The Orwellian regime in Manama continues to round up people for the most minor of "offences". Last month, for example, the 20-year-old university student Ayat al-Qarmezi was arrested, assaulted and sentenced to a year in prison – by a military court – for reading out a poem criticising the king at a rally.
Yet western leaders and journalists continue to callously avert their eyes. Those who itched to drop bombs on Libya have little to say about Bahrain – Misrata, yes; Manama, no. Bahrain is "complicated", say our leaders. It isn't. A king has turned his security forces on his own subjects. And the reason the US hasn't come out against him is as cynical as it is simple: Sunni-led Bahrain is a strategic ally of the US, a counterweight to Shia-led Iran, and home to the US navy's fifth fleet. Syria isn't. Neither is Libya.