Thursday, February 17, 2011

Barry Rubin to Kerry - You are Playing with Fire!

The Obama administration and the entire strategical decision-making capacity in the US seems to be on an extended leave. It's a shame that such a weak administration is in charge at such tumulus times.

Recently, John Kerry came out in support of the demonstrators in Bahrain in a sign that could be interpreted by everyone as an American approval of a free-for-all against its allies. 

Rubin writes:
Senator John Kerry, who when I worked in the Senate was regarded as...let's just say as not a great genius, is now chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry regards himself as something of a shadow secretary of state. If he ever actually gets that job we're all in trouble.
Kerry has been perhaps the most outspoken member of the Senate, now that Senator Arlen Spector is gone, in flattering the tyrannical government of Syria. Yet now Kerry is giving Bahrain the "Egypt treatment." He warned that government:
"Using tear gas, batons, and rubber bullets on peaceful protestors is the worst kind of response to a nonviolent demonstration. I urge the government of Bahrain to put an end to the violence and allow the Bahrainis to voice their call for greater political freedom. Historic protests are taking place across the Arab world and it is vital for every government to respond peacefully and listen to their own people.”
In principle,  these are fine sentiments, but in strategic terms they are foolish indeed. Bahrain is different from the Egyptian case in two important respects. First, the uprising in Bahrain is openly being led by islamists. Second, the problem of democracy in Bahrain is that the great majority of the population--about 85 percent--are Shia Muslims while the monarchy is Sunni.

If the majority were to rule, Bahrain would probably align itself with Iran. Following the fact that Iraq has a Shia-majority government, the transformation of a Gulf Cooperation Council state to Shia rule would freak out the Saudis and other Gulf monarchies as the beginning of the end for them.
So to play with backing an uprising in Bahrain is extremely dangeorus and no doubt Kerry, like the sorcerer's apprentice, has no idea what he might be unleashing there. If he wants to urge on an uprising he'd be better advised t
o stop coddling and start criticizing his friends in the Syrian regimet.

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