VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 8/29/2011
Bahrain based politics Alexander Cooley and Daniel H. Nexon April 5, 2011 US Military Base in Bahrain: The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet -- which brings with it several thousand onshore personnel and dependents, about 30 warships, and roughly 30,000 sailors -- has its headquarters in Juffair, a suburb of Bahrain's capital, Manama. The Fifth Fleet patrols the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, the western part of the Indian Ocean, and the Persian Gulf, ensuring that sea-lanes remain open, protecting the flow of oil, conducting anti-piracy operations, and acting as a check against Iran's regional influence. Bahrain also hosts the United States' Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) -- the maritime component to the U.S. Central Command -- and offers U.S. forces the Isa Air Base and space at Bahrain International Airport. Whn US made his military base in Bahrain??? *The U.S. military maintained a low profile in Bahrain until the 1990 Persian Gulf crisis, when the country acted as a major naval base that hosted 20,000 U.S. troops and served as a hub for air operations against Iraq in Operation Desert Storm. After the war ended, in 1991, Washington and Manama negotiated a ten-year Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), and four years later the U.S. military's footprint expanded when Bahrain became the headquarters of the Fifth Fleet and NAVCENT. In 2001, the United States renewed the DCA. In addition to a $6.7 million annual lease payment, the United States now provides Bahrain with military aid -- ranging from $6 million in 2006 to $18 million in 2010 -- and security pledges. Present Bahrain Movement & Shia Element: *. Shiites comprise 60-70 percent of the country's 500,000 citizens (another 500,000 are foreign workers), yet they currently enjoy little political representation and few economic opportunities. US Concerns: And the question of whether Bahraini security forces used U.S. military hardware and equipment against protesters remains open, as Washington and Manama have launched investigations into the conduct of the security services. These developments have raised concerns that regime change in Bahrain will lead to the eviction of U.S. forces. *US experience in different Middle East Countries: Kyrgyzstan experience: In Kyrgyzstan last year, accusations that the United States had been too accommodating toward President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was forced out of office that April, put the fate of the critical U.S. military's Manas Air Base in jeopardy. Uzbekistan experience: In Uzbekistan, human rights groups now accuse U.S. officials of dampening their criticism of the government in order to safeguard U.S. supply routes through the country to Afghanistan. Djibouti, hostto the largest U.S. military base in Africa, may prove the next flash point in the Middle East; its president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, recently arrested major opposition leaders and cancelled a U.S. election-monitoring mission. In the Persian Gulf, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait all host U.S. military installations, although none has faced mass protests along the lines of those that emerged in Bahrain. Global lanscape (manzarnamo) is changing & US interst r undermined (weakened): (1) Awareness of masses; One shift is that people are more aware than ever before of the activities of U.S. . From Ecuador to Japan to Kyrgyzstan, U.S. military bases have quickly become sources of contention when opposition leaders and activists politicize the U.S. presence. Reason: satellite television, blogs, and social media have made it harder to keep the U.S. basing footprint quiet. . Thts happening in Bahrain; In the wake of the crackdown in Bahrain, Shia-backed regional groups, such as the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq, have called for retaliation against U.S. troops and military installations. (2) International political movements; Further complicating base politics are transnational political movements, which can overwhelm the traditional U.S. policy of promoting incremental political reform in authoritarian partners. . Eurasian Example; A few years ago, the so-called color revolutions diffused across Eurasia. Although the revolutions resulted in pro-U.S. regimes in Ukraine and Georgia, by throwing a light on the authoritarian practices of Washington's allies in Central Asia, they also politicized U.S. basing arrangements in the region. . Uzbek Example; Following Western criticism of the Uzbek government's crackdown on demonstrators in May 2005, Uzbek President Islam Karimov became concerned that the United States was plotting another regional regime change. In July 2005, the government of Uzbekistan evicted the U.S. military from its facility at Karshi-Khanabad, a disturbance that continues to complicate U.S. basing arrangements in Central Asia. Impact of such movements: When political movements like these arise, as they now have in the Arab world, the United States cannot count on being able to distance its bases simultaneously from unpopular host government policies and elite fears across host countries that Washington is ready to throw its autocratic friends under the bus. RECOMENDATIONS FOR US: (1) First, they should create broader constituencies for the continued presence of the U.S. military in host countries. How? In Bahrain, this means U.S. policymakers should do their best to ensure that the Shia community garners economic benefits from the naval base and its related facilities, rather than allowing those benefits to be monopolized by a handful of elites. (2) Second, Washington needs to avoid thinking about its basing arrangements in terms of a simple trade-off between pragmatism and idealism.
Pages to are hidden for
"politics"Please download to view full document