Blog archive: Bahrain

  • 23rd November 2014
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The British embassy in Bahrain was busy yesterday putting a positive spin on the tiny Gulf kingdom's controversial elections. One tweet posted in Arabic by the British Foreign Office showed ambassador Iain Lindsay at a polling station, accompanied by the US ambassador,...
  • 20th November 2014
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Bahrain's ruling family is holding parliamentary and local government elections today but they are unlikely to do anything to resolve the kingdom's political crisis. The main opposition group, al-Wefaq, is boycotting the polls, along with several other groups – mainly on the grounds...
  • 30th May 2014
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    King Hamad: insulted at home, welcomed in Britain It doesn't take much to upset King Hamad of Bahrain who is rapidly emerging as the most thin-skinned monarch in the Gulf. So many people have hurt the king's feelings recently that the maximum penalty for "insulting" him was increased earlier...
  • 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...
  • 18th January 2014
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It's the "Great British Week" in Bahrain – an event designed to celebrate Britain's "friendship" with the repressive Gulf kingdom and secure some lucrative business deals. Staying well away from the protests and teargas, a red London bus is touring the streets and Prince Andrew (the...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 21st July 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Bahrain's ruling family has a long history of promising reform, and a long history of failing to deliver. We saw it most recently in connection with the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, where key recommendations are still to be implemented. But that's nothing new: arguments about...
  • 18th July 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The right of people to get together and organise themselves in pursuit of shared interests is one of the building blocks for a free and open society. It is also something that Arab regimes fear, since active citizenship undermines their authority. Consequently, many of them have introduced laws...
  • 15th July 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Gulf Daily News, which bills itself as "The voice of Bahrain", is up to its old tricks again. Under the jubilant headline "Opposition vanishing", it reported yesterday: "A major new survey reveals that support for Bahrain's opposition is dramatically waning as the Premier steers...

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