With Bahrain, administration again walking a fine line
Bahrain army tanks take up positions Thursday outside the central square of Manama, Bahrain.
February 17th, 2011
10:47 AM ET

With Bahrain, administration again walking a fine line

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned to call Bahrain's foreign minister on Thursday about the violence there, two State Department officials told CNN.

Security forces in Bahrain's capital, Manama, stormed an encampment of protesters in the dead of night before dawn Thursday, witnesses said, and the kingdom's health minister reported at least three people were killed and more than 200 others injured.

Bahrain is the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, and the United States designated Bahrain as a major non-NATO ally in October 2001. Bahrain served as a base for U.S. military operations in the first Gulf War, and the U.S. is guaranteed the right to pre-position materials in Bahrain for use in future crises.

The administration is grappling with exactly what to say in response to the crackdown, the officials said. Top officials are "very concerned" about the violence but don't want to say anything that could lead to further violence, the sources said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney tried to walk that line during a press briefing Wednesday.

"Each country is different in how they respond to the expression of the legitimate aspirations of their people," he said. "It is very important and they need to do it in a way that reflects what we believe, what the president has said, are these universal values that each government needs to respect. And those are freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, freedom of access to information - the internet in particular - and to respond to those demonstrations in a nonviolent way. ...

"We call on both sides in countries where these demonstrations are taking place to be nonviolent and for the governments to be responsive."

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Meme

    Goes the dynamite.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Capt Jack Sparrow

    Help me...as you can see via the image which CNN has posted, the Bahrainian government has laid seige to me and my crew. They have dragged my ship upon dryland and taken all our rum!

    February 17, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    I guess that Obama and his henchmen are getting quite worried now that another one of their cronies stand to fall from power. Hopefully that will be the case as the people in the Middle East take back their countries from the West!

    February 17, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Cronies lol I wouldn't be surprised if obama had never met this guy. Fleet didn't move there yesterday. I vote we sell the base back and bring em all home.

      February 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    Captain Jack, all your rum? How awful! Keep out of Bahrain.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    Sorry folks, I didn't post the above about Obama. The communist Cesar did. Hey silly boy, you are so communist. Don't you understand that we need allies abroad for world stability? Think before you post.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      But I did and I'm the true Cesar,too. Someone's trying to make a fool out of me.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    Now that the Arabian Horses are out of the Barn,it is going to take a real Genie like Barbra Eden to get them back in.I was stationed with the U.S. Navy there in 1991 during Desert Storm and I can tell you there is no way the Monarchy there is going to roll over and give up power.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    People of the United States of America.
    From my experience in Vietnam and serving the United States being stationed in Bahrain in a support capacity with the U.S. Navy in Desert Storm.unless the leaders of these countries see a benefit to themselves there will be little change and alot of blood in the streets.Tanks vs Rocks is never really a winning strategy.The Egyptians were relatively lucky.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Larry Smithson

    Please is anyone interested in whats going on in Madison Wisconsin ? I think it sould be followed and reported much more than what it has been. I realize whats happening in the Middle East is important too. But we have our own problems right here in our country that neeeds coverage also. Thanks for letting me vent my opinion. – Larry

    February 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John G

    I think we should stay out of it. State our view and do nothing else. It's not our responsibility or our business to interfere in other countries affairs. Quit butting in U.S.

    February 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Sensible postng,John G. Thank you.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Sorry John about the misspelling above. I meant "posting" not postng. You made a very sensible statement.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. john2397

    Looks like Hillary failed again to take 3 am call? Rather than repeating same sentence which means nothing, she must come out boldly and tell all the autocrats that America would like to see freedom and democracy in that part of the world, nothing less. Or, we must keep quiet and allow our dictators to continue their oppression.

    February 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. j-dogg of houston

    I just want to say that how can the gop/tea party call themselves christians when in fact the bible says clearly that if you are fortunate you should help out the people who are less fortunate( poor people ). But instead of helping all they do is hurt the poor of this country, leaving them to bare the costs of wall street corruption and so forth. So what if they have to pay higher taxes, they are millionaires and billioaires.....trust me they won't be living on the streets cause of it!! But yet they are suppose to be christians....does not sound like any christians i know. They have no compassion for the poor!! All they care about is money.........and money is the root to all EVIL!!

    February 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. onlyslightlyamused

    Americans may want to see democracy in the middle east, but is the very LAST thing Corporate America wants to see. Believe me, CEOs of oil companioes could give a rats ass about democracy. Democracy means the people elect who runs the country. Corporate America wants to continue using our tax dollars to prop up dictators who then allow these so called "multi-nationals" to exploit the labor and resources. The people work for very little, the dictators sÞash billions in Swiss accounts and the Corporations make record profits! Enough already! Revolt! People of the world REVOLT!

    February 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      The above is one of the most sensible posts here yet. Thank you onlyslightlyamused.

      February 17, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    Sorry folks, I didn't post any of the above. Some jerk is trying to make a fool of me. @John G, What's the matter with you? It's a small world, and we need leaders in foreign countries that are fair to their people, and non-terrorist sponsors like Iran. We stayed out of Iran since the fall of the Shah in 1979, now look at Iran-a mess. I disagree with you. And silly boy, stop kissing up to people who lack insight; you show how unwise you really are. Thank you.

    February 17, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Some would say we made the mess in 79 by mucking around in their internal affairs.

      February 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Sorry folks,I never posted the above. Phunnie boy's still trying to make a fool out of me so just ignore it. Moreover,I want to say that staying out of Iran is one of the wisest decisions we ever made. We should do that more often!

      February 17, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. personny

    Israel is becoming a nation. http://nopolicestate.blogspot.com/2011/01/egypt_29.html

    February 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rodja

    All these noble words of support to the victims amounts to nothing. Money talk! The peolpe will remain slaves tomorrow as they yesterday.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
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