Huffington Post readers may be forgiven for concluding that on the issue of Bahrain there is only one voice worth listening to: It’s not a Bahraini voice and it’s only got one thing to say:
We are not claiming that Brian Dooley of Human Rights First doesn’t have the right to be heard; but the fact that Brian Dooley is the only voice on Bahrain in the Huffington, monotonously making the same point week-after-week from a highly partisan perspective goes against the editorial ethics of journalism for allowing a representative range of voices to be heard.
As excerpts from the below articles show Brian Dooley’s central point is that the US Administration is not doing enough to push for further reform in Bahrain. To make his point he repeats the same arguments endlessly. Does the Huffington really need to publish someone hammering that same point again and again and again?
Mr. Dooley claims to run a human rights organization concerned about human rights abuses in countries all around the world. So why does he mostly ignore much worse abuses in Iran, Syria, North Korea and China and continue droning on about past events in Bahrain? We find his agenda highly questionable.
Clearly the Huffington Post views Mr. Dooley’s viewpoint sympathetically. But do they realize that in doing so they are completely ignoring an alternative set of perspectives, particularly given Brian Dooley’s highly selective take on the facts?
For example; Huffington Post readers will never glean the following facts from reading Mr. Dooley’s articles about Bahrain:
Bahrain is the most culturally liberal and tolerant state in the Gulf; with progressive attitudes towards women and other religions: Progressive attitudes that the Ayatollahs and clerics of the opposition do not share.
Bahrain is a Constitutional Monarchy. Reform has come a long way under King Hamad, including a full Parliamentary system. But it is right that more reform should be encouraged.
No protesters have been killed by police actions over the last year; in part as a result of increasingly humane policing procedures. A result of the reforms that Mr. Dooley denies
The opposition’s own human rights record is highly questionable: For example, their radicalization and exploitation of children.
Shipments of Iranian weapons have been impounded on Bahraini shores; including the kinds of explosives used to kill numerous policemen. 13 police have died so far.
I hope that these few brief points at least prove that there are at least other alternative legitimate viewpoints to those of Mr. Dooley; and that the Huffington Post is doing its readers a disservice in implying that Brian Dooley’s endless monologues are the only ones worth listening to on Bahrain.
Why so many Huffington Post articles saying the same thing?
Bahrain Allies’ Dangerous Myopia 04/14/2014
…The criticism in the UK report, however, is generally tepid, saying with predictable understatement that “… some areas of reform have been slower than we would have hoped.”…
It is less clear why Britain and the United States appear to working against their long-term interests by supporting a system of government that encourages instability and threatens its own equities. The Bahrain government’s response of repression to widespread calls for democratic reform in early 2011 has not brought calm to the country or introduced the rule of law.
Embassygate in Bahrain Not the Fundamental Problem 03/31/2014
….Staying mute about human rights violations while supporting Bahrain’s repressive security forces (“close to 90 percent of Bahraini Defense Force equipment is of U.S. origin,” says the report) will not lead to stability. Denying people their basic rights is the surest way to increased volatility and insurrection while promoting rights is leads to real stability and security. For the State Department to declare that these interests are competing is alarming, especially in relation to Bahrain, where continued unrest and a lack of reform makes the political situation increasingly fragile and unpredictable.
Siding with repressive regimes across the Middle East has made the U.S. increasingly unpopular in the region, which is hardly in its short- or long-term interests. Instead of seeing a tension between its security interests and promoting human rights, the United States should realize that promoting security and human rights are the same thing — a Bahrain that respects the rule of law and democracy is a much more reliable partner than a dictatorship that responds with repression to calls for reform.
Three Years Later, Reform in Bahrain Is Nowhere to be Seen 03/25/2014
…There’s no doubt Iran will seek to exploit Bahrain’s political chaos. But if the United States – and the Bahraini regime – really want to foil Iran, they should be making common cause with those who seek participatory democracy… The Obama administration has largely tolerated the escalating repression… If the United States hopes to counter Iranian influence in Bahrain, it should get serious about pressing for political reform and progress on human rights. Without that, Bahrain’s fragile political stalemate will be increasingly vulnerable to manipulation from Tehran.
