Libya vs Bahrain
Libya and Bahrain has been in the limelight in recent times because of the civilian unrest in both these Arab countries. Both Libya and Bahrain have been resorting to state led violence to crush the peaceful demonstrations of pro-democracy forces. But it is Libya that has been the target and US and its western allies have begun air strikes against the regime of Colonel Gaddafi and his supporters while at the same time turning a blind eye to what has been going on in Bahrain. The crackdown on protestors in Bahrain, and Yemen has only been criticized in words by the US administration, and no action is being taken or even mulled.
No one has the clue as to why the US is adopting double standards to the same problem in the two Arab countries. But according to some experts, the reason is obvious. Bahrain has been a long standing ally of the US and has even allowed the US to have a large US naval base in its territory, while Libya has been vociferous opponent of US policies in the Arab world and always posed awkward questions to the US administration. The lukewarm response to the demonstrations by pro democracy supporters in Bahrain is also influenced in part because of the presence of Saudi Arabia, which has long been a trusted ally and friend of the US.
Saudi Arabia did not like what happened in Egypt. It was a blow to lose the Sunni monarch Hosni Mubarak in its neighborhood and so this time Saudi Arabia took and unprecedented step of sending thousands of its troops to crush the protestors in Bahrain. Some people were of the view that finally the US was backing its words with actions when Obama administration backed the protestors in Egypt. Obama talked about universal values to back the protestors and abandoned an old ally in Hosni Mubarak, which led many to believe that the US would adopt a similar stance in the case of Bahrain also.
But if one were to look into its long history, one would find that though the US has been preaching democratic values in all parts of the world, it has openly backed dictators whenever their presence suited its own interests. It all boils down to its interests and these interests have come to the surface with the uprising in Bahrain. Washington is taking a more cautious and a measured approach to the same problem that eventually led to removal of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. It is clear that the US would take country by country approach and not back its words with actions where its interests are being jeopardized.
Also, there are growing concerns of Iran making the most of the situation if Sunni monarch I Bahrain is toppled in Bahrain. Many believe that the unrest in Bahrain is a handiwork of Iran and Hezbollah and that it is trying to cause unrest in Bahrain to pressurize the US into taking action against the protestors in Bahrain so that it could project US as an enemy of the Muslims, especially the Sunnis all over the world.
Having seen the removal of the rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, rest of the Arab rulers have awoken to the problem and are showing an inclination to use force to crush the protestors, and the US is not willing to take a bigger risk and distance its oil rich allies in the Arab world.