Saturday, June 04, 2011

Political future of Bahrain now at a crossroad

Bahrain has lifted its emergency rule, but discontent is, as I expected earlier, continues to simmer. Certainly, it is a right move on the part of the Obama administration to push even harder for political reform in the puny island-state before' (1)' it becomes a de facto province of either Saudi Arabia or Iran and' (2) the hearts as well as minds of the majority' of the young and more idealistic reformists are won by Iran. The crucial questions now are (1) how much reform the ruling class in Bahrain is ready and willing to' concede or 'grant'' without' itself being threatened ?' (2)'' how much reform' the majority of Bahrainis wants ? and' (3)' how much reform' in Bahrain the nervous and watchful ruling class in Saudi Arabia is ready to accept as it fears the demonstration effect of a freer Bahrain and increase of Iran's influence among freer Bahrainis ?' Iran still demands the withdrawal of the Saudi Arabia'-led GCC troops from Bahrain' whose future is still pretty far from certain.