as possible,” Clinton told ABC’s “This Week” program.

Washington has insisted that oil-rich Bahrain, a small but strategic US ally in the Gulf region, begin carrying out meaningful reforms.

But Clinton insisted President Barack Obama’s administration was not interfering in the kingdom’s internal affairs, stressing that Washington “cannot tell countries what they are going to do.”

And yet she firmly stated that violence against anti-regime protesters “is absolutely unacceptable”.

“We very much want to see the human rights of the people protected, including right to assemble, right to express themselves, and we want to see reform,” she said in an interview conducted on Friday.

Bahraini Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa has offered to open a sweeping national dialogue between the Sunni-ruled monarchy and Shiite-led opposition, after a deadly police raid on Pearl Square on Thursday, which was followed by army deployment in the streets of Manama to quell the protests.

Following further protests on Friday in which dozens of people were wounded by Bahraini police, the crown prince ordered forces to leave the area and stay away from demonstrators.

Bahrain is of vital strategic importance to Washington because the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based there and some 40 percent of the world’s oil passes through the Gulf.

Obama’s National Security Adviser Tom Donilon spoke by telephone with the crown prince on Saturday, urging him to respect human rights and launch “meaningful” reform, the White House said.

The wave of unrest spreading across the Middle East and North Africa is testing the underpinnings of US policy, which for decades has seen Washington side with rulers who kept a lid on dissent but provided relative geopolitical stability.

Clinton insisted the Obama administration was not meddling.

“We try to hold everyone to a similar standard but we cannot dictate the outcomes,” she said.

“We cannot tell countries what they are going to do. We had no control over what happened in Egypt,” Clinton added, referring to the people power revolt that ousted longtime president — and US regional ally — Hosni Mubarak.

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  • Anonymous

    “(1)We try to hold everyone to a similar standard…(2)We cannot tell countries what they are going to do. (3)We had no control over what happened in Egypt,”
    Lie #1: We hold Iran and anyone we don’t like to a much different standard than our puppets..
    Lie #2: We certainly tell Iran what it can do. We just don’t like to publicly support our current puppets..
    Lie #3: We have always had some control over Egypt, but our guy lost, so we’re keeping quiet about what control we currently have..

    If Bradley Manning is responsible for the Wikileaks disclosures that sheds light on the state dept lies, and has played a key role in these uprisings, it just goes to show what an incredible hero for democracy he is. I guess that’s why we’re torturing him in prison…

  • Guest

    Just more of her TYPICAL double-tongued, hypocritical speaking. No more, no less.
    We should all be used to her horse shit by now.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EJCHJ2LWM3MGYUGHWB7ALWHE6M Kitty Antonik Wakfer

    These words of Clinton’s are all just nonsense. The US government is using US taxpayer money to obtain the favors/cooperation of all sorts of governments with the idea that there will be benefit to the US – actually benefit to the US government officials in power so as to continue their rule. These politicians will use all sorts of words to convince the majority of voters that this money spending has in some way benefited individual USers – kept them “safe”, otherwise known as “national security”. Of course, in reality the manipulation of other countries’ rulers via financial handouts (“foreign aid”) angers many of the individuals in some of those locations and contributes to what actual acts of harm are done by these individuals on USers.

    How many USers would voluntarily send some portion of their own money to any government, no matter how it came into being (elected, self-appointed, inherited, etc)? I sure wouldn’t! I want a self-ordered society without rulers where interactions are voluntary mutually beneficial – and *taxes* do not exist in such an arrangement. Try not paying them and see how long it is before some government enforcer comes round to threaten or actually do physical harm.

    As for “not tell[ing] countries [governments} what they are going to do”, just stop sending them (taxpayer) money and then those words will really have some resemblance to reality. Until then, Clinton and other “helpless” US politicians (as long as government remains unwithered) sound similar to a parent with an unruly teenager who continues to provide him/her with a hefty allowance and shrugs, “what can I do?”….