The likelihood of democratisation in Bahrain is high, particularly in the long-term, but it is largely out of the EU’s hands. There are many hindrances to democratisation but none of them address the core threat to Bahraini autocracy, which is the fundamental political nature of protesters’ demands. These are demands that cannot simply be swept under the carpet as the ruling family and its allies have attempted. This is not to say that hindrances are weak. The maintenance of strong conservative interests within an elite that perceives itself to be the owners of the country has long thwarted democracy in Bahrain. The sectarian divide polarises protesters whilst enabling the maintenance of an internal securitisation narrative. Bahrain is also at the centre of a geopolitical battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the United States a key participant that is against a change in the status quo so as to maintain its regional position. However, by not addressing the sizeable key grievances of protesters, the ruling family opens itself up to an inevitable cycle of uprisings that have become ever more threatening since the 1990s. Thus, in contrary to the EU’s historic policy of engagement with regime elites in a top-down model, democratisation is likely to be sparked by mass mobilisation. The EU’s role will be to continue working closely with Iran, and ideally other regional actors, to normalise relations and weaken the external securitisation narrative. Therefore, a meaningful democratisation process is inevitable in Bahrain, but when exactly it will occur is more difficult to answer.

 

Sectarianism

 

The EU faces the difficulty of a country plagued by sectarian tensions that prompt securitisation narratives and render unified and powerful collective action difficult. Within Sunnism and Shiism there are several ethnicities, languages, and religious schools that divide adherents.[1] Initially, however, the 2011 uprisings were cross-sectarian with Sunnis among the participants calling for political and democratic reform for devolution of power to parliament.[2] Yet, a Shiite boycott of an emergency parliament meeting began the intensification of the sectarian division. Sunni ruling families, namely Saudi Arabia, began to stress the incompatibility of Shia Islam with Sunni strands of Islamic thought. The ferocity of the hatred can be seen in the way the Bahraini al-Khalifa royal family has been perceived across social media as ‘terrorists’ and ‘sufyanis’, evil characters in Shia theology.[3] Sectarian divisions are nothing new as the Bahraini Shia have long been systematically discriminated against in housing, education, employment, the judiciary, and political representation.[4] Less than 20 percent of senior government positions are held by Shiites, in part due to regime gerrymandering and millions of dollars having been spent on anti-Shia campaigning.[5] Shiites are effectively barred from the security forces, which are largely filled with Sunni expatriates from Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen.[6] Given that the population is 70-75 percent indigenous Shia,[7] the ruling family knows that true democratisation will lead to a fundamental shift in power between Sunnis and Shiites. In order to reduce Shiite power, the ruling family has encouraged foreign Sunnis to move to Bahrain, including allowing nationals of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to have dual citizenship.[8] Therefore, the hindrances to democratisation appear vast as the Shiite’s numerical dominance slowly declines, its already tentative grip on institutional power weakens, and opposition cohesion is lacking.

 

Meaningless Democratic Reform and its Consequences

 

