Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How Bahrain stopped the Arab Spring there

"As the months went by, the Bahraini government went about methodically silencing voices of opposition and discontent. Today, there are practically no opposition figures still free. Professor Valeri says that the regime really started to crack down in earnest after the legislative elections in 2014.

'Up until 2012, world powers like the United States and the United Kingdom were pressuring Bahraini authorities to reform. But after 2012, the US and the UK were under the impression that the Arab Spring movement in Bahrain was over [Editor’s note: The Arab Spring movements that took place in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya had all managed to unseat their dictators by this point] and that all that was left of the struggle were small skirmishes going on in some of the villages. The diplomatic tone changed and these governments started saying that Bahrain would undergo reforms but that it would be a slow process.

Then, in 2014, the US and the UK started pressuring the opposition al-Wefaq party, the main Shiite group in the country, to participate in the legislative elections. Al-Wefaq was trapped. If the group participated in the vote, it would cut off its electoral base, which wanted more radical reforms. However, if it refused to participate, then then it would be accused of standing in the way of reconciliation. It ended up choosing the second option. The Bahraini government took it as a go-ahead to carry out a widespread crackdown on the legal opposition.'"

Saudi Arabia sent in vast numbers of troops to stop a peaceful protest.

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