Chronology: Bahrain

The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2012 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Bahrain


See also Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

Apr. 22: The Formula One Grand Prix took place in Bahrain amid violent clashes between anti-government protesters and Bahraini police. On the eve of the race, protest leader Salah 'Abbas Habib was found dead outside the capital with gunshot wounds. Last year's Grand Prix was canceled due to widespread civil unrest.[NYT, 4/22]

Apr. 25: A bomb exploded in the Shi'a village of Diraz, critically wounding four Bahraini policemen during clashes with protesters. The incident followed a similar explosion earlier this month when seven policemen were injured in Akr village. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but a group called 14 February Youth Coalition threatened to carry out bomb attacks in retaliation for the excessive use of force against protesters and detainees. Sixty people were said to have been killed since the uprising began in 2011. [BBC, 4/25]

Apr. 30: Imprisoned hunger striker 'Abd al-Hadi al-Khawaja won a retrial after a military court sentenced him to life in prison in June 2011 for plotting against the state. Khadija al-Moussawi, Khawaja's wife, accused the ruling Sunni monarchy of buying time and not addressing the demands for political reform. [BBC, 4/30]

May 3: Hoping to quell the escalating unrest from the Shi'a opposition in Bahrain, King Hamad bin 'Isa Al Khalifa ratified amendments to the country's constitution which granted more powers to the parliament. The amendments required the king to consult the heads of the popularly elected parliament and the appointed Consultative Council, but fell short of the opposition's demand for complete democratic governance. [AJE, 5/3]

May 12: Despite growing unrest and reports of human rights violations in Bahrain, the Obama Administration notified Congress to resume arms sales to the ruling Sunni monarchy in Bahrain. Certain items were withheld from the sale, including teargas, stun grenades, TOW missiles, and armored cars. The US, which considered the small Gulf island nation to be a bulwark against growing Iranian influence, was harshly criticized for its consistent support of the monarchy throughout the civil unrest. …

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