More formally, Yusif Al Bin Khalil, a writer in the hard-line Al-Watan newspaper associated with the royal court, has produced since May 18 three different variations on the same theme: namely, that the U.S., and the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain in particular, is aligned with the country's opposition. The series is subtly titled "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain."
#1 - "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: The New Supporters" (18 May)
#2 - "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: The Embassy's Cake" (20 May)
#3 - "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: Americanization of the Opposition" (22 May)
#4 - "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: The American Studies Center [of the University of Bahrain] (23 May)
(Update: actually, a friend points out that this writer and this series goes back much further, at least since late April:
April 21: "When Will America Understand Who is the Strongest in Bahrain Now?"
April 22: "When Bahrain is Presented as a Gift [to Iran]"
April 23: "Washington's Friends in Manama"
April 24: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: Beginnings of Introduction"
April 25: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: The Start of the Conflict"
April 26: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: Open Attack"
April 27: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: The Curse of Bush"
May 3: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: The Fool of NATO"
May 4: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: The Occupation Scenario"
May 5: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: Funding the Opposition"
May 6: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: Fear of the Monster" - An attack on MEPI and the National Democratic Institute
May 7: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: Policies of Humiliation" - An attack on Human Rights Watch
May 8: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: Sunni and Shi'i Terrorism"
May 9: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: Who Fooled the Americans?"
May 10: "Washington and the Sunna of Bahrain: Who Has the Legitimacy to Rule?"
Okay, I am getting tired of listing all these. But you get the idea. They continue until the May 18 story listed originally. The full list, all by Yusif Al Bin Khalil, is here.)
Even better is the invective circulating around pro-government forums, which includes such photoshops as the following:
"It isn't for you to get involved in Bahrain. Do you understand?" (Notice the Iranian flag in the background.) And similarly:
This looks like it comes from somewhere else, but it's made its way around the forums nonetheless. Then, we have this tongue-in-cheek gem showing Obama taking part in a Shi'a passion play procession during Muharram.
The caption is: "Majusi [slur for "Shi'i"] Obama spotted last year during Muharram roaming around after he finished serving tea [to celebrants]."
Even better than a photoshop, finally, is this half English/half Arabic poem written to Obama and posted to Bahrain's most popular pro-government Sunni forum. Unfortunately, the forum-goers seems not to understand it because of all the English (one says, "حدد موقفك ياعربي يا انج علشان نفهم شسالفة هني"), but here is a translation. (If you think you can offer a better version of the lines with the [?], be my guest.)
من العبد البور من
From the useless slave
الى مستر أوباما
to Mr. Obama,
President of America
السلام على من اتبع الهدى
(peace be upon those who follow true guidance),
اما بعد :
آي ونت آسك يو فروم الكليج العربي
I want to ask you from the Arab Gulf:
آيم دونت هف بربلم اذ يو تحمون الكليج
I don’t have a problem if you all [in the U.S.] protect the Gulf,
بت اي هف بربلم بتدخلكم بالشيعة بالكليج
but I have a problem with you interfering for the [sake of the] Gulf Shi‘a.
يو آر نت هف انصاف واي دنت مسك
You are not fair. Why don’t you
العصي بالعدل وودنت مسكها من المدل
wield the stick with justice [?], and grasp it from the middle?
مستر اوباما يو اسمروالكليج سمر واي التحيز
Mr. Obama, you are brown-skinned, and the Gulf is brown-skinned. So why the bias
للعجم الفرس اف يور خوالك هز نو ذس
in favor of the Persian ‘Ajam? If you’re black, [unclear?].
مستر اباما اف اوت بوش وكمن يو اي آسك
Mr. Obama, Bush is out [?] but like you I ask [?].
ذس نايس ولكن آي هف مثل ان كليج طلقها
This is nice, but I have an example: it’s as if you divorced the Gulf
واخذ اختها ويو كمل
and married its sister [i.e., Iran], and you go on [like nothing happened].
مستر اوباما لا بد يو تكون نو بطبائع الكليج العربي
Mr. Obama, you have to know the Arab Gulf culture and customs.
واي يودنت اندر استند مشكال الكليج بالصحيح
Why don’t you understand the real problem of the Gulf?
مستر اوباما واي يو متحيز للفرس ايران الفيران
Mr. Obama, why are you taking the side of the Iranian rats
ضد السنة هل لأن بيفور هزموكم وكل يور اجاكم
against the Sunna? Is it because they defeated you before
في الهرب ام هناك امور مور
in war? Or is it something else?
مستر اوباما يو دنت تيرن تيرن ان ذا سيركل امبتي
Mr. Obama, you don’t turn, turn in empty circles.
والسلام على من اتبع الهدى
Peace be upon those who follow the right path.
Its representatives, including Sh. 'Abd al-Latif Al Mahmud, also met today with representatives of the U.S. Embassy to deliver its message about the Obama speech. Evidently as proof of the meeting, they have posted some photos here and here. (Update: I guess these have been taken down now. Being seen meeting with U.S. Embassy people is probably a liability these days.)
Update 2: an anonymous commentator passes along another Obama sighting, this time in Sitra! !!خطير
More Updates: It seems everyone is now getting in the mix. Despite the National Unity Gathering's group-wide letter to Obama, both al-Asalah and al-Manbar al-Islami have posted their own individual replies to his remarks on Bahrain. And the Coalition for a Republic has done the same.
Coalition for a Republic: Facebook
(Obama's speech on Bahrain)
Citizen: "I don't hear you; I hear what my national conscience tells me, and it's that stability and security are what's important to Bahrain."