Moral Low Ground

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In America’s Ally Bahrain, State Security Forces Arrest, Badly Beat & Threaten to Rape Schoolgirls as Young as 12

Have you heard? We’re bombing the daylights out of Gaddafi again. Just hours after the Libyan strongman defiantly took to the airwaves in his first public appearance since NATO murdered his son and three of his grandchildren, the Atlantic alliance bombed his compound– again.

A little more than one month ago, US President Barack Obama delivered a rousing speech to explain why America and its NATO allies decided to wage war against the Libyan regime. Citing Gaddafi’s “brutal repression” and the fact that he was “attacking his people,” Obama and company let loose the dogs of war with self-righteous indignation.

But wait. The same crimes Obama listed as rationale for raining rockets, missiles and bombs on Libya are being committed over in Bahrain. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has responded to a popular, pro-democracy uprising by slaughtering his own people. Opposition figures have been arrested and tortured. Doctors and nurses who have treated injured protesters have been targeted with arrest and torture. Dozens of Shiite mosques have been demolished as the ruling Sunni minority ruthlessly attempts to crush all dissent.

Now comes a report from al-Jazeera that police have been raiding girls’ schools, arresting students as young as 12 years old, severely beating them, even threatening them with rape. Girls have been detained for as long as three days. “Heba,” age 16, told al-Jazeera:

“He [a policeman] hit me on the head, I started bleeding. I fell down, he told them [the guards] to keep me in the rest-room. [The officer] hit and banged me against the wall to scream. Since we did not cry out or scream, we were beaten more and more, stronger and stronger. Beating was severe, but being afraid of what comes next, we were senseless to the pain.”

 

The opposition party Al Wefaq claims police have raided as many as 15 mainly girls schools, arresting, beating and threatening sexual violence against girls, some of whom haven’t even entered puberty yet. Scores of teachers have also been rounded up.

Yet the Obama administration has barely uttered a peep of protest.

That’s because Bahrain is a valued US ally in the Persian Gulf, home of the US Navy 5th Fleet and a tiny yet potent bulwark against the perceived Iranian threat. Iran lies just across the Gulf from Bahrain.

Call it hypocrisy. Call it selective outrage. Call it realpolitik. Call it all of the above. Just don’t call on the United States to stand up for what is right unless doing so somehow enhances either its bottom line or its strategic position.

 

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