Parliamentary elections

The parliamentary elections which are to be held in November 2014 are a vital opportunity for re-energizing the democratic process; particularly after the 2012 Constitutional Amendments for empowering elected MPs. The opposition’s threat to boycott these elections risks prolonging the political crisis and deepening divisions within society. This is a bad decision for those who want Bahrain to move forward.

Constitutional Monarchy

Most Bahrainis support reform, not revolution. Although there is still much to be achieved, King Hamad has put Bahrain on the path towards a reformed Constitutional Monarchy. Bahrainis today enjoy a wider range of rights and privileges compared to just 10 years ago.

Going back to Freedom House and other reports on Bahrain prior to 2011, we see praise of the vision and efforts for transforming Bahrain into a Constitutional Monarchy with enshrined rights and freedoms for its citizens. After the failed “Arab Spring” revolutions in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere, this vision deserves support.

Progressive Bahrain

Bahrain is by far the most progressive, liberal and open country in the Gulf. Laws protecting women’s rights, the rights of minorities and enshrining cultural tolerance are testament to this. Women hold key positions in government and business and play a strong role in society. Bahrain is a family-friendly and tolerant country for expatriates.

Compared with elsewhere in the region, Bahrain’s religious and racial minorities enjoy equal rights and representation.

Reforms & human rights

One of the main reasons why the casualty rate has decreased sharply since 2011 is an intensive retraining program for the security forces; as well as new codes of conduct clearly prohibiting torture and excessive use of force. All of this has helped in managing civil disturbances with restraint, despite increasing violence from rioters.

Such reforms are just some of the measures implemented as a result of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry recommendations. The opposition is lying when it says that none of these measures have been adopted. These reforms have been widely recognized.

It is disappointing that many media outlets refuse to acknowledge these positive developments and are excessively sympathetic to opposition voices.

Exploitation of children

The opposition has been putting children in harm’s way. Children have been radicalized and used to build roadblocks and throw rocks. Two young children were seriously injured in March 2014 when the bomb they were transporting exploded.


The opposition is not a democratic or representative movement. The key figures behind the leading opposition grouping, Al-Wefaq Islamic Society are made up of Ayatollahs and clerics.

The protest movement is increasing dominated by militants with a sectarian and Islamistagenda. Al Wefaq and their supporters effectively rejected the path of Dialogue through their actions. They must do more to distance themselves from terrorism.

Terrorism & Iran

Numerous militants have been killed while trying to stage bomb attacks against police.

Shipments of weapons from Iran have been impounded. Iran has been involved in arming, training and funding militantsIranian TV channels have been radicalizing and inciting young people.


Rather than adopting confidence-building measures in support of the Crown Prince’s initiative for recommencing the National Dialogue, opposition groups in February 2014 embarked on a new wave of  protests and rioting. Dialogue is still the only acceptable way out of the ongoing crisis; but this will take political will and flexibility from both sides.

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