English   |   Kurdî   |   كوردى   |   عربى
Art    Sport    Technology    Miscellaneous
Follow us on:
facebook twitter google + skype rss-feed youtube
David L. Phillips for Gulan: the PUK and the KDP must come together and develop a shared vision for state-building and political transition
Roj Peshmerga Awaiting US Decision to Return to Syria: Official
Trump highlights cooperation over shared interests in letter to Barzani
  •  Trump highlights cooperation over shared interests in letter to Barzani
  •  Two PKK Members Explode Themselves in Makhmour
  •  Barzani Outlines Future of Kurds: Ahmed Turk
  •  $20M collected for clearing Kurdistan from bombs in 2016: IKMAA
  •  Five Kurds arrested in Makhmour confess ties to ISIS
  •  Mayor of Shingal, Kurdish crisis centre head plan Yezidi return
  •  Iraq’s Treasury is Empty: MP
  •  Germany Training Peshmerga on Protection against Chemical Attacks
  •  KRSC Confirms Killing of IS Health Minister in Hawija
  •  Kirkuk Needs No Force But Peshmerga: Turkmen People's Party
Last Updated: 24/04/2017 08:36:38 pm
Ted Galen Carpenter - Is Bahrain the Next Middle East Crisis?
Is Bahrain the Next Middle East Crisis?
Date: 05/06/2013 : 23:13:30Views: 1323

While the international community’s attention is focused on the bloody Syrian civil war and the resurgence of violence in Iraq, another cauldron of instability is simmering in the Middle East. The latest flashpoint is Bahrain, and the factors leading to trouble there are familiar ones. Bahrain groans under the rule of a corrupt, autocratic government, and public dissatisfaction has been building for years. Even more ominously, the bitter feud between the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam, which contributed so greatly to the worst periods of fighting in Iraq from 2006 to 2008, is an especially crucial factor in Bahrain. King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa heads a Sunni political and economic elite that governs an increasingly restless Shiite-majority population. Saudi Arabia is the king’s principal foreign patron, while Iran is none-too-subtle in backing its Shiite co-religionists.

Angry demonstrations erupted in early 2011, and they might well have brought down the monarchy if Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies had not intervened with some 2,000 troops in March. The violence declined after that episode, but it has never gone away. At least 60 people (in a country of barely 1.2 million), have perished since the onset of demonstrations, and the government has imprisoned more than a dozen prominent opposition leaders. There have also been pervasive allegations of torture and other human-rights violations.

The latest phase of turbulence began in September 2012, when a Bahraini court upheld the convictions of 13 opposition leaders. Since then, the level of violence has increased, despite the government’s edict banning even peaceful demonstrations. On November 5, five bombs exploded in the capital city, Manama, killing two innocent civilians. The eruption of disorderly demonstrations in the early spring 2013 led to speculation that the country’s grand prix auto race might have to be cancelled, although that development, which would have been a huge embarrassment to the regime, ultimately did not occur.

Tensions have become even worse in recent weeks. Thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets of the village of Diraz, west of Manama, on May 25 to protest the police raid on the home of a prominent Shiite cleric the previous week. Demonstrators hurled rocks at riot police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. The raid on the ayatollah’s home also prompted the principal opposition group, Al-Wefaq, to withdraw at least temporarily from reconciliation talks with the government. Such a withdrawal had little practical impact, though, since the talks had been making meager progress. The opposition is insisting on constitutional reforms, including free elections and the creation of a parliament with meaningful powers, which would transform the country into a constitutional monarchy. The king and his supporters understand all too well that such a change would mean an end to Sunni political domination, and they show no willingness to relinquish their power.

In the midst of the growing domestic tensions, the Bahraini government issued an order banning political groups from having any contact with Hezbollah, the militant Shiite organization in Lebanon. A few days earlier, Bahrain charged that an Iranian drone had violated its airspace—a charge that Tehran vehemently denied. Saudi Arabia rejected Iran’s account and issued a stern warning to Iran to stop “fanning flames” in Bahrain. This incident underscores how Bahrain is becoming yet another theater in the Shiite-Sunni contest for influence throughout the region.

