Archive: bahrain

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, prophets, Allah… Read more
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 size and… Read more
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 "hailing historic… Read more
16th December 2014
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 broaden popular, simplistic… Read more
10th December 2014
By: Brian Whitaker
Twelve British MPs have signed a parliamentary motion criticising the government's decision to establish a "permanent" naval base in Bahrain. The motion says: "This House is appalled that Britain has signed an agreement with the government of Bahrain to establish a permanent military base at Port… Read more
21st February 2014
By: Brian Whitaker
Bahrain is to renovate a Jewish synagogue in the capital, Manama, Gulf News reports: Visiting the religious venue, Minister of Culture Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad al-Khalifa said that she was looking forward to the renovation of the synagogue as one of the iconic places in Manama that reflected the… Read more
22nd December 2013
By: Brian Whitaker
The latest issue of the Middle East Policy Council's journal contains a lengthy essay on US policy towards Bahrain, basically arguing that reforms in the tiny Gulf kingdom should stop short of full democracy. Its author, Ronald Neumann, is a former US ambassador to Bahrain and currently president… Read more
15th October 2013
By: Brian Whitaker
Seven public relations firms – mostly British or American – are vying to win a contract from Bahrain's repressive government.  Western PR companies have often been criticised in the past for taking up lucrative assignments aimed at polishing the kingdom's tarnished image. In Bahrain itself, they… Read more
13th August 2013
By: Brian Whitaker
Tomorrow, August 14, is Bahrain’s Independence Day and opposition activists, mostly from the kingdom’s Shia majority, have called for mass demonstrations to press for a "free and democratic Bahrain".  In turn the kingdom’s rulers – from the Sunni minority – have banned protests in the capital,… Read more
1st August 2013
By: Brian Whitaker
Bahrain has announced wide-ranging new “security” measures which the prime minister says will give the authorities more power to “combat the scourge of terror and maintain security and stability”. Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah, who is an uncle of the king and has served as prime minister for 42… Read more