Arun Sudhaman 25 Mar 2011 // 12:00AM GMT
The Kingdom of Bahrain has called in fledging public affairs firm Potomac Square Group to handle US public relations as unrest continues to rock the Middle Eastern nation.
Potomac Square Group – a new firm headed by ex-Wall Street Journal journalist Chris Cooper – was appointed in February to provide strategic PR counsel to the Embassy of Bahrain in the US.
Earlier this week, the Holmes Report revealed that Edelman’s US assignment on behalf of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB) had been suspended.
Potomac Square Group was launched in February this year. Its Bahrain contract is worth $20,000 per month.
Cooper told the Holmes Report that he is working for Abdul Latif al Zayani, Bahrain’s special envoy to the US.
“I help him communicate to Washington – its institutions, reporters and academics,” said Cooper. “He believes, as do I, that the Crown Prince’s heart is in the right place and that he truly wishes to address the unrest in bahrain through national dialogue.”
Potomac Square Group joins Qorvis Communications as another agency retained by Bahrain in the US; the latter firm is subcontracted by Bell Pottinger to handle work for Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to FARA filings.
Prior to founding the Potomac Square Group, Cooper was an SVP at Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications.
The Holmes Report earlier analysed the roles played by PR firms that represent Middle Eastern governments.
Backed by Saudi troops, Bahrain’s security forces have quelled the uprising that began on 14 February. Human rights groups say the death toll has reached 20, with as many as 100 people still missing. According to the FT, attempts to launch talks between the two sides appear to have been overtaken by the Bahrain’s government’s crackdown on largely peaceful protests.