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Bahrain makes opening bid in auction for US foreign policy

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The Government of Bahrain is diving head first into a possibly new era of dollar diplomacy.

To celebrate the kingdom’s national day, the Bahraini embassy is holding a reception at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC, just blocks from the White House on Wednesday, 7 December.

By boosting President-elect Donald Trump’s business enterprise, the Bahraini government has initiated what could define the next four years of the Trump administration.

Could this mean that American diplomacy is up for sale?

The possibility of a transactional foreign policy may leave American values shortchanged. With this reception, the repressive Gulf monarchy is attempting to wield its financial assets to ingratiate itself with the new administration.

Over the past several years, the Bahraini government has spent tens of millions of dollars on PR and lobbying firms to paint itself as a stable environment for investment and steadfast security partner, while simultaneously whitewashing its heavy-handed approach in silencing of all forms of political dissent and social unrest.

Human rights organisations have documented widespread torture in Bahrain’s jails. This past summer witnessed a wave of repression unseen since 2011, as the government took actions to dissolve the largest political opposition bloc, Al-Wefaq, revoke the citizenship of the Shia cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, and imprison the most prominent human rights defender in the country, Nabeel Rajab.

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