Connect to share and comment

A reported blog about all things Middle East and North Africa.

Who was behind one US paper's controversial Bahrain op-ed?

The story behind a dubious editorial on Bahrain, under criticism for rights abuses, in a Washington newspaper.
Bahrain washington opedEnlarge
Bahraini anti-government protesters run for cover from tear gas during clashes with riot police near the headquarters of the main Shiite opposition group, Al-Wefaq, in Zinj Village, west of Manama, on December 23, 2011. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

A powerful weapons manufacturer, a Washington newspaper and a repressive Gulf regime.

They all come together in today's important piece from Salon, which uncovers the story behind a fawning Op-Ed on Bahrain’s ruling sheikh in the right-leaning Washington Times on Nov. 30, 2011:

A top executive at Lockheed Martin recently worked with lobbyists for Bahrain to place an Op-Ed defending the nation’s embattled regime in the Washington Times — but the newspaper did not reveal the role of the regime’s lobbyists to its readers.

The episode shows, the piece continues:

… how Lockheed gave an assist to a major client — Bahrain has bought hundreds of millions of dollars of weapons from the company over the years – as it faces widespread criticism for human rights abuses against pro-democracy protesters.

Late last year, the US put the brakes on a $53 million arms deal with the Bahrain government following international pressure to halt the deal until Bahrain showed concrete steps toward reform. 

At least 30 people were killed in a violent crackdown on popular protests that began last February.


Featured Slideshow

Rio lagoon filled with 65 tons of dead fish

Heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro caused an ecological nightmare at the lagoon where Olympic rowing will take place in 2016, when 65 tons of dead fish were discovered earlier this week.