The Sorrows of Egypt: A Tale of Two Men
Back to the Bazaar
Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East
Adrift on the Nile
The Limits of the Opposition in Egypt
Is El Baradei Egypt's Hero?
Mohamed El Baradei and the Chance for Reform
Morning in Tunisia
The Frustrations of the Arab World Boil Over
Letter From Cairo
The People's Military in Egypt?
The U.S.-Egyptian Breakup
Washington's Limited Options in Cairo
The Muslim Brotherhood After Mubarak
What the Brotherhood Is and How it Will Shape the Future
Egypt's Democratic Mirage
How Cairo’s Authoritarian Regime Is Adapting to Preserve Itself
Overcoming Fear and Anxiety in Tel Aviv
How Israel Can Turn Egypt's Unrest Into an Opportunity
Mubarakism Without Mubarak
Why Egypt’s Military Will Not Embrace Democracy
Postcolonial Time Disorder
Egypt and the Middle East, Stuck in the Past
Egypt's Constitutional Ghosts
Deciding the Terms of Cairo’s Democratic Transition
A Tunisian Solution for Egypt’s Military
Why Egypt's Military Will Not Be Able to Govern
The Fall of the Pharaoh
How Hosni Mubarak’s Reign Came to an End
The Black Swan of Cairo
How Suppressing Volatility Makes the World Less Predictable and More Dangerous
Green Movement 2.0?
How U.S. Support Could Lead the Opposition to Victory
Letter From Sana’a
Saleh on the Edge
Bahrain’s Shia Question
What the United States Gets Wrong About Sectarianism
Rage Comes to Baghdad
Will Iraq's Recent Protests Lead to Revolt?
The Sturdy House That Assad Built
Why Damascus Is Not Cairo
Rageless in Riyadh
Why the Al Saud Dynasty Will Remain
Syria's Assad No Longer in Vogue
What Everyone Got Wrong About Bashar al-Assad
Meanwhile in the Maghreb
Have Algeria and Morocco Avoided North Africa’s Unrest?
Bahrain's Base Politics
The Arab Spring and America’s Military Bases
Let Them Eat Bread
How Food Subsidies Prevent (and Provoke) Revolutions in the Middle East
Libya's Terra Incognita
Who and What Will Follow Qaddafi?
What Intervention Looks Like
How the West Can Aid the Libyan Rebels
The Folly of Protection
Is Intervention Against Qaddafi’s Regime Legal and Legitimate?
To the Shores of Tripoli
Why Operation Odyssey Dawn Should Not Stop At Benghazi
A New Lease on Life for Humanitarianism
How Operation Odyssey Dawn Will Revive RtoP
The Mythology of Intervention
Debating the Lessons of History in Libya
Flight of the Valkyries?
What Gender Does and Doesn’t Tell Us About Operation Odyssey Dawn
Winning Ugly in Libya
What the United States Should Learn From Its War in Kosovo
Demystifying the Arab Spring
Parsing the Differences Between Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya
Understanding the Revolutions of 2011
Weakness and Resilience in Middle Eastern Autocracies
The Heirs of Nasser
Who Will Benefit From the Second Arab Revolution?
The Rise of the Islamists
How Islamists Will Change Politics, and Vice Versa
Terrorism After the Revolutions
How Secular Uprisings Could Help (or Hurt) Jihadists
The spirit of Cairo’s Tahrir Square was reborn on February 16, as a diverse group of Bahrainis gathered in Pearl Square in Manama, the country’s capital. Two days before, a Facebook-organized “Day of Rage” had ended in two deaths as security forces cracked down on protesters. Now, the demonstrators marched from the funeral toward Pearl Square’s traffic roundabout, determined to continue the fight for a new Bahrain. Officials from the main Shia political society, the Islamic National Accord Association (Al-Wefaq) brought cleaning supplies to scrub graffiti off the Pearl Square fountain. The leader of the leftist secular National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) movement spoke of Bahrain’s proud history of cross-sectarian labor activism and proposed the formation of a new national organization to press for a genuine constitutional monarchy. Shia and Sunni prayed together. By nightfall, thousands of unaligned Bahrainis had crowded the square to join what, by then, felt like a celebration.
Yet that celebration was cruelly extinguished at three in the morning by a surprise police attack on the sleeping encampments. Security forces wounded hundreds and killed four in the brutally efficient raid. Even health workers seeking to aid the wounded were attacked. By morning, the space where Bahrain’s pro-democracy activists, Shia and Sunni, had come together was encased in barbed wire. The ruling al-Khalifa monarchy did not want that unity to continue.
Like much of the news media covering Bahrain’s uprising, it prefers a simpler narrative of Shia against Sunni. Just as Hosni Mubarak held Egypt hostage for decades to a false choice between staying loyal to his regime or facing an Islamist takeover, the ruling al-Khalifa family resisted democratic reform by presenting themselves as protectors of the Sunni community against the Shia majority. The extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Bahrain on the same day as the Pearl Square raid both reinforced and broadened this threat by sharply denouncing foreign (read: Iranian) intervention in Gulf countries.
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