Advocacy Director Cole Bockenfeld analyzes steps the United States and Bahrain should take in order to improve Bahrain’s political situation after a recent crackdown on protests, and in order to protect their historic relationship. 

The United States has maintained a key security relationship with Bahrain since 1947, demonstrated most visibly by the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet located in Manama. As the political situation in Bahrain continues to deteriorate, however, the United States needs to re-energise its diplomatic efforts toward Bahrain, and prioritise real reform and accountability. Failure to do so risks an escalation of violence that could endanger the relationship both parties hold dear.

In February, an estimated 300,000 people – more than half of the nation’s citizens – marched for greater political freedom and respect for human rights. In response, the Bahraini government resorted to brute force that has torn the fabric of Bahraini society at its seams.

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