by Ali Jawad
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has graphically chronicled the heart-wrenching realities that have shrouded over Manama in recent days. Whilst there may be criticisms of a sometimes de-contextualised narrative, his articles are nevertheless sufficient to shed light on the fundamental grievances that have spurred the popular protests across Bahrain. There is more than enough in his articles to evoke the deepest emotion and sympathy for unarmed civilians being systematically crushed under the juggernaut of a western-armed foreign mercenary force doggedly determined to maintain the vestiges of a brutally authoritarian regime.
Officials at the Pentagon have surely read some of Kristof’s reports by now, and have no doubt made note of the striking similarities between the Al-Khalifa regime and its ousted Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts. The intelligence services and their head, Leon Panetta, are also acutely aware – no doubt – of the voluminous grievances held by the vast majority of Bahrainis towards a ruling monarchy that is increasingly acquiring the “illegitimate” prefix; this in addition to a growing view amongst Bahrainis equating the Al-Khalifa regime as the prime obstacle to serious democratic change. In spite of this however, the placid petulance that has characterised the statements of the US Secretary of State has served to further underline to the lay Arab citizen that despite its mendacious, last-minute attempts to embrace the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, the US remains firmly committed to the vocation of bolstering tyrants and dictators – only opting to disown them as the latter partake in their final rites.