Friday, April 08, 2011

ICG report on Bahrain deserves your attention

"The military intervention and Bahrain’s subsequent tough line have made peaceful resolution of the country’s political crisis immensely more difficult and the regional context significantly tenser. It is unclear how meaningful, peaceful dialogue can be resumed, but it is long overdue and remains absolutely necessary. Given the level of distrust, involvement of a credible third party facilitator appears to be both essential and urgent. The goal would be to work out a plan for gradual but genuine reform toward a constitutional monarchy, with real parliamentary powers and redress of sectarian discrimination. In this context, Saudi Arabia and the other contributing Gulf states should withdraw their security forces and equipment from the island. Protesters should continue to use peaceful means to express their grievances and demands while agreeing to negotiate with the regime.
"As for the U.S., anxious about its relationship with Saudi Arabia and the GCC, it nonetheless should understand that repression in Bahrain will do neither it nor its allies any good in the longer term. Bahrain’s post-colonial history lends at least some hope to the possibility of dialogue and compromise, as despite its obvious problems the country has also known a degree of pluralism and a vibrant civil society. But the window of opportunity is fast closing."

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