It's 'Delirious Joy' in Bahrain

Nichols Kristof: This feels like a 'milestone' for Arab democracy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2011 1:20 PM CST
It's 'Delirious Joy' in Bahrain
Bahraini protesters remove barbed wire near the Pearl roundabout after the military pulled out.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

When Nicholas Kristof heard protesters in Bahrain were going to march to the symbolic Pearl Roundabout again, he feared the worst—more "brutal force" and more live bullets. Instead, after the royal family's decision to stand down, he's happy to report nothing but "delirious joy" from downtown Manama in his New York Times blog. He can't be sure the army won't return, "but it does feel as if this just might be a milestone on the road to Arab democracy."

What next? Maybe a switch to a constitutional monarchy in which King Hamad is only a figurehead, a move toward democracy that would put more pressure for reform on Saudi Arabia and other nations. For now, though, it's a party in Manama, with no sign of anti-American sentiment. Maybe President Obama's phone call last night did the trick, writes Kristof. "This may have been a case where American pressure helped avert a tragedy and aligned us with people power in a way that in the long run will be good for Bahrain and America alike." (More Bahrain stories.)

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