Please find the link to our final paper and PowerPoint presentation below:
In early February and March, the Bahraini opposition demanded only constitutional reforms and a fully-elected parliament.
However, since these demands were not met, the leading Shia opposition party threatened to pull out of the government sponsored talks. The talks were set up to be inherently unfair. Out of 300 representatives, only 25 were from Shia groups, and the only 5 of these members were from Al-Wifaq. Protesters demanded that opposition parties not even participate in the talks because they were inherently unfair and the political process was corrupt. The monarchy was not involved at all in the talk and the discussions never even came close to the root causes of the protests. These talks took place throughout the summer but stalled with the opposition of Al-Wifaq.
Professor O’Donnell mentioned credit crunches in Bahrain in class the other day. Here is an interesting article about how the credit crunch in Bahrain effected the economic growth of the country and actually caused many private and state run projects within the country to be cancelled. Clearly, the protests this year will cause the economy to decline further.
As was mentioned in an earlier post, the Bahraini government was forced to sell a large Islamic bomb in order to make ends meet with its budget deficit. Bahraini tourism also dropped 80% over the past year. These factors, with already high unemployment with the country, will make it harder for the regime to appease its citizens.
These two articles from the Financial Times here and here provide a great recap of the first protests in Bahrain and the economic concerns facing the country. The “Day of Rage” started the protests in Bahrain that have simmered throughout the year and have since been rekindled by the issuance of the BICI report. The “Day of Rage” in Bahrain brought about a harsh crackdown from the regime, which brought in foreign troops and destroyed the Pearl Roundabout in an attempt to quell the protests.
This documentary on Bahrain called “Shouting in the Dark” provides a harrowing look at what is the continued situation in the country.
There are some disturbing allegations against the regime that have been noted before. Perhaps the scariest are the allegations of targeting doctors, because they have proof of the atrocities committed by the regime and have spoken to the international media. See the article below for more information. If this is true, it is a serious breech of human rights and medical ethics.
Doctors are targeted in Bahrain after protests.
For a little bit of history background, I found this article. Bahrain was once the site to get the world’s most expensive pearls, but the market has been driven down and Bahrain does not do much pearling anymore. However, Bahrain is trying to get some of these pearling areas turned into UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Bahrain looks to declare its pearling fields a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here are some updates on the credit crisis in Bahrain that has been going on since 2009. The credit crisis here has the potential to be worse than those we saw in Iceland and elsewhere. Compounded with the regional instability, this may be the next country to watch in terms of financial collapse.
Bahrain’s credit crisis started in 2009. The protests have had a detrimental effect on the the credit rating as of late. This credit crisis could prove to be worse than the any other banking sector crisis we’ve seen thus far.Finally, the regime crackdown continues even though there are several prolific journalists inside the country. Nick Kristof is in Bahrain and he provides a sobering account of regime violence.
This briefing from Amnesty International shows that the Bahrain Independent Commission (BICI) Report was a “landmark” achievement. However, as of yet, the reforms have yet to be seen by protesters on the ground who are continually attacked by the government.
Prison sentences for protesters have not been changed by the regime. These sentences are long and arduous, even for simply protesting. Similarly, several protesters still face death sentences from military trials that used their testimony against them under allegations of torture. Without reforms of these policies, one can’t expect much to change in Bahrain.
An interesting fact from this report is that on February 18th, Britain ended its military licenses with Bahrain. It will be interesting to see in the near future if the United States goes through with its military agreements with Bahrain.