Bahrain (Country threat level - 4): Approximately 10,000 people participated in an opposition demonstration in Sitra, an island south of Manama, on 25 March 2005. The mainly Shiite demonstrators called for democratic reforms in the state, including a new constitution agreed upon by the people. The demonstration remained peaceful, but government officials later indicated that unspecified measures would be taken against the organizers of the rally, including prominent leaders in the Shiite community, for not attaining authorization for the march.
AIR SECURITY International - HOT SPOTS 3/28/2005
Bahrain (Country threat level - 4): Bahraini government officials have voiced concerns that clashes in Manama between security forces and unemployed workers and students that have occurred for three consecutive nights since 30 November may continue. A Bahraini official has accused protest organizers of attempting to mimic the riots that shook France's suburbs and cities in late October and November. These clashes started as a protest organized by Bahrain's unemployment committee to protest the lack of jobs in Bahrain and to push for an investigation into a recent claim of an assault by unidentified men on a committee member.
Rioters set several cars on fire and set off explosions with gas cylinders. The streets in Manama were littered with stones and the city was brought to a halt as traffic backed up on its main roads. Riot police used tear gas, truncheons and helicopters to quell unrest. Several people were injured and at least a dozen rioters have been arrested so far.
AIR SECURITY International - HOT SPOTS 12/2/2005
Islamists dominate Bahrain elections
Sun Nov 26, 11:36 AM ET
Islamist candidates swept to victory in Bahrain's parliamentary election, splitting the vote between hardline Shiite and Sunni Muslims while female and liberal candidates fared poorly in the U.S.-allied kingdom, preliminary results showed Sunday. With several races headed for runoffs, Saturday's vote appeared to reinforce the sectarian divide between the Persian Gulf island's governing Sunni minority and the underprivileged Shiites who make up two-thirds of its 700,000 people.
The results also underlined a deepening social and religious conservatism in Bahrain, which has been among the most liberal of Arab states in the region and is host to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. ...
Is Iran opening another front to distract from its nuclear program? Reminds me of 1938: if it was not rearmament, it was Austria, or the Sudetenland, or Memel, or Danzig - always some claim to stir the pot and keep the Western democracies off balance.
Bahrain seeks reason for Iran province claim
12 July 2007
MANAMA - Claims by the editor of a hardline Iranian newspaper that Bahrain is part of Iran and should be returned have provoked uproar in the Gulf Arab island which is seeking an explanation from Teheran. Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of conservative Iranian daily Kayhan, said in an article published on Monday that Bahrain was a province of non-Arab, Shia Iran, and that Bahrainis were demanding the island’s return to its ‘native land’.
The comments caused a firestorm in Bahrain, which has a majority Shia population but is ruled by a Sunni royal family, and threaten to escalate into a diplomatic spat. ‘We are awaiting an official response from Iran on the ... Shariatmadari issue,’ a Bahraini Foreign Ministry official who declined to be named told Reuters on Thursday.
Sectarian tensions have flared in Bahrain in the past, as Shia s complain of discrimination in jobs and services. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to whom Shariatmadari is considered close, is one of a number of religious leaders to whom Shia Muslims look for guidance, although only a minority of Bahraini Shia s follow Khamenei.
Bahrain’s shura council, or upper chamber of parliament, condemned Shariatmadari’s comments. ‘The shura council in Bahrain has strongly deplored the irresponsible statements released by the advisor to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and managing editor of Iranian daily Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari,’ it said in a statement.
Bahrain is an ally of the United States and hosts the US navy’s Fifth Fleet, whose deployment of two aircraft carriers off Iranian waters in recent months has raised pressure on the Islamic Republic in its nuclear standoff with the West. Iran says its nuclear enrichment programme is peaceful but Western powers suspect it is secretly building a bomb.
Iran’s embassy in Bahrain said Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki would address the issue during a trip to the tiny Gulf Arab kingdom on Friday. It was not clear whether Shariatmadari’s comments triggered the visit.
Embassy spokesman Abulghasem Vafaei distanced Iranian policy from Shariatmadari, saying he did not advise Iran’s leadership in foreign affairs. ‘This article is completely his personal view, it is not related to any official. This man is a journalist, not an adviser in foreign policy,’ he said.