Bahrain King forbids Protest Rallies

The Kingdom of Bahrain has banned all public demonstrations and rallies, in a strike against the Shiite Wifaq Party, led by cleric Ali Salman. The king of Bahrain and most of his high officials are Sunni, while about 60% of the population is Shiite (their proportion was even greater before the government bestowed citizenship on thousands of Saudi and Pakistani Sunnis).

Russia Today reports:

The Sunni rulers of Bahrain have attempted to end the protests of the Shiite majority through crackdowns and occasional arrests. .They have even sentenced nine physicians for helping heal wounded rebels.

12 Responses

  1. As someone who’s read a lot of history, this doesn’t sound good; not for Bahrainis, not for the region, not for American/oil sheikh relations, not for world socio-political evolution, not good for much of anything.

  2. between this, and the emir of kuwait arresting people for criticizing him, i think we can conclude there has been no substantial social change in the “middle east”

    • After the major political and social changes (for better or for worse, only time will tell) in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and, yes, Iraq, you are using the examples of two tiny Gulf Sheikhdoms (Bahrain and Kuwait) to suggest there has been no substantial social change in the Middle East?

    • Note to my comment above: I realize that Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt lie geographically in North Africa, but I am assuming by “Middle East” you mean the Greater Middle East, including North Africa–the Arab World.

      • It’s probably most accurate to say that there has been significant social change in North Africa, but relatively little, so far, in Southwest Asia.

        The two have always only been kinda sorta the same region, but not entirely. Perhaps these events will result in them becoming even more distinct as regions.

        • I’ll try to pin it down even more accurately. Egypt, although on the African continent, is geo-politically considered to be part of the Middle East. If we consider Egypt (with its recent political/social upheaval) and Iraq (whose political/social order was upended) as part of the Middle East, I do not think one can use Bahrain and Kuwait as examples to conclude that there has been no substantial social change in the Middle East. Egypt’s and Iraq’s recent history far outweigh those two Gulf State’s lack of social change.

          If we leave the Maghreb (North Africa from Libya West), Egypt, Iraq, and others out of the discussian, and consider only the Arabian Peninsula, the statement about no substantial social change is accurate. But I think one has to be very specific. It applies only to the geographic area known as the “Arabian Peninsula” or the “Gulf States.”

  3. Juan, do you have any evidence that the proportion is now 60% and that it was reduced in any significant way due to naturalization?

  4. The phrase “bestowed citizenship on thousands of Saudi and Pakistani Sunnis” doesn’t quite convey the scope of what the monarch did.

    The population of Bahrain increased by over 1/3 between 2008 and 2009. A country that had under 800,000 citizens added over a quarter million in one year.

  5. I blame America. Without it the gulf would be a bastion of democracy. Look at Iran and how it is now after it got rid of the America puppet, the imperialists can’t get over their moral defeat and want to bomb it back to where it was. Let’s all pray for the arab spring to sweep the gulf and for its enlightened and peaceful people to govern themselves democratically, surely it would be like night and day with their current rulers, who are actually aliens put in power by the US and are in no way reflective of their oppressed societies.

    • “surely it would be like night and day with their current rulers, who are actually aliens put in power by the US”

      The current rulers of the Gulf states were hardly “put in power by the US.” I suggest you read a little history of the region. You will find that the kings and emirs of the Gulf come from family dynasties that were in place long before the US took an interest in the region.

    • The Thursday, November 1, edition of the Washington post has an article on Iran and Khamenei, a part of which I quote here, Infidel.

      “Iran’s Supreme Leader (Khamenei) warned government officials and politicians Wednesday against turning their disputes into a public discussion, calling it “treason” against the state.”

      Some bastion of democracy, eh?!

  6. Joe from Lowell: Do you have a source for those numbers? And were those 250,000 all granted citizenship?

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