GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Challenges unfolded: Case of Bahrain
Paper Proposal Text :
This paper argue that the GCC countries were not immune against the wave of revolution brewing in the region, despite the differences between these countries and Arab spring countries i.e: Egypt and Tunisia, interms of their political system , political activism , state –society relationship.
The lack of immunity was proved by the case of Bahrain that witnessed since Feb.14 2011, three days after the step down of Egypt Ex-President Mubarak, a wave of protests. The main driving forces of these protest were youth and traditional opposition forces, most of which composed of Shiaa with minor representation of Sunni politicians , namely the Wa'ad association.
Obviously, it can be argued that what was going in Bahrain was another version for what happened in Egypt, and Tunisia. As the protesters used same tactics used in Tahrir square, similar slogans, and called for the down of the regime.
But deep analysis of what happened, reveals that the situation in Bahrain is more complicated than that in Egypt or Tunisia.
The situation in Bahrain, especially after the destruction of the pearl-roundabout, raised many challenges to the ruling elite. It questioned its legitimacy, and its strategies of reforms followed since 1999.It unfolded that the ruling elite is seeking its own security, that can be assured by cracking any genuine opposition to its rule. Even if this will threaten state or societal security.
Besides, the dynamics of the struggle between the protesters and the state in many streets, in Manama mainly, unfolded the gap between the ruling elite, the opposition, in terms of its political capacities. It unfolded too the absence of the strong state that can provide security to other Sunni areas at time of the clashes between the state police and the protesters. It unfolded also a weak society divided along sectarian lines.
Moreover, the manner through which the regime reacted to these protests, using the media , security forces, and its regional and international connections, deepened the sectarian divide in the society, and the closeness of ethnic identities among both the Shiaa and Sunnis.
This paper argue that despite the success of the ruling regime in Bahrain to crackdown the protesters, there are many challenges that questions the future of the state and the regime. And dealing with these challenges might be more difficult than cracking down the opposition. The paper will analyze two main challenges, the challenge of legitimacy, and the closeness of ethnic identities.
This paper will be divided into four sections. Section1 provides an overview of what happened on the eve of Feb.14, the map of the protesters, the dynamics of the protests, and the reaction of the regime till the destruction of the roundabout. Section two, will analyze the challenges of legitimacy, and the closeness of ethnic identities, and how it will impact the future of the state. Section three will end with few concluding remarks.
The paper will use the Conflict Analysis framework developed by Michale Lund in analyzing the conflict between the protester and the state during the protests period. The researcher will conduct number of interviews with shiaa activists, as well as field visits to Bahrain. It will also analyze many relevant local media materials.