US made things difficult for Bahrain: ex-envoy
Manama, April 16, 2014
A former US diplomat has slammed President Barack Obama's foreign policy towards Bahrain and hit out at his government's lack of support for the Ruling Family.
Washington's former ambassador to Bahrain from 2007-2011 Adam Ereli, who has served as a diplomat for 24 years in the Middle East, said that the US has "made things difficult" in Bahrain despite the two countries being close allies, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"I would like to make it clear that I am not a fan of US policy towards Bahrain right now," he said in an interview conducted by business news portal Arabianbusiness.com.
"I don't think the United States has been supportive enough of the Bahraini government."
The ex-ambassador said the US "pulled an Egypt" in Bahrain following the unrest of 2011, referring to the failure of President Obama's administration to support former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was also a long-standing American ally.
"We (the US) have not acted as faithful and steadfast to partners who are strong, trusted allies," he said.
"The reason I think we have pulled an Egypt is because we threw Hosni Mubarak under the bus in a very unseemly way.
"I don't think we are doing that with the Al Khalifas and I don't think we will do that with the Al Khalifas.
"But let me be clear, if I was an Al Khalifa I'd be asking myself 'where's my friend in need?'
"We (the US) beat up on them all the time, in public, for no reason and with no justification."
The Ruling Family "will be part of the solution" in Bahrain and His Majesty King Hamad is the "political centre of gravity" and "the indispensable element to the solution," Ereli said.
"What good does it do anybody to take issue with them? Why not work with them? It is stupid and short-sighted."
Relations between the US and Bahrain opposition were also strained, according to the ex-envoy.
"I think we've totally botched our approach and relationship with the opposition," he said.
"We have made things more difficult and I think that's what has contributed to the difficulties there."
Ereli said that although the Bahrain government has faced criticism from international human rights groups, Manama is currently facing a bigger challenge in terms of good governance and reconciliatory measures.
"My take is that it is a very difficult situation for everybody," he said.
"The government wants justice and peace and responsible governance and I think different parts of the population want reform at different speeds and reconciling all those different demands or expectations is complicated and challenging and frustratingly difficult."
When asked about current Ambassador Thomas Krajeski, who was criticised in an official report by the US State Department last month, Ereli said the diplomat was only doing his job.
"I think the current ambassador is carrying out US policy, like all ambassadors do," he said. - TradeArabia News Service