Interactions Between the Sect, the State, and the Region: Bahrain as an Example

While it is true that the transformations that took place in the Arab world since the advent of the so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011 had a clear impact on Gulf countries to varying countries, it had the most impact on the Kingdom of Bahrain. This reality is based on four considerations. First, it is linked to the nature of the state itself, and like any other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country, Bahrain is a small country located within a turbulent region, which had a direct impact on many of the internal and external policies of the state. Second, the interventions of some regional parties in the affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain revealed a clear case of hypocrisy and double-standards exercised by these regional parties in response to the “Arab Spring.” In clearer terms, the events that happened in Bahrain in 2011 cannot be classified within the so-called “Arab Spring”, due to the lack of motives that led to sweeping transformations in the Arab world, especially economic motives. Instead, the transformations witnessed in Bahrain took a sectarian dimension, as was described in Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Memoir Hard Choices, when she said: “Bahrain was an exceptionally complicated case for us… because demonstrations took on a sectarian cast…”

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