Bahrain’s Ongoing Unrest

By William Tucker

The Bahraini Interior Ministry announced a ban on all rallies and public gatherings last week as the kingdom looks for a way to end the unrest that occurred over the last year and a half. Seemingly in response to the prohibition, five small explosions occurred in the capital Manama today, killing two foreign workers. According to reports, the improvised explosive devices were small, and were likely used in an antipersonnel capacity. During the period of unrest there have been reports of sporadic violence; however it has not escalated to the point that it will challenge the ruling monarch. At least not yet. Throughout its history Bahrain changed hands many times to invading forces, but its proclivity towards armed insurrection among the islands inhabitants has been nearly nonexistent. Without porous land borders, it is difficult to smuggle the necessary weapons or even procure the type of foreign support to facilitate a large militant movement. The limited amount of land on which to operate also acts as an arrestor on large scale militant activity. Instead, small acts of terrorism using IED’s, such as those used today, seems to be the approach most readily available to the more “direct action” oriented of the opposition. We should expect to see more of these smaller bombings, but a larger, more violent threat to the kingdom is not in the offing at the moment.

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