Free Forum Friday February 18 Edition

Egyptian Protesters

This past week was more about Egypt and the civil unrest in the rest of the Middle East. Mubarak finally conceded and left Cairo. And suddenly Wisconsin exploded in protest over a union busting bill put forth by the Governor.

CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was brutally assaulted. The steam appears to be running out of the Republican momentum as more of the agenda fails in the House. Gabby Giffords is recovering at breakneck speed. But this is open mic and you’re up next.

Free Forum Fridays are an open discussion where commenters are invited to bring up topics that may not have been covered in the previous week. Got something on your mind? Throw your opinion out there.

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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8 Responses to Free Forum Friday February 18 Edition

  1. Monotreme says:

    Reports on Twitter of an army-driven massacre in Bahrain. NY Times’ Nicholas Kristof reports army troops have entered hospital, shooting protesters, firing tear gas canisters.

  2. mclever says:

    The contrast between what happened in Egypt with the current situation in Bahrain is stunning, Monotreme.

    People can pooh-pooh Obama’s response to Egypt, but the one thing he made absolutely clear to the military was that violence against citizens was unacceptable to the United States. The Egyptian Army apparently got that message loud and clear.

    I don’t know what’s next for Bahrain, but violence against the people almost always signals a bad end.

  3. Bartbuster says:

    I hope we have started looking for a new home for the 5th Fleet.

  4. GROG says:

    People can pooh-pooh Obama’s response to Egypt, but the one thing he made absolutely clear to the military was that violence against citizens was unacceptable to the United States.

    Has the President also made that absolutely clear to the Bahraini military?

  5. mclever says:


    I am unaware of a particular relationship between the Bahraini military and the United States that might allow for such a point to be made with the same, um, conviction as it was made to the Egyptians who have a long history of cooperation and support from the United States.

  6. shortchain says:


    The Bahrain military is pretty small — consisting of about 6000 men. (Bahrain has a population of 1.2 million, so proportionally the military is pretty small in comparison to Egypt.) There’s not much information available on where they train, but their equipment comes from the US (paid for with money given to them for the purpose by the USA), Britain, France, and The Netherlands. In short, they don’t appear to have a close relationship with any western country. Not a conscription force, the military owes its allegiance to the crown, not to the country..

    They are under the direct control of the crown. The attack on the demonstrators was ordered directly from the top.

    It’s quite likely that the king of Bahrain figured that he can act with impunity, since he has a pact with the US (5th fleet, Straits of Hormuz, oil). I also wonder what Obama is supposed to do, say that we’ll just pick up and move our decades-old military base to, say, Pakistan or Yemen if King Hamad doesn’t reign in his military?

    We won’t know what the message to the king was until there’s another wikileaks cable dump…if then.

  7. mclever says:

    Thanks for the info, shortchain. Quite educational.

    I agree. We won’t know what Obama said to King Hamad unless (or until) there’s another wikileaks.

    Diplomacy is always a tricky business, where you have to imply what you want without ever saying it directly for fear of offense being taken and thus resulting in the opposite of what you want… Bill Clinton is the only politician in my memory who seemed to be the master of telling everyone what they want to hear all at the same time. His wife doesn’t share that skill to the same degree, but she’s doing as well as about anyone could be expected, and the current mid-east situation is probably trickier than anything Bill faced.

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