WASHINGTON – If President Barack Obama wanted to place Washington “on the right side of history” during the ongoing “Arab Spring”, his reaction to recent events in Bahrain will likely make that far more difficult, according to a growing number of analysts and commentators here.
Funeral prayers are said over the coffin of Ali Isa Saqer, who died while in police custody. Photograph: Mazen Mahdi/EPA
While his administration has become ever more outspoken against repression in Syria and Yemen – not to mention Libya, where Obama has called for regime change – it has remained remarkably restrained about the escalating crackdown by the Sunni monarchy against the majority Shia population and prominent pro-democracy figures.
The strongest criticism in weeks came from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday night at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum here when she appealed for a “political process that advances the rights and aspirations of all the citizens of Bahrain” and asserted that “security alone cannot resolve the challenges” facing the government.