Ruling Family in Bahrain Curries Favor with Donald Trump to Pay for Its Previous Hillary Clinton Support

2017-01-26 - 12:45 ص

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The praise expressed by the Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa towards officials in US President Donald Trump's team comes after similar stances made by prominent members of the ruling Al Khalifa family in Bahrain, who had supported his opponent in the presidential elections Hillary Clinton.

In a series of tweets on his official Twitter account, the Bahraini FM described the appointment of the former Commander of Central Command James Mattis as Secretary of Defense as "great news," adding that the "war veteran" fought with Bahrain "against naked aggression," in reference to his participation in the Gulf war in 1991.

In another tweet, Al Khalifa said that "Kellyanne Conway is an impressive communicator."

It seems that the ruling family made a swift shift towards the Republican president Trump, as only less than month after Trump's victory in the election, the Bahraini Ambassador in Washington Abdullah bin Mohammad Al Khalifa held a celebratory event marking National Day at a Trump-owned hotel located near the Congress.

The ABC news network revealed that Bahraini officials moved their annual "Bahrain Day" celebration from the Ritz Carlton to the Trump Hotel. Michael Posner, who served until recently as the Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, called Bahrain an "increasingly intolerant government," where "essentially the political opposition has been outlawed." "The leader of the opposition is in jail and will be there for years," he said.

Posner further told ABC News he believes Bahrain and other countries are using misguided gestures, such as booking the Trump hotel ballroom, to try and build rapport with the next U.S. administration.

Prior to that, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa had sent a cable of congratulations to Hillary Clinton on accepting the nomination of the US Democratic Party in its general convention as the first woman in US history to run in presidential elections. The King lauded Clinton's "wealth of political experience which enabled her to reach this stage of the US presidential electoral race," wishing her more success.

The island kingdom is known for its close ties with Clinton, as it has made generous donations to the Clinton Foundation. IBTimes reported that released US Department of State documents appeared to show Clinton Foundation officials brokering a meeting between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Bahraini Crown Prince and top military leader Salman Al Khalifa, after Salman directed $32 million to a Clinton Foundation program.

The Washington Post; however, considered that "as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton had a wrongheaded policy on Bahrain and supported the regime while it cracked down on protesters and trampled its own people's human rights. But that folly had nothing to do with the Clinton Foundation; it was part of the Obama administration's overall muddled reaction to the Arab Spring."

Bahrain was fast to jump off the Clinton train immediately after the announcement of her loss in the presidential elections. The King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was quick to congratulate Donald Trump on becoming President of the United States of America. Hamad bin Isa expressed his "country's pride in the close historic ties with the US, which extend over more than 120 years." He also noted his country's keenness to open new levels of cooperation, in a way that promotes these strategic relations."

Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa expressed (December 13, 2016) his optimism about the new US Administration headed by President Donald Trump. "We know those who have been assigned so far in Trump's team and we have closely worked with them. I am optimistic about what's coming," said the Crown Prince during his participation in Fikr15 Conference in Abu Dhabi.

The very next day, King Hamad made a telephone call with Donald Trump and congratulated him on winning "the US people's trust in the recent presidential elections". The Bahrain News Agency stated that the King underlined deep-rooted historic and strategic relations between the two friendly countries, voicing keenness on further promoting them for the best interest of both countries.

The Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa also jumped on the bandwagon and stated that "with the new administration, led by President-elect Donald Trump, a new opportunity will be provided to bolster bilateral relations and build on them, given the fact that GCC countries, in general, and Bahrain, in particular, are allies and essential partners to the US in supporting security and stability across the region. Dealing with the new US administration should be based on this perspective to give priority to joint strategic interests."

BNA further reported the PM said "GCC-US relations, in general, and Bahraini-US ties, in particular, are deep-rooted, and that bilateral ties should be stronger and more stable."

In addition to statements of praise, leasing a Trump hotel ballroom for 100,000 US dollars seems like an attempt by the Gulf kingdom to curry favor with the new US administration. The new president; however, is facing serious criticism over the influence of such moves on his administration's policy. For his part, Congressman James McGovern expressed his deep concern regarding Bahrain's hosting of its 2016 Bahrain National Day celebration at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. In a letter sent to Trump (December 5, 2016), McGovern said that "there must be no question about whether the president's decisions are influenced by foreign businesses and governments."

"It is therefore deeply troubling that the government of Bahrain would be spending untold sums of money at a hotel that you are leasing from the federal government to host a major public event intended to influence US policy," he stressed.

It is no surprise that the ruling Family in Bahrain would make such endeavors, as they always opt for making financial "contributions" to whitewash Bahrain's bad image rather than opening the door for reconciliation with their own people. The question still remains: Will Trump give in to these cheap bribes or will he be less corrupt than his presidential election opponent Hillary Clinton, whose Foundation was described as the "most corrupt enterprise in political history."

Arabic Version    

التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع

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