It looks like the British Empire is making a comeback.
Almost 47 years after the small island in the Persian Gulf gained independence from Britain, the UK armed forces are returning to Bahrain.
Starting in 2019, at least one of the Royal Navy’s Type-23 frigates will be based out of the new £40 million ($53.5 million) National Support Facility at Mina Salman, establishing what UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson called an “enduring presence.”
Last month, the facility was ceremonially opened on the island by representatives of the two monarchies: Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and Prince Andrew, Duke of York (who is allegedly more partial to Caribbean islands filled with captive underaged girls than ones which implement Sharia law.).
Bahrain is monarchy where the king and his family, who are Arab Sunni Muslims, hold virtually all power, while the majority of the island’s people are Shia Muslims, many of Persian ancestry, who endure discrimination and are effectively without political franchise.
The regime is a close ally of Saudi Arabia and the United States against Iran.
From 2011 to 2014, pro-democracy protests in Bahrain, part of the “Arab Spring,” left nearly 100 people dead at the hands of regime security forces, with thousands more wounded or imprisoned.
But that’s apparently of little concern to the British government, which like the US, obviously views the Bahraini regime as a vital ally against Iran – a country with democratic multi-party elections and where women vote, hold public office, have equal rights to education and have all vocations open to them except the judiciary.
(In fact, Iran, even with its theocratic Supreme Leader, is as least as much a democracy as the UK, with its head-of-state a monarch who inherits the throne, a legally entrenched nobility and an unelected upper house.)
British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson spoke of the new base at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Sea Power conference on May 24th, warning that “liberty, justice and tolerance are under attack from every angle” and that therefore, London must again extend its influence in the world, “[to] shine the beacon of democracy that so many nations have always looked to Britain for.”
Williamson didn’t mention specifically which nations had “looked to Britain” as a “beacon of democracy” – whether any part of Africa, India, China, Ireland, or the Americas might furnish examples, we leave to the judgement of the historically informed reader.
At any rate, for the UK – a former world power maintaining a globalist foreign policy steeped in hypocritical rhetoric and unjustified hubris – there is apparently no better ally in the fight for “liberty, justice, and tolerance” than a despotic near-absolute monarchy which oppresses, kills, and jails its own people.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.