Monday, February 21, 2011

Well-argued OPED on Bahrain

Emile Nakhleh, whose 1975 book is a seminal account of Bahraini politics, offers a smart commentary on Bahrain.

"In truth, Bahrain is just one further country in which the spectre of Shia threat has been carefully constructed to maintain US support for a repressive regime. When I was in the intelligence community, we briefed about sources of instability, often citing the systematic discrimination against the Shia. These grievances, now voiced by protesters, have seen the majority excluded from power and denied basic freedoms for decades."
"Whatever happens, the west must be sceptical of talk about a rising Shia crescent. Iran’s influence has increased since the invasion of Iraq. But few Shia groups in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon have turned to it for guidance. Instead, they focus on domestic grievances. If there is a Shia revival, it is country specific. Iran’s influence in these places is no larger than it ever was."

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