Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) strongly supports the recent letter sent to President Barack Obama by Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) calling for the U.S. government to reconsider designating Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates as major non-NATO allies (MNNA). While maintaining a close relationship with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is vital to U.S. security and economic interests in the region, these particular countries have an alarming record of human rights violations. These governments’ continued ignorance of their citizens’ calls for representative governance, coupled with the ongoing arrest of human rights activists and members of the opposition and civil society, serves to further undermine the legitimacy of GCC monarchies and has the potential to increase local instability.
As the Congressmen rightly noted, conferring MNNA status to these GCC states will not incentivize reform, but only frustrate the long-term national security interests of the United States in fostering stability in the region. ADHRB joins Congressman Johnson and Congressman McGovern in urging the President to reconsider naming Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates as U.S. major non-NATO allies until each country takes substantial steps towards implementing true democratic reform.
Read the full text of the letter below or click here for a PDF.