Bahrain’s Soldier Sailor Sunni Shia Struggle 02/07/2014
…The U.S. government’s voice on Bahrain’s human rights problems has faltered over the last three years, apparently uncertain about how to best exert its influence to press for democratic reform via its military relationship, and the presence of its Fifth Fleet. Pushing for integration of the BDF, and the Bahrain police force, is one direct way it could support change…
Bahrain Urgently Needs Real Negotiations 01/28/2014
…But when the Crown Prince met the two leaders to kick-start a new phase of talks a week later, it appeared he might be living up to his fading reputation as a reformer. In another encouraging move, [Ali] Salman’s travel ban was lifted in what can be seen as a confidence-building step… It’s too early to know if this latest Crown Prince-sponsored initiative will lead to progress, but Bahrain desperately needs to emerge from the crisis it entered three years ago…
Bahrain’s Sunningdale 03/28/2014
A new initiative aimed at breaking Bahrain’s political impasse, a round of dialogue sponsored by the Crown Prince, is due to start soon. Parallels between present-day Bahrain and the Northern Ireland of a generation ago are not new but there’s an obvious lesson from what happened there 40 springs ago… The Bahrain government insists it is already reforming, earlier this month claiming the cabinet had “gone beyond” implementing the recommendations of the independent commission that investigated its violent crackdown in 2011. But its most recent report on how much progress has been made is unpersuasive. “Moving Beyond 2011” is a hodgepodge of dubious evidence that lists lots of training that its judicial and security officials have undergone without demonstrating that it has changed behavior…
The Bahrain Medics – The Torture Case That Won’t Go Away 01/03/2014
…Meanwhile, international criticism of the crackdown is fading; the U.S. government, once one of the loudest voices complaining about the treatment of the medics, is increasingly mute in the face of further crackdown, and continues to arm the Bahrain regime….
Iran Nuclear Deal Widens United States-Bahrain Rift 12/20/2013
…So far, the U.S. government’s muted response to Bahrain’s violent repression is believed to be in part because of Bahrain’s strength as an ally against Iran — not unlike the 1970s and 1980s when South Africa was an embarrassing U.S. ally but successfully played a valuable anti-Soviet role for the U.S. in Cold War tensions. Bahrain knows that if (and it is a big if) Iran recedes as a threat in a new détente with the U.S. Manama’s hand will be weakened. The Iran threat might not disappear but it might just matter less, taking away a trump card for Bahrain. This in turn could encourage the State Department to take a more vigorous diplomatic approach in pushing for reform in Bahrain. The Bahrain regime could turn out to be a major loser from a thaw with Iran.
Mandela, The United States, And Bahrain 12/05/2013
…Sadly, I hear the same arguments — even the same phrases — from some Obama administration officials when I talk to them about Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. They argue that pressure is best brought to bear “behind closed doors” because public criticism can be counterproductive, that those governments “don’t respond to threats.” I’ve even heard some use the term constructive engagement to describe their approach to dealing with today’s autocrats. And among some U.S. officials, the demonstrably dubious notion that strong economic ties will produce political reform remains an article of faith…
Reality Exposes Bahrain Government Claims 11/26/2013
…As Secretary Hagel travels to Bahrain in two weeks for a security conference, he would be making a strategic error if he fails to publicly mention the crackdown on HRDs and the deteriorating security situation in Bahrain. While directed primarily at Bahraini citizens, this crackdown threatens the environment for the Fifth Fleet and other U.S. too — Washington cannot afford to watch, witness, and stand silent.”
Impunity Not Guaranteed 11/23/2013
…Waiting for justice is no doubt difficult, knowing there is not guarantee it will ever come. Frustrated at the lack of accountability for human rights violations in the last few years, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights has been running a campaign in recent weeks publicly naming dozens of security officers and government officials it says are responsible for human rights violations, listing allegations against each individual and asking that they be given a fair trial…
US Should Speak Out on Bahrain Abuses 10/01/2013
Two years ago this week, in the shadow of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, 20 Bahraini medics were sentenced by a military court to prison terms of between five and 15 years. They were targeted by the Kingdom after treating injured protestors during the Bahrain uprising in early 2011 and then telling the international media the truth about the scale of the Kingdom’s crackdown. The medics were then tortured into making false confessions and given military court show trials. There was such an international outcry at the medics’ verdicts that the Bahrain government promised to retry them in civilian courts…
Top 6 Reasons for Bahrain to Host Arab Court of Human Rights 09/03/2013
Following an Arab League meeting in Cairo on September 1, it was announced that Bahrain would be host of the Arab Court of Human Rights when the court gets established. There is no word on what jurisdiction the court will have or when it might open, only that it will be based in Bahrain. The news was initially greeted with some surprise and skepticism by those who have followed the Kingdom’s recent dismal performance on human rights…
Bahrain Torturers Must Be Held Accountable
…With few consequences from the U.S. government and the international community for its failure to tackle impunity and stop torture, Bahrain shows little sign of improving its dismal human rights reputation. Two years later, those who were tortured remain without justice as those who tortured them remain free and unpunished…