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Jun 13, 2012

Bahrain king warns opposition over insults to army

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain’s King Hamad said on Wednesday he would not allow any more “insults” of the armed forces in the Gulf state in an apparent warning to leading Shi’ite opposition party Wefaq after criticisms it leveled earlier this week.

The army, led by Field Marshal Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed, took charge of ending protests led by the Shi’ite Muslim majority that erupted last year after uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, enforcing a period of martial law.

Jun 6, 2012

Bahrain says police torture not government policy

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain’s interior minister said in comments published on Wednesday that police had been given no orders to torture or kill protesters – practices that were highlighted in a government-commissioned independent report last year.

Bahrain’s human rights record has come under scrutiny since the authorities tried to crush Shi’ite-led demonstrations demanding democratic reform in the Sunni-ruled Gulf state that broke out in February 2011, inspired by Arab revolts elsewhere.

Jun 4, 2012

Bahrain says group follows violent Shi’ite cleric

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain justified moves to ban a small Islamist group on Monday by saying a radical Shi’ite cleric based abroad was its spiritual leader, while the move was seen by some as a renewed warning to leading Shi’ite opposition party Wefaq.

The U.S. ally has been in turmoil as democracy protesters from among the Arab state’s Shi’ite Muslim majority continue with protests and civil disobedience while the Sunni ruling Al Khalifa family rejects demands for an elected government.

May 18, 2012

Saudi Gulf union plan stumbles as wary leaders seek detail

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s thrust for a Gulf Union, driven by fear of Arab Spring contagion and spreading Iranian influence, has stumbled on misgivings among smaller neighbors about a loss of sovereignty and increasing domination by Riyadh.

Gulf diplomats, officials and analysts expressed surprise that Saudi Arabia had opened itself up to such a public setback.

May 17, 2012

Analysis: Saudi Gulf union plan stumbles as wary leaders seek detail

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s thrust for a Gulf Union, driven by fear of Arab Spring contagion and spreading Iranian influence, has stumbled on misgivings among smaller neighbors about a loss of sovereignty and increasing domination by Riyadh.

Gulf diplomats, officials and analysts expressed surprise that Saudi Arabia had opened itself up to such a public setback.

May 13, 2012

Saudi and Bahrain expected to seek union: minister

DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are expected to announce closer political union at a meeting of Gulf Arab leaders on Monday, a Bahraini minister said, in a move dismissed by the opposition as a ruse to avoid political reform.

The decision is part of efforts to increase integration within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as the organization’s six nations worry about Iran’s power in the region and the presence of al Qaeda after the Arab uprisings.

May 13, 2012

Gulf leaders expected to announce unity plan

DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) – Gulf Arab leaders meeting on Monday are expected to announce closer political union, starting with two or three countries including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, a government minister in Bahrain said.

Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which also includes Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, are to meet in Riyadh as they grow increasingly concerned over Iran and al Qaeda after the Arab uprisings.

May 8, 2012

Bahrain “to get tougher” on protest as talks stop

DUBAI, May 8 (Reuters) – Bahrain vowed on Tuesday to crack
down harder on anti-government protests as a leading opposition
figure said the government had put a stop to talks on addressing
the political grievances that fuelled last year’s pro-democracy
uprising.

Bahraini media have reported a new security plan to “restore
order” to the Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchy and, in recent days,
authorities have detained a leading activist and warned a top
Shi’ite cleric to stop alleged incitement to violence.

May 6, 2012

Bahrain arrests rights activist Nabeel Rajab

DUBAI, May 6 (Reuters) – Bahrain has arrested a prominent
human rights activist and critic of the country’s ruling family,
the Interior Ministry and an activist said on Sunday, as the
authorities escalated a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Bahrain, which is ruled by a Sunni Muslim monarchy and
hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since activists
mainly from the majority Shi’ite community began protests in
February 2011 after successful revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

May 2, 2012

King says foreign media exaggerate unrest in Bahrain

DUBAI, May 2 (Reuters) – King Hamad accused foreign media on
Wednesday of exaggerating unrest and inciting violence in
Bahrain after the Gulf Arab state hosted a Formula One race last
month that tu r ned into a public relations headache.

The U.S. ally has been in turmoil since activists launched
protests in February 2011 after successful popular revolts in
Egypt and Tunisia. The authorities tried to crush the uprising
for democratic reforms with martial law and bringing in Saudi
troops. But more than a year later, unrest has not gone away.

    • About Andrew

      "I write on Iranian and Gulf Arab politics, based in Dubai. I was previously based in Riyadh, in charge of Reuters Saudi small but growing editorial operation, and before that was based in Egypt. I have also reported for Reuters from Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Israel and the Occupied Territories. I am the author of two books, "Popular Culture in the Arab World" and "What the Arabs Think of America", and read Arabic, Farsi and French."
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