U.S. Wavers on ‘Regime Change’

weeks of internal debate on how to respond to uprisings in the Arab
world, the Obama administration is settling on a Middle East strategy:
help keep longtime allies who are willing to reform in power, even if
that means the full democratic demands of their newly emboldened
citizens might have to wait.

Instead of pushing for immediate
regime change—as it did to varying degrees in Egypt and now Libya—the
U.S. is urging protesters from Bahrain to Morocco to work with existing
rulers toward what some officials and diplomats are now calling “regime

The approach has emerged amid furious lobbying of
the administration by Arab governments, who were alarmed that President
Barack Obama had abandoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and worried
that, if the U.S. did the same to the beleaguered king of Bahrain, a
chain of revolts could sweep them from power, too, and further upend the
region’s stability.

The strategy also comes in the face of
domestic U.S. criticism that the administration sent mixed messages at
first in Egypt, tentatively backing Mr. Mubarak before deciding to throw
its full support behind the protesters demanding his ouster. Likewise
in Bahrain, the U.S. decision to throw a lifeline to the ruling family
came after sharp criticism of its hand…

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