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29th May 2012


Room for Debate: Nudging Bahrain, Without Pushing It Away
Repercussions from the Arab Spring continue.Kofi Annan says Syria is at a tipping point after the massacre of 100 villagers, and many Western countries have expelled Syrian diplomats. Meanwhile the United States resumed selling weapons to Bahrain, after stopping last fall because of the monarchys crackdown on protests. But the crackdowns continue, and Bahrain, home of the Fifth Fleet of the U.S. Navy, is now in talks with Saudi Arabia to formalize political ties. This all makes Iranian leaders nervous. As the United States struggles to handle escalating violence in countries like Syria and South Sudan, how can it also support peace in Bahrain? Read More

A Deeper, More Accurate Vision - Matar Matar

I think supporting an authoritarian regime and absolute monarchy violates a country's diplomatic obligations. Im not looking for compromises by the United States government. I'm interested in a policy based on a deeper vision. The current propaganda put out by the Bahraini regime makes it seem like the U.S. needs the ruling family more than the ruling family needs the U.S. I think that the U.S. policy toward Bahrain is currently on the wrong track. How can the United States have such strong ties with a country that has such an abysmal record on human rights? Read More

The U.S. Should Mediate - Nada Alwadi

The United States should flex its diplomatic muscles to make real changes on the ground in Bahrain. The United States still has leverage in Bahrain and its time to use it; applying real pressure to start a real dialogue is essential at this point. Implementing the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report is another thing to push for, especially since the government and the opposition have agreed on most of its findings. And while the government is insisting that this implementation is really happening, many believe its just propaganda without real changes on the ground yet. The violence will not stop until the government and the opposition reach an agreement and sit down at the table for a real dialogue. Read More

Treat Bahrain Like an Ally - Morgan Roach

Since Bahrain's uprising began, the Obama administration has displayed a profound lack of leadership in supporting one of Washington's staunchest allies in the Middle East. The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is based in Manama and is a bulwark to containing Iran and ensuring that oil can flow through the Straits of Hormuz unimpeded. Despite this, the administration was quick to criticize Bahrain's government well before effectively assessing the situation on the ground. At the beginning of the crisis, U.S. military officials met with the government of Bahrain, urging it to seek dialogue and reform with the opposition. Read More

Tehrans Noise Is All Bluster - Farideh Farhi

The response from various corners in Iran to the prospect of a formal union between the ruling monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain has been over the top. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani even reportedly suggested that if Bahrain was going to be integrated with any country, "It must be Iran and not Saudi Arabia." Read More

Limited Options for the U.S. - Ali Al-Ahmed

The Saudi-proposed Gulf union will not come to fruition because it might mean breaking apart the Gulf Cooperation Council. Most council members already fear Saudi domination over their monarchies. Lets all remember that monarchies are extremely selfish. Oman and the United Arab Emirates expressed their objections to a Gulf union recently when their leaders skipped the last council summit, in Riyadh. Read More

Support Reform or Get Out of the Way - Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi

Few countries so small resonate so widely as Bahrain does today. The island kingdom has become a center of attention for all the wrong reasons. Bahrain was for decades the beacon of freedom and social activism that the rest of us in the Gulf looked up to. Today the island is almost unrecognizable. But there is hope yet. Despite regional agitation and news media misrepresentation, the majority of Bahraini citizens refuse to be dragged into sectarian rhetoric and have started grassroots initiatives to rebuild bonds across the country such as apopular video produced by a group of cross-sect Bahrainis as well as the Bahrain Debates series. Read More

Daughter of Bahraini activist freed from jail

The daughter of a Bahraini opposition activist, arrested last month for trying to organise an antigovernment protest, was released from jail on Tuesday after paying bail, her lawyer said. Bahrain, a U.S. ally and home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been in

turmoil since prodemocracy protests led by its majority Shi'ites erupted last year after revolts in Egypt and Tunisia. Zainab al-Khawaja is the daughter of Abdulhadi alKhawaja, a leading Shi'ite figure in the uprising, who ended a more than threemonth-long hunger strike on Monday after what he described as his success in drawing attention to the issue of imprisoned activists. Read More

Bahrain urged to free remaining prisoners of conscience

Bahrain must immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International said after a court in the capital Manama let the prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab out on bail on Monday. The Bahraini authorities have banned Rajab, the President

of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, from travelling abroad and he is due to return to court in June on charges related to his activism which Amnesty International says should be dropped. Also on Monday, jailed human rights activist Abdulhadi AlKhawaja ended a 110-day hunger strike. Al-Khawaja and 12 other opposition leaders remain behind bars on charges related to their roles in peaceful pro-reform protests in 2011. Amnesty International considers all of them to be prisoners of conscience. Read More representatives of civil society have spoken of a continuing campaign of abuse that has been waged against them for speaking out about the situation in Bahrain, even though international rights groups had also criticised the country's record on human rights. They said a series of threatening articles have appeared in the Bahraini press and hostile messages have been left on social networking sites, which have caused them serious distress and left them fearing for their safety. Read More

Preventing SunniShiite Schism From Hijacking The Arab Spring

In April of this year, I wrotethat the upheaval in Syria (the Sunni majority revolt against the Alawitedominated regime) has turned into a battleground between the Sunni axis led by Turkey and Saudi Arabia and the Shiite axis led by

Iran. As events continue to unfold in the region, particularly the Sunni Islamists monopolization of the political processes in new Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia plus the belligerent Saudi-Iranian exchange in Syria and Bahrain, what is increasingly visible is that the liberal, democracyseeking Arab Spring is being hijacked by radical Islamists on both sides, risking major conflagration between the two pillars of Islam. Read More "At the moment there is no more trust between the communities," said prominent Sunni cleric Abdullatif Mahmud, accusing the main Shiite opposition formation Al-Wefaq of being behind the mutual suspicions. "Wefaq works for the interest of its community and not for that of the country," said Mahmud, head of the National Unity Assembly (NUA) formed at the height of Shiite-led anti-regime protests last year, at a progovernment rally. Read More

Bahraini Activists Abused for Role in UN Human Rights Review

Bahrain's opposition delegates who attended the country's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations ofce in Geneva faced a huge backlash after criticising the country's "deplorable human rights record". The UN holds the UPR every four years to review the human rights records of all 192 member states. Following the session in Geneva this year, Bahraini

Sectarian tensions heighten in divided Bahrain

The wave of protests by the Shiite majority in Bahrain against the ruling Sunni dynasty has intensified sectarian tensions in the small Gulf kingdom that is fast approaching complete political paralysis.

Bahrain: split over proposed GCC union, and chronic failure of Sunni groups to mobilize
Bahrainis of all political affiliations waited in tense anticipation as rumours of a Saudi Bahraini union circulated days before the Gulf leaders convened in Riyadh for the Gulf Cooperation Council summit on May

Bahraini activists ask appeals court for freedom

Two Bahraini opposition activists facing life terms for plotting to overthrow the Sunni monarchy told an appeals court on Tuesday they were "tortured" in detention and

asked to be freed, their lawyers said. Hasan Musheime and Abdel Jalil al-Sankis, both Shiites, testied that they were "prisoners of conscience" and called on the judge to release them, one of their lawyers told AFP on condition of anonymity. Read More

14th, 2012. The summit fell short of expectations however. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud AlFaisal explained in a press conference that GCC leaders preferred to wait and attempt to resolve issues impeding the accession of some GCC member states to a union, believed according to the King of Bahrains media advisor Nabeel Alhamar - to be primarily Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Read More