Monday’s expulsion order by Bahrain against a visiting senior U.S. official has set back tentative hopes for internal reforms that could reconcile the kingdom’s Sunni-led government with its majority Shia community and drawn a sharp protest from Washington.
A few days ago, Bahraini officials announced that they had “foiled an attempt to smuggle explosives and arms, some made in Iran and Syria, into the country by boat.” Around the same time, the government also contended it had defused a car bomb and seized weapons in different locations in the country.
The recent collapse of the British Serious Fraud Office court case against Victor Dahdaleh has left the Bahraini prime minister’s reputation for corruption intact.
Bahraini opposition groups announced on Tuesday their opposition to participating in the dialogue that is supposed to start tomorrow. According to the Bahrain Mirror, the five opposition groups that signed the joint statement included al-Wifaq, Wa’d, al-Minbar, al-Tajammu’, and al-Ikha’.
The lengthy prison sentences handed down to 50 Shia activists last week and the refusal of Bahraini courts to hear their allegations of torture once again confirm the regime’s continued repression of the opposition.
The special session of the Bahraini National Assembly held on Sunday Jul. 28 was a spectacle of venom, a display of vulgarity, and an unabashed nod to increased dictatorship.
By continuing its repressive policies and refusing to engage civil society and moderate political groups in meaningful dialogue for genuine reform, the Khalifa family has squandered its legitimate right to rule Bahrain. King Hamad could still salvage his rule, but he would need to act boldly by taking the following steps.
Human rights groups here are calling for the United States and the European Union (EU) to exert more pressure on Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, to seriously engage its opposition and end its repression of its majority Shi'a population.
Ian Henderson’s death announcement Apr. 15 in Bahrain brings to an end the life of a British expatriate who was the architect and supervisor of the harsh internal security policies of the al-Khalifa ruling family since the early days of independence over 40 years ago.
As the Bahraini and international media continue to dissect the meaning of Crown Prince Salman’s appointment as first deputy prime minister, powerful factions within the ruling Al-Khalifa family must be pondering the future of their rule.
Despite the start of a government-inspired dialogue with the opposition Sunday, the Bahraini government continues to jail dissidents, arrest demonstrators, and use a rigged judicial system to convict them.