Bahrain Opposition on Verge of Pulling out of Government Talks

By Chick, Kristen | The Christian Science Monitor, July 15, 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Bahrain Opposition on Verge of Pulling out of Government Talks


Chick, Kristen, The Christian Science Monitor


Al Wefaq, Bahrain's main Shiite political party, is close to pulling out of the national dialogue to discuss reform, arguing it's only a fig leaf for continued autocracy.

The largest opposition group in Bahrain is likely to soon pull out of a national dialogue set up by the government to address a political crisis that has been simmering since the government crushed a pro-democracy uprising in the spring.

The talks are structured to dilute the voice of the opposition and give the illusion that the government is addressing political problems when it is actually ignoring them, charges Khalil Al Marzooq, a spokesman for Al Wefaq, the strongest Shiite opposition party. He and three other party delegates have recommended to the leadership that Al Wefaq leave the talks so as not to be part of a government charade. A decision will likely be made soon.

"We entered the dialogue to help the country, to try to reform it from inside," he said by phone from Manama. "But now we believe that we have enough evidence for the international community that the authorities are not serious in reform. ... Nobody is responding to us. We cannot continue this, fooling ourselves and fooling the people and fooling the international community that this is a solution."

The national dialogue comes after the government brutally crushed an uprising that began in February in the tiny island ruled by a Sunni monarchy. Protesters, who were mostly from the majority- Shiite population, called for democratic reforms, including a new constitution, an elected government, and an empowered parliament.

Analysts say the government-sponsored talks aren't getting to these root causes of the uprising, and they see little sign the government is willing to implement real political reform that would address those issues. Without change, protesters and the political opposition are unlikely to give up their fight, which means no solution for unrest is in sight for the tiny US ally that hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

"I think the national dialogue is designed to fail to solve the real serious political issues and it's designed to shore up the regime's position," says Toby Jones, a historian of the Gulf at Rutgers University. With the talks, as well as a commission appointed by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to investigate the crackdown, "there's an underlying case being made by the government that the crisis started in February," he says, instead of acknowledging the long-running problems that led to the uprising.

Coming on the heels of a visit by Bahrain's crown prince to the US and Europe, both moves also appear meant to placate international allies like the US, which has pressured Bahrain to find a political, rather than a security, solution to the crisis.

To the opposition, the biggest problem with the talks is their structure. Out of 320 participants, just 25 are members of the political opposition, according to Marzooq. That includes four Al Wefaq members - a fifth who would have participated is currently detained on charges of passing false information to the media.

Representatives of the monarchy are not present. Members are divided into four groups focused on politics, rights, economics, and social issues, and are each given five minutes to speak in a session. Consensus is reached by majority opinion, says Marzooq. Because the government filled the invitee list with pro-government delegates, the voices of the opposition are drowned out.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bahrain Opposition on Verge of Pulling out of Government Talks
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.