President Obama's strong words in Nairobi about civil society haven't been matched during similar trips to Riyadh, despite the Saudi Arabian government's violent repression of human rights. This double standard does immense damage to the U.S. government's credibility in the world, stifling its international capacity to lead on human rights.
Bahrain still needs a radical, inclusive settlement to its political crisis to get itself off the path of repression and polarization. Shuffling political dissidents in and out of jail isn't real reform. By freeing all its political dissidents, it can begin to open a real dialogue about the country's future.
Since 2012, at least 600 people have been killed in Kenya by terrorist group al Shabab, including at least 67 at Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall in 2013 and 148 at Garissa University College in April 2015. There have been attacks in the coastal area and in other parts of the country. However, police corruption destroys trust in the government's ability to fight terrorism properly.
For too many opposition figures in the kingdom there's no Hollywood ending, no escape from Bahrain's miserable system of injustice, fake charges, and show trials. The country's judges show few signs of independence from the ruling family, and too often follow a dangerous political script that Washington should be trying to do everything it can to stop.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has issued decrees removing his half-brother, Prince Muqrin, as Crown Prince and replacing him with Mohammed bin Nayef. Bin Nayef has been described as "America's favorite Saudi official." It is a description that points to a contradiction at the heart of U.S. policy in the region.