Bahrain’s Rocky Road to Reform – ICG report

8 Aug, '11

A new report from the International Crisis Group:

Following a spasm of violence, Bahrain faces a critical choice between endemic instability and slow but steady progress toward political reform. The most sensible way forward is to launch a new, genuine dialogue in which the political opposition is fairly represented and to move toward changes that will turn the country into a constitutional monarchy. In order to create an environment in which such talks could succeed, the regime should take immediate steps to address the human rights crisis, including by releasing political leaders jailed for peacefully expressing their views, and reverse the alarming sectarian polarisation that has occurred.

In February and March 2011, Bahrain experienced peaceful mass protests followed by brutal repression, leaving a distressing balance sheet: over 30 dead, mostly demonstrators or bystanders; prominent opposition leaders sentenced to lengthy jail terms, including eight for life; hundreds of others languishing in prison; torture, and at least four deaths in detentions; trials, including of medical professionals, in special security courts lacking even the semblance of due process of law; over 40 Shiite mosques and other religious structures damaged or demolished; the country’s major independent newspaper transformed into a regime mouthpiece; a witch hunt against erstwhile protesters who faced dismissal or worse, based on “loyalty” oaths; serious damage to the country’s economy; a parliament left without its opposition; and much more. More significant for the long term perhaps, the violence further polarised a society already divided along sectarian lines and left hopes for political reform in tatters, raising serious questions about the island’s stability.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Anarchy in the UK says:

    An interesting article. Some good and viable points are made.

    Question: Does this give a realistic, balanced view of the situation and is it totally unbiased?

  2. Dan says:

    You will probably block my IP address for this but I am say “Off with the king’s head!”

    The man, and everyone of his relatives have no reason, no rhyme, no right to be living in avarice while Bahrain suffers under his/their “rule.” I keep hearing about these ridiculous “dialogs” and they do nothing.

    As if having a king isn’t bad enough, Bahrain has two different forms of faithism, superstition, belief in magic, denial of reason, religions which get played off against each other stirring up chaos melding into tyrannical order, while they try to out-stupid each other.

    You may say that if I don’t like what is posted on this blog then I should go elsewhere. In response to this I say that if you don’t want my opinions then keep your blog off the internet and don’t wave it in front of the whole world.

    • mahmood says:

      not going to do either, but as you have seen with your other erudite comments, the readers of this blog themselves have tuned you out. have fun and shout as loud as you like. your room has good enough padding and sound proofing that no one cares.

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