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Entries in Religion and Politics in Bahrain (5)


Bahrain Analysis: 5-Point Guide to Crown Prince's "Return to Dialogue" (Gengler)

Crown Prince Salman's speech at the Manama Dialogue last Friday

How fitting it would be if Bahrain's uprising were finally resolved in the same manner in which it originally was not resolved --- with a political deal brokered by the Crown Prince --- an appropriately absurd result to highlight even more starkly how far the turmoil, bloodshed, and political posturing of the previous two years accomplished *literally* nothing.

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Bahrain Analysis: The Anti-National Dialogue (Gengler)

The vast majority of those involved in the street movement could care less about any dialogue involving the government and [the opposition society] al-Wefaq, and indeed may simply be incited by it to act even more violently. Although one would imagine that this is already the operating assumption of all parties, the fact that the government is even willing to talk to al-Wefaq implies that both sides believe the latter can ensure the acquiescence of "the street" in the event of any agreement. Anyone taking bets on that? Because I want in.

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Bahrain Feature: What Has Changed in the Past Year? (Gengler)

Casual reporting of Bahrain's uprising tends to give the impression that the events of February 14 and the year-long aftermath sprang out of nowhere; that Bahrain's Shi'a had finally "had enough" and used the window afforded by the Arab Spring to make their displeasure known, to spectacular effect.

There is no need to devote much time to debunking this storyline, deliberate or not, as any serious study of Bahraini politics would point to a long history of political conflict, whether between Shi'a and state, Sunna and state, or Sunna and Shi'a.

What was surprising about the scenes of February and March, then, was not that such an opposition would mobilize, but that it was able to mobilize on such an unprecedented scale.

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Bahrain Analysis: Will 2012 Be Just Like 2011? (Gengler)

An opposition rally in Sitra in Bahrain on 5 January --- the crowd chants, "Down Down [King] Hamad"

As Bahrain approaches the one-year anniversary of the February uprising, neither the formal opposition in al-Wifaq et al., nor the youth-dominated street movement, shows signs of losing interest in pursuing fundamental political change. Indeed, February 14, 2012, will carry more symbolism even than the same date in 2011, as it marks simultaneously the one-year anniversary of mass protests as well as the ten-year anniversary of Bahrain's 2002 Constitution, promulgated unilaterally by King Hamad and, for protesters, symptomatic of the latter's aborted political reform project promised at the outset of his ascension.

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Bahrain Analysis: Are Sunni Groups Moving Away from the Regime? (Gengler) 

Sunni Rally at Al Fatah Mosque, 16 DecemberThe prospect that Bahrain's three Sunni Islamic societies --- representing the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis, and Sunni nationalists in the NGU --- might attempt to coordinate their political programs must be more than a little unsettling to the Al Khalifa ruling family. With a Shi'a-led opposition the state knows how to deal; concerted political mobilization among Bahraini Sunnis is a much more novel --- and more dangerous --- development.

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