COMMENTARY | “America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom,” President Barack Obama declared during Tuesday’s State of the Union address. “In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights,” he added.
But Obama’s policies and actions in the region belie a much uglier reality.
In Bahrain, where the al-Khalifa dynasty has ruled since the 1700s, regime forces brutally crushed a pro-democracy uprising, arresting, torturing and murdering protesters and children. Doctors and nurses who treated wounded demonstrators were tortured, forced to eat feces and tried for treason.
In neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world’s most repressive Islamic fundamentalist monarchy regularly arrests and tortures innocent people. Prisoners are often tortured into making false confessions. Executions, usually by public beheading, are common, with “crimes” like renouncing Islam, witchcraft, adultery and homosexuality resulting in execution.
Women’s rights are unheard of in the kingdom, where females cannot vote or even drive cars and are often severely punished for speaking to unrelated men. Rape victims are blamed for their attacks and sometimes publicly whipped.
It’s not just the Middle East– the Obama administration supports some of the world’s most brutal dictatorships. So much for “standing with citizens as they demand their universal rights.”