MANAMA: Washington's former ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli has attacked his own country over its attitude to the kingdom. He sounded an alarm over deteriorating relations with Bahrain and other Gulf countries, and warned that the US "neglects its allies at its peril".
Mr Ereli directed his remarks from Capitol Hill. He served as a diplomat for 24 years in the Middle East - and was US Ambassador to Bahrain from 2007-2011, when he was also a spokesman for the State Department.
He said that following a recent visit to Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar, three of Washington's most important allies in this strategic region, he was appalled by what he heard after talks with members of those countries' royal families, business leaders and intellectuals.
"Their comments should alarm anyone concerned about America's future," he said.
"The administration's wavering response to developments in the Middle East has led them to question the depth of our friendship and our constancy as an ally," he added.
"The Muslim Brotherhood's brand of political extremism and Iran's assertive hegemony trouble not just the rulers, but the vast majority of their citizens. Doubt and confusion over US intentions have undermined trust and gravely compromised our ability to influence events," he warned.
"What is US policy?" they asked at every turn. If the US supports the Syrian opposition, why does it not act decisively to help them? The chaos, violence and extremism prevailing in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Iraq leave them longing for a more dependable past and determined not to befall a similar fate.
"And the signals they get from Washington provide cold comfort. I heard from more than one US ambassador that the administration believes history has left the ruling families of the Gulf behind. They reflect on our precipitous abandonment of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, a steadfast ally for 30 years, and wonder if they are next.
"Why should we care? Because the six GCC states are vital to the security of the United States and the stability of international order. The Navy's Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and the Eighth Air Force and Third Army have forward headquarters in Qatar and Kuwait. The UAE is the world's largest purchaser of US defence equipment, with total orders in excess of $10 billion," Mr Ereli said.