[T]he United States remains heavily dependent on its military presence in Bahrain to both deter Iran and guard the sea commons in and out of the Persian Gulf. Coordination and partnership with the regime is thus necessary. But the United States knows that the continued political repression and disenfranchisement of Bahrain's Shiite majority can only lead to disaster down the road, perhaps resulting in a radicalized opposition hostile to a United States seen as having been complicit in the crimes of the current regime. So U.S. policymakers walk a tightrope.
(Photo: A Bahraini Shiite Muslim sprays the word 'Freedom' on a wall during a rally to show their solidarity with Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja, a prisoner who began his hunger strike 74 days ago, in the village of Jidhafs, West Manama on April 24, 2012. By STR/AFP/Getty Images.)