Sen. McCain: US committed to naval hub in Bahrain

By the Associated Press | December 9, 2012 | 4:33 AM EST

Deputy Secretary of States William Burns, left, and Sen. John McCain, right, answer questions during the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) conference in Manama, Bahrain, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012. The IISS Manama conference will discuss the security situation in the Syrian region among other topics. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — U.S. Sen. John McCain says Washington is committed to keeping its Persian Gulf naval hub in Bahrain despite an Arab Spring-inspired uprising that has wracked the tiny kingdom.

McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, says the U.S. has "too much invested" in Bahrain to consider shifting the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet to another country. The 5th Fleet is the Pentagon's main counterweight to Iran's expanding military presence in the Gulf.

Washington has been pushed into a difficult position by Bahrain's 22-month unrest. It backs Bahrain's Sunni monarchy, but U.S. officials have grown increasingly uneasy over crackdowns against Bahrain's Shiite majority, which is seeking a greater political voice.

McCain said Sunday he has held talks with Bahrain's king and Shiite opposition groups during a global security summit.