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Bahrain has been a platform for political and social turmoil since February 2011, and the people of Bahrain had invariably been influenced by democratic marches that broke out in Arab countries, particularly in Tunisia and Egypt, in January 2011. The mass movement that had erupted in the Arab world during the period – described by media outlets as “the Arab Spring” – motivated tens of thousands to march into the streets and organize sit-ins for weeks at the Pearl roundabout in Al-Manama – the capital of Bahrain – in demand of a constitutional monarchy that would end the reign of the longest serving Prime Minister in the world – Sheikh Khalifa Al-Khalifa – who had been appointed as the Prime Minister of Bahrain more than 44 years ago.
The demands focused on granting the people of Bahrain the right to elect their own government, giving the parliament the legislative authority, and having elections based on the international principle of “one person, one vote”. Sunni citizens and leaders participated [in the strikes] to a certain extent, especially following the strike in the Pearl roundabout, however, most protesters were Shia citizens. On March 14, 2011, military forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates came into the country on a mission announced by the Peninsula Shield Force as being: the protection of vital sites in the tiny island (Al-Arabiya, 14-3-2011).
On March 15, 2011, the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa issued a royal decree in which he declared a state of emergency for three months (Bahrain News Agency). Following that, the government of Bahrain announced “cleansing” and demolishing the Pearl roundabout. Tens were killed, and thousands were arrested or fired from their jobs. The Pearl roundabout was not only demolished, it was also renamed as Al-Farouq Junction. The conflict in Bahrain has fragmented the national identity and built strong barriers between the Shia majority and the Sunni Minority, and between supporters of the government and the opposition. The conflict was, and continues to be, fueled by the unstable regional context, and the severe sectarian conflicts in Iraq and Yemen.