English   |   Kurdî   |   كوردى   |   عربى
Art    Sport    Technology    Miscellaneous
Follow us on:
facebook twitter google + skype rss-feed youtube
David L. Phillips: Iraq will disintegrate. Then Iraqi Kurdistan will realize its national aspirations.
Imitating Mohamed Siad Barre makes Iraq like Somalia
Statement by President Barzani on British parliament’s recognition of Kurdish genocide
  •  President Barzani Meets US Ambassador Beecroft in Salahaddin
  •  Presedent Barzani: There is no force able to deprive Yazidis from their authentic nationality
  •  Erbil stops cars for 5 minutes to celebrate Environment Day in Kurdistan
  •  Mardin elects 25-year old Christian woman as mayor
  •  A fetish for full body suits in Japan
  •  Microsoft opens office in Kurdistan
  •  Egypt’s PM orders Haifa Wehbe’s film to be pulled
  •  Syrian regime accused of chlorine gas attacks
  •  Al-Sweady Inquiry: MoD says murder claims are 'conspiracy'
  •   Three dead in east Ukraine, Putin warns of 'abyss'
Last Updated: 17/04/2014 11:29:54 pm
Ted Galen Carpenter - Is Bahrain the Next Middle East Crisis?
Is Bahrain the Next Middle East Crisis?
Share
Date: 05/06/2013 : 23:13:30Views: 463
  

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.

Ted Galen Carpenter
A Turkish-Iranian Rapprochement: Regional Implications
David Romano
The Americans' Refusal to Get Too Close to the Kurds
Michael Gunter
EXPORTING KURDISTANI OIL: HOW MUCH DOES IT MAKE THE KRG ECONOMY INDEPENDENT?
Khaled Salih
Kurdistan’s Peace Pipelines
Davan Yahya Khalil
Kurdistan – a brief history
Dr. Anwar A. Abdullah (Al-Barzanji)
Kurdistan: Building-up Hard Power
Doğu Ergil
AN INVENTORY OF THE GEZİ PARK AFFAIR
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
Professor Jamal Ameen
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Mesopotamia from the Cradle of Civilization to a Nest of Terror
Chaim Kaufmann
How the Whole Middle East Disappeared
Alon Ben-Meir
Syria: The Battleground between Sunnis and Shittes
Shilan bibany
Tower and Cancer
News
  Iraqi Kurdistan region to export oil for first time
  Statement by President Barzani on British parliament’s recognition of Kurdish genocide
  Financial Committee, IMF reach agreement on 2012 budget
  Korean Culture Festival will be held in Erbil
  Dr. Kamal Kirkuki meets with Henry A. Kissinger
  Saudi beheading of eight Bangladesh workers condemned
Reports‌
  The Iraqi Government Still Able to Implement Agreements
  Iraq in a stage of post-federalism
  The Effects of Media in the Transitional Stages
  Different Problems of Democracy Development in the Developing Countries
  Violating the Iraqi Constitution Imposes Autocracy and the Return of Dictatorship
  The Golden Jubilee… A Liberation Medallion for the Motto “Either Kurdistan or Dissolution” The September Revolution Still Ongoing
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 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
  Interview with the Professor David Romano
Columns‌
  Kurdistan – a brief history
  Turkey & Kurdistan: Prospects for Complementary Economy
  Iraq amid Democracy & Instability
  Recent Western Scholarship on the Kurds in Iraq: A Retrospective
  The Opening of a U.S. Consulate in Hawler
  The Coming US Withdrawal from Iraq
  Kurdistan: Nation & Nature
Miscellaneous
  Work At Home Mum Makes $10,397/Month Part-Time
  Modern, Folk Kurdish Music Selling Well in Kurdistan
  Over 4,000 Kurdish pilgrims expected to undertake Hajj
  Snow Becomes Beautiful Art In Breckenridge
  Facebook: Friends' Happy Pictures Make You Sad?
  Scientists crack Black Death's genetic code
  Football murder probe opened against Qaddafi’s son

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 :21 Visitor : 949596