While there is no doubt that scrutinizing how the Bahrain embassy is run is a useful exercise, the real problem that the State Department needs to address is how that embassy fits into a wider push for human rights and the rule of law.
Parallels between present-day Bahrain and the Northern Ireland of a generation ago are not new but there's an obvious lesson from what happened there 40 springs ago.
Bahrain is adopting a version of the old Cold War tactic: cast democracy activists as "Communists," and force the Unites States to choose between loyalty to repressive regimes or alignment with a movement for rights with suspect friends.
Unfortunately, it is less a celebration than an ongoing struggle to resist the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, whose family has ruled the small Persian Gulf Island of one million people for more than 200 years.
While the protests were not and are not primarily sectarian, with Sunnis and Shias both demonstrating for democracy and human rights, Sunni control of the government and disproportionate representation in the security forces gives the tension a sectarian edge.
The Saudis now fear that if the Syrian civil war is allowed to continue it will eventually reach its own territory. And given the manner in which the fundamentalist jihadis are spreading it is not an impossibility. All the reason more to stop this war sooner rather than later.
Bahrain needs to drop politically motivated charges against opposition figures, include jailed leaders in negotiations, and hold to account those responsible for torture and other human rights violations.
Despite the obvious benefits, development has its challenges. We are seeing increasing numbers of young people who have so much that their motivation is falling.
Bahrain has detained a soccer team as well as scores of other players and athletes since security forces squashed a popular uprising almost three years ago, according to human rights activists, journalists and officials.
False claims of reform by the Bahrain government are exposed by its continuing failure to hold its torturers to account. As political polarization increases, its economy weakens, and its protests become more violent, Bahrain appears to be sliding towards greater instability.
In Bahrain, physicians remain imprisoned during the holidays simply for doing their job. Turkey is considering a bill that seeks to criminalize emergency medical care. And in Syria, the attacks against physicians have reached such epidemic proportions as to constitute war crimes, exacerbating an already massive humanitarian and human rights crisis.
Gulf states are lining up as targets for criticism by international trade unions and human rights groups for their treatment of foreign workers.
The Iran threat might not disappear but it might just matter less, taking away a trump card for Bahrain. This in turn could encourage the State Department to take a more vigorous diplomatic approach in pushing for reform in Bahrain. The Bahrain regime could turn out to be a major loser from a thaw with Iran.
The first blow came with news Jan Keulen, director of the Doha Center for Media Freedom (DCMF), was told he was canned, with no reason given for his d...
As the eulogies for Nelson Mandela begin to appear, it's the perfect moment to reflect on how the U.S. responded to his calls to end apartheid. Today, just as during the bleak days of apartheid, oppressive regimes imprison and harass human rights activists, Mandela's spiritual heirs.
Repeated claims by the Bahrain government that it is on the path to reform and stability don't match the reality of a regime that is taking increasingly repressive measures, including new targeting of human rights defenders.