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Bahrain’s Rocky Road to Reform – ICG report

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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 …

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Dialogue Delegates Appreciation Society

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I’m not sure who the admin / support staff for the dialogue were nor how they were selected. From observation, they seem to have come from various government departments, maybe primarily from the parliament. In any case, at the National Dialogue participation certificate presentation / appreciation this morning, they have resolutely added to my feeling of despair for this country. That and added a good measure to my already high level of disgust with what this …

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Commission of Inquiry starts working

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Creating an independent commission to look into the killings, torture, dismissals, and prejudicial treatments and transparently report its findings and name and shame abusers is a huge, unprecedented and much awaited courageous step that can have far reaching impact on this country and its people if left to actually do its assigned work. I hope that they will be given the promised free access to all parties in order to ascertain the truth of the past …

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The Dialogue: Parliament v1.1?

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Progress has been marked in last night’s Political Stream of the National Dialogue last night. According to this from the Dialogue’s official site: Bahrain’s National Dialogue has reached ground breaking consensus to increase the powers of the Parliament. Assembled delegates including: MPs, opposition political societies; NGOs and public figures agreed to enhance the Parliament’s democratic scrutiny over the government. This decision gives the Parliament full authority to reject the entire government if they disapprove. Commenting on …

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Dialogue in tatters?

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Al-Wefaq pulled out of the National Dialogue. This is not a disaster. It’s their right. They didn’t believe in its efficacy and I – and everyone else – must respect their evaluation no matter how much we differ from their conclusions. I predict that the three liberal/leftist societies soon might follow suit. Again, that’s up to them. No one should label them as traitors – an oft and liberally used word in what has become a …

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The Dialogue: Government Services

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Off to the National Dialogue again in a few minutes. This time I’ll be participating in the 2nd stream of the Economic Committee dealing with Government Services and I’ll be particularly interested in Education and the Environment, their challenges and what we should do to promote them in Bahrain. This is a continuation session from last week. My submissions to the committee last week involved the following:1. The overhaul of the educational curricula to engender …

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The Dialogue: Detriments to Economic Competitiveness

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In a previous post we talked about the competitiveness of Bahrain and what it would take to aid it along the prosperity path. This is of vital importance of course as achieving good economic growth will create jobs, fill stomachs and redraw missing smiles. But economic growth cannot flourish in an environment where onerous and crippling (sometimes ludicrous) laws exist. Yes, a structure is undisputedly needed, but not to the extent that they would cripple innovation …

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The Dialogue: Freedom of Speech

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I won’t talk about specifics of the sessions as I find that to be unethical. We’re all in there at the invitation of this nation to find way in which we can recoup losses, ameliorate passions and find a way forward for us all to live peacefully together. I will; however, share with you my submission yesterday through which I hope to have imparted the importance of protecting freedom of speech and everyone’s right to that …

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National Dialogue – The Powers of the Parliamentary Chambers

The next topic on my National Dialogue agenda is the powers of the parliamentary chambers. To many, this is a clear-cut issue that doesn’t need too much debate: if we contend to be a democratic country, then the powers must emanate from the people, as such, only a fully representative parliament should be entertained. The reality of the situation in Bahrain; however, is quite different. Almost every businessman I spoke to bristles at the thought of …

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National Dialogue: Strengthening Economic Competitiveness

I’ll be involved in the Economic Competitiveness stream this afternoon as part of the National Dialogue, I would love to hear your thoughts on this: best way to do this is to (1) Present your case, (2) describe the problem, and (3) offer a solution. Please think globally in terms of the country rather than you as an individual or group. The points I have marked to raise this afternoon is related to the difficulty in …

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