An opposition rally in Zinj in Bahrain on Thursday night
The regime – and the country at large - are at a crossroads as the first anniversary of the February 14 uprising approaches.. The report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry BICI has neither provided the closure the ruling family hoped for, nor satisfied the expectations of the political and popular opposition. The continuing violence has hardened positions on all sides and reinforced the absence of trust and goodwill necessary to any political settlement. The emergence of radicalised splinter groups means it is no longer possible to speak of a ‘regime-opposition’ dichotomy. Elements of the opposition are growing more violent, while extremist groups calling on the regime to crush the opposition once and for all have intensified in recent weeks. Competing narratives have diverged sharply since BICI, illustrating the chasm that has opened up where the moderate middle used to be.