Admiral Mike Mullen paid a visit to the King of Bahrain on Thursday.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff meets Thursday with Bahrain’s KThe streets of the diplomatic area were quiet Thursday night as Adm. Mike Mullen met with Bahrain’s King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa to discuss the political unrest here, offering reassurances from one military to another…
A picture of Mullen meeting the king was a front page, full color feature for the English-language Daily Times, under the bold headline: “U.S reiterates full backing for Bahrain.”
Mullen’s spokesman, Capt. John Kirby, said the chairman solicited the king’s viewpoint and “thanked [him for] the very measured way in which they’ve been handling the popular crisis here.”
You might remember that just a week before, Bahraini forces shot and killed unarmed protesters, a move Mullen “decried” according to the DoD.
But hey, according to Stars and Stipes, there’s really nothing to see here now:
“Except for the media, we almost wouldn’t know that these things are going on,” said Lt. Col. Mark Duffen, deputy current operations officer.
None of it has been directed against the U.S. presence, Duffen said, and some personnel think that the larger pro-government rallies nearer the American base have been ignored by Western media favoring the populist uprisings.
Too bad Mullen was at the Navy base the next day – if he’d been in downtown Manama, this is what he would have seen.
The protesters in Bahrain have been quite clear. They will not even enter into negotiations with the Bahraini government until some very basic conditions are met:
Bahrain’s anti-government camp is calling for a genuine constitutional democracy in which “the royal family is no longer a ruling family, but just a royal family”, says Ibrahim Sharif, leader of the secular-liberal Wa’ad party and the most prominent Sunni member of the opposition.
The protesters are requesting a new prime minister who is popularly elected and a bicameral parliament – with newly enhanced powers – that is fully elected. Currently, the upper house of parliament is selected by the king and dominates the lower house, elected by the people as per the 2002 constitution.
And the mass marches continued again today.
Talk about being on the wrong side of history Admiral Mullen.
One interesting additional note. Stars and Stripes also mentions that:
U.S. Central Command had its Marines stand up a forward command post here in November with a bigger headquarters and plans for more Marines to come. Much of what they will do remains classified…