What Protests in Bahrain Are Really About
Joost Hiltermann writes in the New York Review of Books blog about his recent trip to Bahrain:
Talking to dozens of people both in Manama and in smaller communities outside the capital, I was told again and again that the situation was becoming worse, not better: police forces have been using large quantities of tear gas against protesters, repeatedly causing deaths; police brutality had not ended but moved from police stations to alleyways and undeclared detention centers; young activists are increasingly resorting to Molotov cocktails, subverting the peaceful nature of the protests; and the government has not opened any dialogue with the opposition or offered hope for political reform.
Hiltermann explains how this narrative of sectarianism and of an encroaching Iran on the Shiite protesters is not a reality on the ground, although it is peddled by the regime which is desperate to conceal the fact that the protest movement in Bahrain really is about reforming a corrupt dictatorship. And of course there is the added benefit of trying to convince the U.S. that any harm to the regime will be a benefit to the ultimate bogeyman, Iran.
Meanwhile, the regime has promised enough messing around. After a year of killing and beating and torturing and repressing the population, they are apparently preparing for an even harsher crackdown. But you can bet support from Washington will continue.