Bahrain Policy Brief


July 12, 2011

By Joshua Jacobs. Research Assistant, Abigail Casey.

“The Kingdom of Bahrain has cultivated the image of a moderate, democratic, and liberal Arab state; an example to be emulated. It was thus all the more jarring for many observers when the waves of the Arab Spring suddenly struck the shores of Bahrain in early February 2011. However, this surprise is unwarranted. Beneath the veneer of liberalism and the outward presentation of tolerance lie problems and grievances that have festered at the core of the Bahraini state since it first gained independence from Britain in the early 1970s. These problems have remained largely unaddressed despite the introduction of major political reforms in the last decade. Rather, the flaws in those same reforms have helped to galvanize anger against the Bahraini political establishment by putting the desired freedoms in reach but still unattainable. The flaws in the recent reforms have intensely highlighted the problems that remain…”

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