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SOS Hillary Rodham Clinton to Travel to Bahrain in December

November 24, 2010

There is more travel in Secretary Clinton’s immediate future. She will be heading the US delegation to the Manama Dialogue hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies

US Secretary of state Hilary Clinton will head the US delegation to the Manama Dialogue, the annual conference on security held in Bahrain in December, a senior official said.

“In Washington earlier this month, I was delighted to learn that it is the intention of the US Secretary of state Hilary Clinton to lead a very significant and broad-ranging delegation to the 2010 Manama Dialogue to be held this December,” John Chipman, the head of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and co-sponsor of the conference, said. “The Manama Dialogue is now in its seventh year and maturing, into the only region-wide forum that encourages active defence and security diplomacy between the key actors of this Gulf region, its immediate Middle East neighbours, and the powers of North America, Europe and Asia who have a growing stake in this vibrant area,” Chipman said at the opening of the IISS-Middle East in Bahrain, yesterday.

The office is set to serve as a base for the institute’s research programmes and activities throughout the region, as well as be a connection to IISS initiatives in Europe, North America and Asia.

Hilary Clinton’s participation in the conference will be the first by a senior US civil official since it was first held in December 2004.

The US has been traditionally represented by military officials, mainly Defence Secretary Robert Gates who used the high-profile gathering to highlight his country’s policy in the region.

Iran has also used the Manama Dialogue to emphasise its policy towards the countries in the area and press for the departure of foreign powers. However, Iran missed the international get-together in 2007 and 2008, but attended last year.

“I hope that the work of the IISS-Middle East in Bahrain can help us understand more deeply how best to address the numerous challenges we face,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s foreign minister, said. “This will help us ultimately bring about peace, security, stability and prosperity to the whole region while safeguarding the key tenets of our society and values: an open market economy, an open society that ensures economic and social development, the importance of democracy, the rule of law, and civic rights and freedoms.”

According to the veteran diplomat, the Bahrain office will a remarkable research centre where “independent, high-quality research and analysis, and candid discussions with visiting dignitaries, thinkers, business leaders and fellows will be of tremendous value in helping to inform thinking and future strategies on geopolitical and strategic issues.”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. filipino-american4hrc permalink
    November 25, 2010 9:34 am

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Not wishing to ruin your celebration, but I couldn’t let this pass — more proxy wars, this time in Uganda:

    US President Barack Obama has outlined a plan to disarm one of Africa’s most feared rebel militias, the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army.

    It aims to defuse the spiralling bloodshed in central Africa by removing the LRA’s leader, Joseph Kony.

    LRA fighters will also be encouraged to defect or lay down their arms.

    US ally Uganda has for more than 20 years failed to defeat the LRA, notorious for kidnapping children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves. . .

    “Barack Obama’s plan to defeat Ugandan LRA rebels” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11837310)

    I would be interested to read about your — Stacy’s and other regulars in this blog — thoughts on the matter. Does this fall under justifiable intervention? Or is it time for the US to be a little more isolationist? I would normally support any military intervention that prevents the spread of these kinds of rebel groups, but recent history has already given us enough examples of how US intervention can actually worsen the situation. On the other hand, doing nothing also has its downside. I don’t know. . .

    • Steve permalink
      November 25, 2010 1:18 pm

      We seem to be addicted to militarization and I’ve become cynical. While our men and women are dying in unnecessary wars that have no clear end in sight, military defense contractors are making billions off these conflicts. It sounds really twisted, but peace is a dirty word to them. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I think war is good business and there are some people that will do almost anything to make sure peace never breaks out. Same thing goes for Israel. Defense is a huge part of their economy and peace would hurt their bottom line.

      If we go into Uganda, why not rescue all the hundreds of thousands in Congo? Or why don’t we go kick ass in Sudan? Usually we don’t enter into a conflict unless we are concerned about natural resources or we are worried that anti-American leaders will end up in power. Very rarely, if ever, do humanitarian concerns play into it although our govt likes us to think that’s a reason. Look at Iraq- we’ve caused more violence, diplacement and ethnic cleansing than Saddam did! Despite the rosy assessment from our govt. the word on the ground is that Iraqi govt is unforgivably corrupt and heavily influenced by Iran. Now we want to take care of Iran, who has been emboldened and empowered SPECIFICALLY because of our destabilization of the region (Iraq). But being American means never having to say you are sorry. If the media had any balls they would ask a General or the President about some of this- how we justify these continued wars when we’ve killed more civilians than the dictators we deposed.

      Happy Thanksgiving everyone, LOL. No, I really mean it!

