LuLu: Ok, setting aside the Washington Institute's history of advocating super insane policies of the neo-conservative right wing in the US, this is rather interesting [someone is watching closely, I suppose]:
A Stalled State?
Yet, any hope that the prime minister, now age seventy-two, might retire appears premature. Khalifa is already taking advantage of the king's absence (Hamad visited London before traveling to Washington). For example, he told the cabinet yesterday that no effort would be spared to "seek alternatives and find solutions" to counter soaring prices, showing his political skills with promises of a onetime payment to low-income families and the establishment of special centers to ensure proper distribution.
President Bush and the king will also likely discuss terrorism-related issues. Although the island is not a major hub of international terrorist activity, authorities did recently uncover and prosecute an al-Qaeda cell there. The sentence was unfortunately light, but the president should nevertheless applaud the king for the investigation and encourage him to continue aggressive action against such activity (for more information on the al-Qaeda case, see PolicyWatch no. 1345).
Iranian issues have ruffled the U.S.-Bahraini relationship at times. Last November, for example, embarrassment resulted when Crown Prince Salman gave an interview declaring that Iran was seeking nuclear weapons, just weeks before the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate reported the opposite. Tehran would probably love to exploit any such rifts and sever the island's longstanding relationship with Washington. It likely views the uncertain state of internal Bahraini politics as an opportunity as well. Accordingly, Washington should use tomorrow's meeting as a starting point for greater vigilance toward its relations with a vital regional partner.