Blog archive: Bahrain

  • 20th March 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    One year ago this month, an event occurred in Bahrain which – to quote Gulf News – "shook the nation to the core". A secondary-school student and two teachers were arrested and Bahrain's parliament established a special committee to investigate the matter. Its official title was the "Committee...
  • 27th February 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There are smart dictators and foolish dictators. The smart ones stay out of the limelight and don't make waves internationally. The rest of the world then lets them get on with their dictating and doesn't usually interfere. The foolish ones, not content with having a country to run more or less...
  • 21st February 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Perhaps it's a sense of their own insecurity that makes Bahrain's royals so eager to "win" obscure and meaningless awards which can then be trumpeted in the Gulf kingdom's media. There was a notorious occasion in 2013 when King Hamad, in the midst of ongoing repression, was named "...
  • 30th December 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Bahrain has an outstanding human rights record based on modern and advanced constitutional and legal texts and principles, the Gulf kingdom's prime minister, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, claimed on Sunday. It is a record which plays a crucial role in "defending the kingdom and...
  • 30th September 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Bahrain's latest PR offensive, which involved sending a 200-strong delegation to the United States under the banner "This is Bahrain", has ended in a rather comical fiasco. Earlier this week, the delegation – from the pro-government Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations (BFEA) – claimed...
  • 28th September 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A campaign to polish up Bahrain's tarnished image in the United States is reported to have enlisted help from the Israeli propaganda outfit, MEMRI. A 200-strong delegation from the pro-government Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations (BFEA) is currently in the US promoting "This is...
  • 2nd September 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Bahrain has become the latest Gulf state to propose a formal ban on critical discussion of religion. In a report of last Sunday's cabinet meeting, the government news agency says: "A draft law on criminalising contempt of religions, such as insulting divinity, defaming divine books,...
  • 25th July 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Nuclear reactors are one of the UK's top exports to Bahrain, according to a document published this week by the British Foreign Office. The claim appears in an official guide, "Doing Business in Bahrain", which aims to promote trade with the repressive Gulf kingdom. The guide lists "nuclear...
  • 8th June 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Dr Omar Hassan (right) on a visit to Bahrain. Photo: BNA The grandly-titled Gulf Centre for Strategic Studies is a small limited company registered in the UK, with two directors: Dr Omar Said al-Hassan and Mrs Siham al-Hassan. It is sometimes described as a think tank. Despite its small...
  • 18th May 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Bahrain's leaders have been swift to congratulate David Cameron on his election victory in Britain. As soon as the results became known, King Hamad, his uncle Khalifa (the world's longest serving prime minister – 43 years in office) and the crown prince all dispatched cables "...
  • 10th February 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Photograph: Bahrain News Agency Surely it's time for everyone, including the British government, to stop talking about Bahrain's "reforms". Bahrain government news agency,  27 December 2011: Information Affairs Authority President Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa today...
  • 16th December 2014
    By
    The Muftah website has just published a collection of articles about LGBTQ sexualities in the Middle East. Noting that many analyses extend no further than a cursory look at the "persecution of gays" in "Muslim countries", Muftah says the aim of its collection is to...

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