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Stalemate in Bahrain

December 29th, 2012
06:16 AM ET

When large-scale protests for reform and democracy began in Bahrain nearly two years ago, the government clamped down with the help of troops from Saudi Arabia and neighboring Gulf states. The clashes and the daily demonstrations continue, but largely outside the capital of Manama and the ruling al-Khalifa family has yet to introduce meaningful reforms, despite repeated promises.

Bahrain recently hosted an international security conference and renewed more such pledges. At the same time, however, the court kept one of the nation's most prominent human rights activist in jail, though it reduced one charge and slightly reduced his sentence from three years to two.

Many of the activists have had their citizenship revoked and even doctors and nurses who treated victims of government violence have been convicted of crimes against the state and given lengthy prison terms.

Bahrain is a Persian Gulf state, directly facing Iran. It is also home to the U.S. 5th Fleet, a key strategic asset in a critical neighborhood. Activists accused the United States of largely sitting on the sidelines. Christiane Amanpour recently spoke with Maryam al-Khawaja, a member of one of Bahrain's most prominent activist families, about the ongoing stalemate. She also spoke with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner who recently visited Bahrain. To see their conversation, click on the video above.

The Amanpour program has repeatedly invited Bahraini government officials onto the program, with little success so far. We did receive an email statement from the Bahraini ambassador to the United States, Houda Ezra Nonoo, which you can click here to read.

CNN’s Meredith Milstein produced this piece for television.


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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. fatmeh

    Shame on you America. The blood of martyers .will not be forgotten.

    December 29, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
  2. fatmeh

    Saudi Arabia and the US are supporting the Al Khalifa regime to preserve their own interests, even if the cost is the lives and rights of the people of Bahrain.

    December 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  3. Nadia Bessamra

    To who?

    December 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  4. Hani

    Amanpour is an Iranian and she is clearly taking side of the Iranian regime policies in the region which is spreading the chaos and instability in Arab countries. The report is baseless and relies on some very little criminals who are getting their support from the iranian terrorist regime. Its a shame for a decent news company like cnn to let individuals like amanpour to speak out their own view of point ignoring the facts as if this is the only pure truth.. I doubt Amanpour has got a nice amount deposited to her off sore bank account..

    December 30, 2012 at 4:51 am | Reply
  5. Rashad

    A story that have been widely spread in western media. Partly true, but half the truth is not the full truth.
    A sectarian movement supported by Hizbullah in Lebanon, both in ideology and in substance. Following Ayatollah ISA Qassim, how strange that they call for democracy in an Islamic Republic as declared by their leaders.
    Finally, the hidden episode of killing and violence towards Sunni population, including innocent Indian workers. Ask Indian ambassador.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
    • sara

      Bahrani Regime's PR machine is on full force, spreading LIES and propaganda!

      your time is near. The majority of Bahraini DON'T WANT The Al Khalifa REGIME anymore.

      Has nothing to do with USA, HEZBOLLAH, IRAN. Bahraini been fighting for freedom for a LONG TIME.

      December 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Reply
  6. naador

    Why and why is it perfectly acceptable for the Bahrainin government to roll the red carpets for the fully armed and armored Army of a foreign government like Saudi Arabia and set to suppress un-armed protesters of its own citizens while it is treason for the Bahraini opposition to accept any support or sympathizer from anybody outside Bahrain? Why does the Bahraini Government continues to accuse the native Bahraini Population of loyalty to Iran despite the fact that the native Bahrani population rejected a referendum to be part of Iran before the British give 'independence' to Bahrain in 1971. It seems that the Bahrain government running out of wits to come up with another excuse of foreign intervention to pin on the opposition. This one isn't sticking for a half-witted human being who has half a heart to care about Bahrain.

    December 30, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • sara

      Al Khalifa regime are bunch of criminals that lie and kill to keep themselves in power, unfortunately they've got the backings of USA.

      December 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Reply
  7. sara

    Bahraii Regime PR machine is on full force, spreading LIES and propaganda! your time is near. The majority of Bahraini DON'T WANT The Al Khalifa REGIME anymore. Has nothing to do with USA, HEZBOLLAH, IRAN. Bahraini been fighting for freedom for a LONG TIME>

    December 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  8. Sajid

    All Gulf states blood sucker Dictators and thier US backers will soon go to hell.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  9. scott jones

    I sympathize with freedom seeking people everywhere. So I ask you to be cautious about expressing too much anger in an open chat room like this. Do a little research for yourself into the monitoring that is going on everywhere. There seems to be no limit now to the breaking of our civil rights. That includes our right to freedom of speech. Take care please.

    December 31, 2012 at 1:37 am | Reply
  10. Tim Blokdijk

    Did she just sank the fifth fleet?

    December 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  11. AB

    What else illustrate Double standard of US Govt.than its silence on Bahraini issue.What they are scare of will definitely happen US knows that Bahrain cant av a true representative govt.and their base wont be revoked.Saudi Arabia knows that its own storm is just days away.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:37 am | Reply

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