See Amber Lyon’s investigative reporting from Bahrain for CNN:
If the Obama administration speaks out about the crackdown in Bahrain and the shooting of unarmed protesters, it will anger GCC oil producers — especially Saudi Arabia — that worry about the possibility of pro-democracy movements in their own countries.
The Washington-Riyadh axis is a red line the Obama administration isn’t willing to cross, even if it means human-rights activists in Bahrain continue to be shot, beaten, and killed. Oil is thicker than blood.
The United States also has a military base in Manama, a few minutes’ drive from Pearl Roundabout. Pearl Roundabout was the center of Bahrain’s pro-democracy protests — until it was forcefully cleared out by government forces.