The Washington Post

Bahrain official wants U.S. ambassador out ‘immediately’

Thomas C. Krajeski (Photo: Department of State) Thomas C. Krajeski (Photo: Department of State)

Most folks in this country probably don’t know much about Bahrain. After all, it’s only about 293 square miles (a little over four times the size of  the District) and, with a population of about 1.3 million (more than half of them immigrants), is only slightly larger than Dallas.

But it is strategically located in the Persian Gulf just off the coast of Saudi Arabia and 150 miles across the gulf from Iran. The Navy’s Fifth Fleet is headquartered there and it lets the United States use two major airfields. Then there’s the $1.4 billion in military sales to the kingdom each year. On the other hand, there are the violent demonstrations by majority Shiites against the ruling Sunni monarchy for the last three years.

Balancing human rights concerns and the need for military cooperation with the government makes for a very tricky diplomatic task.

So when Abdullatif al-Mahmood, head of the National Unity Assembly (a  political group that’s part of a Sunni-oriented pro-government political federation) demands the “immediate” recall of U.S. Ambassador Tom Krajeski, Gulf Daily News reported Monday, attention perforce must be paid. And when the demand results from a quite negative State inspector general’s report last week, even more attention might be forthcoming.

The report dinged Krajeski for, among other things, “his lack of access to some key government officials, his poor media image, and the lack of an effective strategy to address these issues have created friction with principal officials in Washington.” And there’s his “disdain for planning.”

State Department spokesman Marie Harf on Friday at a briefing said department officials were “reviewing the report” and would respond formally to the IG. She said State agreed “with some of the recommendations” in the report and “we disagree with others.” She also praised Krajeski, a 35-year foreign service veteran and former ambassador to Yemen, as “qualified, highly capable,.” “We have full confidence in his leadership,” Harf said.

In a response to our  inquiry regarding the National Unity Assembly’s demand for a recall, Harf, in an e-mail, repeated the department’s “full confidence in Ambassador Krajeski” and added, “we don’t expect that to change at all.”

So sounds like no recall. 



Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect tonight
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the state of drinking water in Flint, Mich. Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.