Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—known for orchestrating bloody coups and wars—awarded Bahrain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa with a Lifetime Achievement Award for economic development and “respect for religious pluralism.” The state official is known for presiding over a bloody military crackdown on Arab Spring protests.
“It was granted to HM the King in recognition of his continued achievements and incessant efforts in all fields, notably in development, respect for religious pluralism in the Kingdom of Bahrain and his interest in bolstering Bahrain-U.S. ties at all levels, making of them an exemplary model of relations among nations, based on strong and clear foundations,” wrote the state Bahrain News Agency Tuesday when Kissinger awarded the prize during the U.S. C3 Summit, held to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Arab countries.
bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s second-ever foreign minister, honored the king in his acceptance speech and touched on the 120-year-old relationship with the U.S., which is “in constant progress at all levels, particularly in the economic, military and political areas.”
“U.S.-Bahraini ties have underpinned common interests and become the main security-preserving factors in the region and that the trade relations were given a boost with the signing of the FTA in 2005, affirming Bahrain’s readiness to take all possible measures to open up new cooperation horizons for the two friendly people and countries,” he said according to BNA.
WATCH: Protests and police repression continue in Bahrain
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton met with bin Ahmed Al Khalifa when she was secretary of state and reaffirmed their “time-tested relationship based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” including seeing eye-to-eye on Israel and Iran. In a primary debate, Clinton said that her singular idol is Kissinger, who recently met with Donald Trump to advise him on foreign policy.
Kissinger, 92, played a crucial role in shaping U.S. foreign policy between 1969 and 1977, when the U.S. was at war with Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and orchestrated the CIA-backed military coup that ousted the democratically-elected socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende.
Documents released in 2014 revealed that in 1976, Kissinger planned to launch airstrikes against Havana, strike ports and military installations in Cuba and send Marine battalions to the U.S. naval base in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay.
Opposition political groups in Bahrain staged large protests during the Arab Spring of 2011, when demonstrators across the Arab world took to the streets calling for greater democracy. The protests in Bahrain were put down when neighboring Saudi Arabia sent troops to restore order.
Political tensions have continued since then in Bahrain, which is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
"This is a country that has subjected its people to imprisonment, torture and even death for daring to desire democracy," wrote leading Bahraini democracy campaigner Nabeel Rajab, which the U.S. called to be released earlier this month.
Rajab said recent strong U.S. statements on Bahrain's human rights problems were good "but unless the United States is willing to use its leverage, fine words have little effect." He urged U.S. President Barack Obama to use American influence to resolve the Yemen conflict.
Emails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state reveal that her staff helped grant access to Clinton Foundation donors, including the Bahraini al-Khalifa monarchy accused of killing and torturing hundreds of people during the 2011 Arab Spring-inspired uprising there. The monarchy of Bahrain gave the foundation US$32 million.