A report released one year ago with reform recommendations for the Bahraini monarchy was the topic of discussion at a Capitol Hill meeting. According to the Project on Middle East Democracy, Bahrain’s claims of carrying out most of the recommendations intended to curb abuses of dissidents have not been met.
Speakers included Congressman James McGovern, co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, who states friendly relations with Bahrain gives the U.S. more of a responsibility to speak out against its abuses.
As an ally of the Arab Kingdom, the United States has taken a soft diplomatic approach to its human rights violations.
Demonstrations were recently banned completely in Bahrain, the response of the U.S. government being that it was “concerned by the Bahraini Government’s decision to ban all public gatherings.”
Headquartered in Bahrain, the U.S. Fifth Fleet has embarked on a $580 million project to double the size of its base by 2015.
Although there haven’t been many hearings in Washington, experts say a growing awareness is taking place in Congress about the political landscape and rights abuses in Bahrain. And with the military strategic advantages of Bahrain’s friendship, it’s important for the U.S. that the two countries remain allies.