Another US Ally About to Fall… Shia Majority Vows to Topple Bahraini Regime
More Smart Diplomacy.
Protesters vow to topple the pro-American Bahraini regime.
Religious leaders camp out at the Pearl Roundabout, a famous landmark of Bahrain, in the heart of its capital Manama February 15, 2011. Shi’ite protesters camped out in Bahrain’s capital on Tuesday after a day of protests in which a man was shot dead in clashes with police at a funeral for a demonstrator shot the day before. (REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed )
THERE is something painfully predictable about the course of the unrest sweeping the Arab world.
In Bahrain’s case, the minority Sunni Muslim leadership has watched helplessly as the protest tsunami rolled from Tunisia across Egypt and now to the warm waters of the Gulf.
The first response was to head off the unrest by offering each family $US2700 – in effect, to buy their silence. A similar tactic worked in Kuwait, but it came too late to placate Bahrain.
Members of the disgruntled Shia Muslim majority are venting decades of pent-up frustration against the regime and sense that victory is within their grasp.
When they mobilised on Monday outside the capital, Manama, the authorities turned to plan B: using force to silence the protest.
Riot police fired rubber bullets, teargas and birdshot at demonstrators. Arrests were made and Ali Mushaima, one of the protesters, was killed by police. This was a tragic and stupid mistake. Predictably, his funeral became the focus of the second day’s protests, when another demonstrator was killed. This deadly cycle could go on and on.
Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.
End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.
King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa is now trying to calm his subjects.
In a rare speech, he offered his condolences and promised reforms, but the concessions are probably too late.
It is rumored that the Iranian regime is behind the protests in Bahrain.
The US has operated a naval base in Bahrain since 1947.