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Remember Mubarak?

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And for the coup de grace -- making Parliament more democratic. Parliament has ratified amendments to Bahrain's constitution, with the monarch-led government hoping the new measures will defuse turmoil in the strategic Gulf state.

Opposition groups dismissed the extra powers given to parliament on Thursday as not enough, describing the moves as merely symbolic.

"The process of reform that marked the beginning of my tenure in power will not stop," said the Sunni monarch who succeeded to the throne of the Shia-majority kingdom in 1999.

"We hope in this important period that all forces and groups will assess their actions and join the process of progress and reforms," he said.

"Doors remain open to dialogue, which is aimed at achieving a national accord," he added, alluding to the Shia-led opposition that spearheaded months of pro-democracy protests that were crushed with deadly force in March last year.

According to the amendments, the king now has to consult the heads of the elected parliament and the appointed Consultative Council before dissolving the legislature.

The elected chamber alone now has the right to vote to withhold its co-operation from the prime minister and refer its decision to the king, who then has the final choice on whether to dismiss the premier or keep him in post.

But the amendments fall far short of the demands of the opposition, which has been pushing for an elected government and the scrapping of the appointed   upper house.

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"The king remains the one to appoint and dismiss the government," said Abdul Jalil Khalil, a leading member of the main Shia opposition group, Al-Wefaq.

The opposition wants "a single-chamber parliament that is elected, just as   the constitution of 1973 stipulated", he added.

So:   So far, the US has given Bahrain a giant get-out-of-jail-free card. All the signs point to our State Department being snookered by the King and all his trappings.

But how long ago was it the US was trying to show solidarity with those "loyal allies" who would bring "stability" to the region and nurture The Arab Spring into full flower?

Egypt? Tunisia? Yemen? Libya? Syria?

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First, we petted these sleeping tigers until they bit us. We always had the military of these states with us, because from us they get the arms to kill their citizens.

But how about THE PEOPLE? The people we are supposed to be defending, nurturing, speaking out for -- do they have any legitimate claims? Do you know? Have we looked?

Well, a few of us have. Amongst the 535 cowering souls we elected to Congress, 19 -- yes, only 19 -- had the guts to speak out against injustice in Bahrain.

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William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)

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So much has been done by "legal" authorities to ab... by Richard Pietrasz on Friday, Aug 17, 2012 at 2:50:58 PM