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Bahrain protests and Obama's 'drop by' diplomacy

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Credit: EFE/Mazen Mahdi/Newscom

(Read caption) Demonstrations erupted again in Bahrain June 3 during the funeral procession for a 63-year-old protester, Salman Isa abo Idreas.

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Of all the Middle East protests, Bahrain’s poses the most delicate test for President Obama.

The small kingdom is home to America’s Fifth Fleet and is of particular concern to Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, which regards the majority-Shiite protests in Bahrain as a proxy battle with Iran. Yet the government crackdown has been particularly brutal, even targeting women for torture.

No wonder then that Mr. Obama had to hide his meeting today with the Bahraini crown prince.

The president didn’t have the meeting on the official White House schedule. Yet he was able to “drop by” the office of National Security Advisor Tom Donilon just about the time a meeting began with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

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