The Gulf Example of Political Change: the Thrift of Sectarianism and Violence in Bahrain
“The Gulf Example of Political Change: the thrift of sectarianism and violence in Bahrain” is a new study by Bahrain Centre for Studies in London (BCSL), prepared by the Bahraini writer, Abbas Al-Murshed.
This study examines the impact of the limited political openness on the escalated issue of democratic transition due to the Arab Spring revolutions,as they have revealed the difficulty of resorting to a single model in the Arab situation, and the reason is due to a set of factors. Most notably as shown in the movement of Arab spring in Bahrain are two factors, first is the degree of political openness that leads to an entire national identity, and the second is the system’s ability to recruit groups and sub-identities in order to break the national identity, leading eventually to the formation of a violent sectarian thrift.
Of course, the international factor is still remaining strong if not decisive in some cases in determining the course of revolutions of the Arab springand its effectiveness. And as a fundamental factor, the kind of political system, whether it was a monarchy or republic is the foundation for the construction of a typical analysis of revolutions in the Arab spring, where the type of the system will determine the type of the revolution held against it.
The Bahraini case show the degree of complexity faced by the Arab spring in the monarchical states, associated with other factors, which made the international factor supportive to the regime. And it is followed by the ability of the Gulf monarchies to employ the financial capacity and tribal legitimacy to discourage the mass media, and to form public political wings against the political opposition movement. The role of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the intervention, and in determining the direction of Arab Spring revolution in Bahrain was clear and decisive. It has also played a supportive role to the regime in Bahrain, and started pumping money both directly and indirectly in its economy, and quickly reacting through a military intervention towards the Shiite movement in Bahrain.
The amount of violence used against the Arab Spring revolution in Bahrain confirms the sincerity of the analysis stating that the Gulf States are qualified enough to transform from any national political track to a very violent and sectarian one. Starting from social expansion of existing systems and link it economically to many social groups with the regime itself. And that makes the issue of overthrowing the regime in oil-based countries more complex, and creates more complicated political and social issue. Therefore, a harsh political reform path rather than soft political reform may be the best option for the opposition political forces in the Gulf monarchies, which means the essential need to build a national identity as a prerequisite to a democratic transition through the gate of the harsh political reform.
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