Gulf State that Attacked Pro-Democracy Demonstrators Serves as Key Port for U.S. Navy since World War IICBS Evening News, Feb 17, 2011
(CBSNews) THE PENTAGON – The free flow of oil, the containment of Iran and the defeat of al Qaeda, those are the stakes in the Persian Gulf and why the U.S. Navy has about 30 warships assigned to its 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.
The world’s attention was focused Thursday on the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom. Bahrain’s capital is under lockdown after government troops attacked protesters overnight. At least five people were killed. Hundreds were wounded. In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Bahrain’s government to show restraint.
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The U.S. Navy has maintained a presence in Bahrain since World War II. The kingdom plays a vital role in protecting American interests.
“This whole area depends upon the ability to maintain naval and air forces in the region,” said David Mack, a scholar at the Middle East Institute who once served as U.S. ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
And it’s not just Bahrain. It’s Kuwait, which is the staging area for operations in Iraq. It’s Qatar, where the headquarters for U.S. military operations throughout the Middle East is located along with an air base used by bombers flying strikes in Afghanistan.