Bahrain is a powder keg that could explode at almost any time. Washington is concerned about the mounting political instability throughout the Middle East, but U.S. leaders are especially concerned that Bahrain could be engulfed. The country is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, the linchpin of the U.S. naval presence in that part of the world. Consequently, while Obama administration officials have urged both the monarchy and the opposition to engage in negotiations to forge a workable compromise, Washington’s policy has a distinct tilt in favor of the government, despite its disturbing human rights record. It was revealing, for example, that the Obama administration’s criticism of the Saudi-led military intervention was so anemic as to be barely discernible.

The United States is worried about losing the U.S. Navy’s access to Bahrain and seeing that country come under control of a political movement linked to Iran. But both of those prospects are now very real, as the simmering crisis in Bahrain threatens to come to a boil.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is the author of nine books and more than 500 articles and policy studies on international affairs. He is also a member of the editorial board of Mediterranean Quarterly.

Dr. Anwar A. Abdullah (Al-Barzanji)
Middle East: Out of Control
Davan Yahya Khalil
What Does President Barzani’s Visit to Turkey Mean?
Michael Gunter
Khaled Salih
Kurdistan’s challenges
Dlsoz Hawrami
UN Genocide Convention: It proves so difficult to recognize so many atrocity crimes as Genocide
Professor Jamal Ameen
Order out of Chaos in Kurdistan
Ted Galen Carpenter
Declining Oil Prices Will Not Lead to Iran’s Surrender on the Nuclear Issue
Yasin Aziz
What is meant to be Peshmerga
Saro Qadir
Middle East Negotiations and Kurdistan’s Lack of Strategy
Doğu Ergil
David Romano
Thanks to the Islamic State
Shawnm Yahya
Democracy and Anti- Democracy
Hemin Hawrami
President Barzani and Kurdistan's Advancement and Success during the Past Eight Years
Dr. Mohammed Sharif
Culture of Hostility to Authority Social Disaster
Chaim Kaufmann
How the Whole Middle East Disappeared
Alon Ben-Meir
Syria: The Battleground between Sunnis and Shittes
Shilan bibany
Tower and Cancer
  President Barzani Meets French President Hollande in Paris
  Iraqi Kurdistan region to export oil for first time
  Statement by President Barzani on British parliament’s recognition of Kurdish genocide
  Iraqi Army arrests 4 Turkish Anadolu Journalists
  Dr. Kamal Kirkuki meets with Henry A. Kissinger
  Hebrew University students from around the world celebrate Newroz
  Iraq in a stage of post-federalism
  The Iraqi Government Still Able to Implement Agreements
  The Golden Jubilee… A Liberation Medallion for the Motto “Either Kurdistan or Dissolution” The September Revolution Still Ongoing
  The Effects of Media in the Transitional Stages
  Violating the Iraqi Constitution Imposes Autocracy and the Return of Dictatorship
  Different Problems of Democracy Development in the Developing Countries
Exclusive Interviews
  Hayat Alvi to Gulan Magazine:In terms of Islamic ideologies in Egypt, the similarities and perspectives are similar to Wahhabis / Salafists in Saudi Arabia
  Ian S. Lustick to Gulan: I imagine the end of the Syrian Regime will be more like that of the Ceaucescu regime in Romania than of other, less violent, transitions in Eastern Europe
  Interview with the Professor David Romano
  Interview of Javier Solana for Gulan magazine - Iraqi Kurdistan
  Brendan O'Leary to Gulan Magazine: Only a fool would say the break-up of Iraq will never happen
  Kurdistan – a brief history
  Turkey & Kurdistan: Prospects for Complementary Economy
  Iraq amid Democracy & Instability
  Recent Western Scholarship on the Kurds in Iraq: A Retrospective
  Book Review Essay on Halabja & the Anfal
  Kurdistan: Total Solutions for Sustainability
  The Opening of a U.S. Consulate in Hawler
  Kurdish Singer Helly Luv Counters Criticism of Viral Music Video
  Work At Home Mum Makes $10,397/Month Part-Time
  Modern, Folk Kurdish Music Selling Well in Kurdistan
  Lebanese beauty grabs Miss Arab USA title
  Déjà vu? Haifa Wehbe’s bid to be Monica Bellucci
  Facebook: Friends' Happy Pictures Make You Sad?
  Rolling Stones promise 'historic' Cuba concert

Index  |  News  |  Reports  |  Exclusive Interviews  |  Columns‌  |  From Media  |  Miscellaneous  |  Arts  |  Questionnaire  |  Archives  |  Contact us

All rights reserved © gulan-media.com 2005
Developed by: Dashti Ibrahim
Online :20 Visitor : 3154003