    • November 25, 2010 5:04 pm

      I saw this and I have to say, there does seem to be something wrong with spending trillions and trillions on wars that seem to just fuel anti-American sentiment and create more terrorists but the Congress won’t extend unemployment for people who lost their jobs- many through no fault of their own. We’ll spend billions on corrupt defense contracts but spending federal money on infrastructure or health care is deemed socialism. The defense lobby is out of control. I’m not in favor of total isolationism but the idea that we can get rid of every single terrorist just doesn’t pass the smell test. I also think we have a responsibility to our own people.

      This is a good article about how Obama has overseen even more militarization:

      http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/11/23/war.afghan/index.html

  2. KFM permalink
    November 25, 2010 4:46 pm

    Steve is right and the cheerleaading to attack Iran gets louder from the neocons. I don’t get it. How can ANYONE take these people seriously? The same people who lied through their teeth about Iraq now want us to believe them about Iran?

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=196649

    Of course the only reason we are even talking about Iran is b/c Israel won’t shut the hell up about it. Never mind the US f#cked up big time in the ’70’s by overthrowing Iran’s leaders, installing the Shah of Iran which led to the Islamic Revolution. Just as with Al Qaeda, Hamas and the Taliban, here is yet another problem we created. Thank God most Americans don’t know any of this though or else they might start holding the govt accountable.

    As you said, the dirty little secret is that in addition to killing possibly over 100,000 civilians we’ve made Iran more powerful than ever before because previously Saddam had kept them in check. He hated the Mullahs which is why it was so ridiculous for Bush/Cheney to say Saddam was working with AQ- he hated them too! Americans really are clueless when it comes to foreign policy. This week we learned that most of the Taliban in Afghanistan hadn’t ever heard of 9/11 and we know that there are only about 50 or so Al Qaeda operatives there- something this admin. has had to admit. Oh, and Iraq is now crawling with Al Qaeda which were never in that country before.

    I think everyone who supported the Iraq War- whether they are members of Congress or just ordinary folks, should have to do a tour of duty there. Anyone who supports war with Iran on behalf of Israel should sign them and their kids up. Talk is cheap, time to pony up and walk the walk!

  3. filipino-american4hrc permalink
    November 26, 2010 1:58 am

    Steve, Stacy and KFM, thanks for your response. I have been wrestling with this myself in the sense that, back when the slaughter in the Balkans and later Rwanda were happening, I supported humanitarian intervention, and watched with horror as the Indonesian military and their militias scorched the earth in East Timor in 1999, while the US and NATO were alternating between Kosovo and Iraq, and otherwise looking elsewhere. But since I’ve also been suspicious of any US enthusiasm for intervention — however rationalized — I’ve always thought a UN-led multinational force should take the lead. But, of course, we know having the blue flag fly over peacekeeping forces does not guarantee that peace and security will actually reign (as we see in DRC right now). You’re right, Steve — seldom do humanitarian reasons become the overarching rationale for US intervention, whether it’s Darfur, DRC, Rwanda, East Timor or Iraq during Saddam’s Al-Anfal Campaign against Kurdish people.

    And KFM, I completely agree with your points on Saddam’s relationship with the mullahs and AQ. I will go one step further and say, this is one example of why I don’t believe in imposing Western-style democracy. Saddam may have been brutal despot — and there are many more like him who just did not get the same kind of attention because the US chose not to shine a light on them (like Haiti’s father and son tandem Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier, or Ferdinand Marcos) — but I’ve always believed that unless resistance to tyranny is homegrown and rooted in people’s lives and aspirations, the US will only end up spawning tribalism and failed states. The best contrast, to my mind, is Cuba. No matter what we may think of Castro from 1959 to 2010, one cannot deny that the Cuban revolution was deeply rooted, and even if its ideals may have been corrupted or shed over five decades, no one can honestly say that the Cuban people want to change their system into free-wheeling capitalism because if they did, the US would have already succeeded in overthrowing Castro whether through Bay of Pigs or the embargo. Now, Cuba is slowly evolving with selective economic and political liberalization; how far they will go should be left to them.

    Stacy, re the defense lobby, when we have both parties sucking up to the defense industry, it’s time to create a third party. But since that is an uphill battle, I would gamble in pushing for the reinstitution of the draft (which Charlie Rangel was sponsoring). If this still does not create huge outrage and compel the US to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, then at least the draft will compel the sons of the well-to-do and well-connected to go off and know what it’s like to be deployed (I’ve been revisiting Bobby Kennedy lately, hence such thoughts). And I know they will be forced to suit up (even if they are limited to battle-field reporting the way Al Gore was in Vietnam) because the rightwing nuts will use the media to stir up populist outrage should the well-connected evade their patriotic duties (snark).

  4. June 22, 2013 10:41 am

    That smile that lights up the room.

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