Making and Unmaking a revolution: Media and Bahrain

Media freedom has been one of the prime victims of the conflict in Bahrain since 2011. Both sides in the conflict saw media as a key arena for propagating their message and winning support. The protesters turned to outlets that would listen to them such as Iran’s Al-Alam, Al Jazeera English and the new social platform of Twitter. The government and its supporters hit back and ultimately proved successful in instrumentalizing both old and new media to crush the uprising and end at least for now the threat to the entrenched elites who run the country and benefit from its political and economic system. Continue reading Making and Unmaking a revolution: Media and Bahrain

Islamists Empowered: Back to the Future

With the fall of Hosni Mubarak, victory in legislative elections and the presidential vote, and now the approval via referendum of a new constitution, Islamists have begun the work of putting their renaissance project into practice.

Unlike Salafism, which dreams of a recreation of the pre-colonial moment, political Islam has aimed more to repatch together the Islamic state but in an unambiguously modern, post-colonial context. The Brotherhood does not aim to return clerics to man a reestablished classical Sharia court system, rather it seeks to distribute the dominion of Sharia via parliament, legislation and an advisory role for clerics via Al-Azhar. Laymen play a key role in the process of Islamicization that they would not have had before the irruption of Western hegemony and modernity – something alien, for example, to Wahhabi Salafism which simply recognizes the sovereign powers of the temporal ruler in return for the clerics’ advisory role in policy and control of courts, mosques, education and their own coercive force (‘the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice’). Continue reading Islamists Empowered: Back to the Future

Bahrain court upholds sentences on uprising leaders

By Andrew Hammond

DUBAI (Reuters) – A Bahraini civilian court on Tuesday upheld sentences of up to life in prison against leaders of last year’s pro-democracy uprising, a decision that could dim prospects for defusing unrest in the small Gulf Arab state.

Amnesty International, a London-based human rights group, described the ruling as outrageous. Continue reading Bahrain court upholds sentences on uprising leaders

Bahrain economy shrinks in second quarter

By Martin Dokoupil and Andrew Hammond

DUBAI, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Bahrain’s economic output fell in the second quarter of this year after moderate growth in the previous three months, data showed on Sunday, as political unrest continued to weigh on the small oil producer. Continue reading Bahrain economy shrinks in second quarter

Bahrain criticises Iran over Mursi speech mistranslation

By Andrew Hammond and Yeganeh Torbati

DUBAI, Sept 2 | Sun Sep 2, 2012 4:09pm IST

(Reuters) – Bahrain has criticised Iranian officials over a mistranslation of a speech by Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, which replaced the word “Syria” with “Bahrain” when he listed Arab states that had experienced revolts since last year.

The reference was diplomatically sensitive because Iran, a Shi’ite Muslim power and an ally of the Syrian government, has expressed sympathy with a Shi’ite-led democratic protest movement in Bahrain against the ruling Al Khalifa family. The Khalifas, backed by Washington, are Sunni Muslim. Continue reading Bahrain criticises Iran over Mursi speech mistranslation

Egypt bars entry to Bahraini dissident

CAIRO | Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:43pm BST

(Reuters) – A leading Bahraini opposition activist said she had been refused entry to Egypt at Cairo airport on Sunday, accusing Arab governments of continuing repressive security cooperation despite political change in the region.

Maryam al-Khawaja, the Denmark-based international spokesperson for the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, said she had hoped to enter Egypt for a few hours to see friends on a stopover while flying to South Africa. Continue reading Egypt bars entry to Bahraini dissident

Bahrain Shi’ites battle police at protester’s funeral

DUBAI | Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:00pm BST

(Reuters) – Protesters pelted police with petrol bombs and stones in clashes that broke out in Bahrain on Tuesday night at the funeral for a teenage demonstrator killed last week in a new bout of unrest in the U.S.-allied Gulf state. Continue reading Bahrain Shi’ites battle police at protester’s funeral

Bahraini teenager killed in clash with police

DUBAI | Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:40pm BST

(Reuters) – A 16-year-old protester was killed after what opposition activists in Bahrain said was a “brutal attack” by security forces, but which the Bahrain government described as a defensive response to a petrol bomb attack on police. Continue reading Bahraini teenager killed in clash with police

Bahrain jails activist for three years over protests

By Andrew Hammond and Rania El Gamal

DUBAI | Thu Aug 16, 2012 5:16pm EDT

(Reuters) – A prominent Bahraini opposition activist was sentenced to three years in jail on Thursday for anti-government protests, his lawyer said, a verdict Washington said was deeply troubling and rights campaigners called a “dark day for justice”. Continue reading Bahrain jails activist for three years over protests