6 Comments
  • jaddwilliam
    15 August 2006

    I gave up, Mahmood! God knows how much many of us tried and failed. Now I guess I konw the reason why Bahraini government does not celeberate Independence Day. With the HQs of US 5th Fleet stationed in Bahrain, and US unrestricted use of Sh. Isa airforce base, our government simply knows that the country is not independent. For once I think the government is right.
    Until the real day comes, many happy returns.
    AbuRasool

  • Anonymous
    15 August 2006

    This is totally true. Independence means that the country is free to express its opinions freely. The Ruling family is only a poppet for the US.

    Even the Helal we depend on Saudia arabia…

    May be Bahrain is free in suppressing the people, while before the “independence day” the British were the suppressors. It makes sense.

  • mahmood
    15 August 2006

    Abu Rasool, do you really think that positioning a military base in Bahrain takes away from its sovereignty? If it does, then what about the much bigger bases in Germany, Turkey, Qatar and the rest of the world?

    I tend to think of it as a service rendered, they do pay rent and the agreement (which neither of us are party to I think) would probably specify non-interference in local issues.

    And then if the Americans are here to bolster the Al-Khalifa rule, I would have thought there would be some sort of Senate approved document which by now should have already been made public due to the Access to Information laws in the States and should be easy enough to find. I never saw anything of the sort mentioned, so I would assume that it is just not present.

    So the question, respectfully, is: are you being too pedantic with this issue? Or do you have more insights which you can share that can change my (and others) mind on the issue?

  • CerebralWaste
    15 August 2006

    Happy 35th Independence Day Bahrain!

    Can’t wait till I return.

    ciao!
    m

  • Gizmo
    15 August 2006

    Independence? I will have to disagree with you on this one, when the king and the whole goverment dramaticaly reforms, giving us the right to worship what ever we please, the right to sxpress our voices without anyf fear, thats independence my friend.

  • jaddwilliam
    16 August 2006

    You are right it sounds pedantic. That was not my intention.

    My answer is yes to the first question on whether positioning a military base in a country, any country that is, takes away from its sovereignty.

    The answer to the second question is more problematic.
    Here is the shortest (?) 🙂 answer I can manage. The amount of sovereignty lost by letting some foreign power station its forces in your territory depends on how strong is your state.
    A relatively strong states such as Germany and Turkey lose less than say Bahrain or Qatar when all the four allow the US to establish bases on their territories. The former two can and do have a say in how bases in their territories are used. Turkey for example did not grant permission for the US to use its Turkish bases during the recent Gulf wars. Or, you can compare in this regard the protests by British Foreign Office re: use of American bases in Britain to rush Amarican smart bombs to Israel, to the no reaction to the same news by a meek and week state like Qatar. In other word, while loss of some parts of a state’s sovereignty is inevitable weaker states lose most. The question is alway how much. On a scale of say a hundred, Qatar would score five or less while Germany would score 90 or more (this is speculative statement and is not based on empirical evidence…).

    A longer answer would take up the neo-leftist discussions (from 1960s and 1970s) on the ‘relative autonomy of states’ in the world order that evolved in the aftermath of World War II. The core argument may be summed up in that levels of dependency generate loss of corresponding levels of autonomy.
    Alternative longer answer would take up some of the current discussions in mainstream political science on the’limited sovereignty of states’ as a result the current phase of globalisation. One suggestion here is that current forms of globalization (economic, trade, communication, politics, and so on) invariably transcend the regulatory reach of most national governments. Weak states, i.e. including those whose legitimacy questioned and/or under attack, are also the ones with most limitations of their right to sovereignty.

    I must stop here because I donot think you want this or that longer answers.

    You also raise an important points re the role of the American bases in bolstering the Al-Khalifa regime. I agree.

    Among many others, I have had heated discussions on the issue of US military base with Mohammad bin Mubarak, the most intelligent of the lot at the time. Our then foreign minister, duubed by some media as the Kissinger of the Gulf, went repeatedly on record with lies stating it was not a base but rather ‘facilities’… Tasheelaat. Many believed him and thanked him for getting the country the sume of U$ 4 million per year for leasing Jufair. But that was the good old 1970s. In 1990, a much worse US-Bahrain military agreement was signed. That is one reason why we continue to warn against the dangers of the base to our own and the region’s safety and on the country’s sovereignty.

    Information on US-Bahrain military relations is both abundant and available even before the Freedom of Information Act. In 1978, I published a slim book on Takdees al-Asliha fi al-Khaleej where I quoted several Congress (Senate) Hearnings on US presence in our region as well as some related Senate’s Staff Reports. It has been a long time since I dealt with the issue seriously. People interested in historical data may find relevant information in Cordesman’s two decades old book ’The Gulf and the search for Strategic Stability …’ (1984) I am also advised that the writings of Sami Hajjar of NESA provide useful updates. (check this for example
    http://www.gulfinvestigations.net/IMG/pdf/ssi-us_presence_in_gulf.pdf

    AbuRasool

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