The Shia of Bahrain & Failed Arab Spring

Home to the United States 5th fleet, securing the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and significant parts of the Indian Ocean, Bahraini’s are unfortunate to live in Saudi Arabia’s eastern island, wedged in between Saudi perfidy and U.S. reluctance, the Shia in Bahrain have been defeated, but will not stand down.  Its an idea of revolutionary fervor that has found a home in Tehran and its own vision of encircling the Arabian peninsula.

King Hamad has an uncle named Khalifa bin Salman, he’s the world’s oldest living prime minister.  He’s been on the job over 45 years straight and he embodies the animus most have come to have for this ruling class.  The king himself has only ruled since 1999, he’s managed to both spread profound austerity with monopolizing power on an island that the Saudi’s believe is their’s to manage, yet fail at every step to reform.

In order for Bahrain to survive, the price of oil must double; the Saudi’s have underwritten enormous budget deficits in tandem with other reliable Gulf partners threatened by the Arab Spring.  Having asked McKinsey & Company to write Vision 2030 as a blueprint for market liberalization, Bahrain is stuck in a vicious subsidy trap.  Currently, its bond ratings are rated junk.  Wait. . . it gets worse.

Assaulting a strong demographic trend, Bahrain is home to over 60% Shia.  To eradicate these trends the King as his ministers have built new mansions for Sunni’s while importing a rash of Hindu temples.  (You read that right.)  By hosting a rapid influx of non-Shia foreigners, churches and other Arabic lumpen, the ruling Al-Khalifas in solidarity with other reigning Sunni monarchies are waiting out an impending storm.

Communal tensions are rising; but there is no civil order, no civil society from which a person can find refuge.  Recently, the Islamic State put out a video of a Bahraini ideologue exclaiming that regional Sunni’s should place suicide bombers throughout the Shia in Bahrain.

Bahrain is ground zero for an Arab Spring that never had a chance to take on the deep state.  But don’t worry, for the ruling Sunni’s have no grasp, no fealty or hold on their populations; evidenced in barren industrial baselines, failed liberalization efforts, climbing deficits and irreconcilable political, social aims of a vacant citizenry.


Bahraini Demonstrators Retake Pearl Roundabout As Army Backs Out


About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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