The EU faces the fundamental problem that the ruling regime has no desire for meaningful reform despite rhetoric claiming the opposite. Promised reforms have not been implemented, whilst the king has actually expanded his powers, which has been made possible by a fragmented opposition. Any reforms that have been implemented typically have cynical motives. After his accession in 1999, Sheikh Hamad promised a liberalisation programme that would, through sheer demographics, shift power towards the Shiites but it never materialised. It quickly became known that the government had ‘little or no intention to redistribute power and economic opportunities’.[9] It is important to note, however, that some within the government, namely the Crown Prince, were more liberal minded and keen for a dialogue after the 2011 uprisings. Yet, many others, led by the Prime Minister, were more hard-line with widespread conservative interests and links to Saudi Arabia, viewing themselves as the ‘owners’ rather than the ‘rulers’ of their country.[10] These are the individuals the EU has tried to influence during its top-down democratisation approach, with little success as they have been either simply ignored or conditionality clauses have led to agreements been suspended.[11] Much of Bahrain’s recent reform appears to be a somewhat cynical attempt to win ‘Western support by its compliance with formal democratic benchmarks’.[12] As well as formal election practices, attempts to gain legitimacy and an air of accountability have included the June 2011 investigation into police and human rights abuses, which ultimately provided evidence of systematic torture.[13] Yet, it never held perpetrators accountable, nor did it implement the commission’s recommendations. The selection of a woman as President of the UN General Assembly during Bahrain’s rotation in June 2006 may appear revolutionary but it masks fundamental issues. Whilst women have gained full voting rights and are more commonly in employment, their social, professional, and political roles are still curtailed through conservative patriarchal structures and practices that have, for example, seen female political candidates poll extremely poorly.[14] The “National Action Charter”, proposing various constitutional and democratic changes such as preponderant power to be given to the lower house (Nuwab), was passed with 98 percent of the vote in 2001.[15] The king, however, made unilateral constitutional changes in 2002, which ultimately meant that he had wide-ranging executive powers such as being able to appoint the Council of Ministers, dissolve parliament if he has “sufficient reason” to do so, and interfere with the courts.[16] In 2006, 10 of the 21 Cabinet posts were held by al-Khalifa family members.[17] The measures also meant that the Nuwab could only propose and enact laws once they had been drafted by the Cabinet and it could not regulate its own procedures. Given their political repression, Shia opposition groups such as al-Wifaq have often boycotted elections or government initiatives such as the 2002 election and the 2011 emergency parliamentary meeting.[18] Internal disillusionment over such tactics has led to ‘a divided Shia opposition’ as al-Wifaq fractured into a second more hard-line group, al-Haq.[19] However, all this has done is provide the government with weak protest against its lack of reform. Thus, the executive has powers ‘well beyond the norms and traditions followed in deep-rooted democracies’, which it is determined at all costs to avoid surrendering as they are believed to be theirs by right.[20]

 

Yet, the ruling family, with no prompt at all from the EU and perhaps in spite of it, may be forced into reform if it aggravates tensions by continually resorting to violence and does not address the key grievances of protesters. The regime’s automatic response to threatening protests has historically been violent and repressive, with tear gas, rubber bullets, arrests, and torture commonplace, with protesters even having their homes fire-bombed.[21] During more peaceful times, the Bahraini regime has often tried to co-opt or buy-off opposition through minor targeted political and economic reforms, concessions, and bribes.[22] In 2011, the regime offered grants of $2700 to each family,[23] the release of over 300 prisoners, and the removal of two al-Khalifa family members from Cabinet posts.[24] Yet, these concessions were deemed unsatisfactory by the opposition. Unless the government greatly develops its move towards becoming a financial centre, its attempts to buy-off people’s grievances will become increasingly difficult as its marginal oil supplies, which account for half of Bahrain’s government revenues, are quickly running out.[25] Expatriates constitute approximately 60 percent of the workforce,[26] which means that unemployment and cost-of-living pressures for native Bahrainis, particularly young people who constitute 20 percent of the population, are ever increasing.[27] It is important to consider that democracy, and demands for it, is not a totally alien concept to the region and Bahrain in particular. The 2011 protests, which were the largest in Bahraini history, as well as the protests of the 1990s and the massive support for the National Action Charter show that there is ‘an endogenous demand for democratic change in Middle Eastern societies’[28] with ‘large sectors of the Bahraini polity… quite determined to pursue full citizenship and good governance’.[29] This includes women who have fully participated in protests, demanding to be integrated into political life.[30] Historical precedent for democracy comes from the democratic period from 1973 to 1975, which has been described as ‘an unprecedented, unparalleled moment of open, political debate’ featuring a constitution and the first legislature.[31] Parliament was able to challenge and reject government proposals for summary powers until it was abolished, along with the constitution, by the emir in 1975. Hence, the opposition has focussed upon amending the 2002 constitution and restoring the power of the Nuwab as steps towards reinstating this state of affairs.[32] The Bahraini government seems unaware that its biggest risk is its lack of meaningful reform, which creates frustration at a relapse into ‘old politics’ and the possibility for coherent opposition, particularly if Shiites continue to be systematically discriminated against.[33] It is, therefore, in Bahrain’s long-term interest to address what are ‘at their roots, political problems that demand comprehensive political solutions’.[34] The lack of implementation of many proposed reforms led to the growing cross-sectarian unrest that culminated in the events of 2011, and an inability to address growing political and economic grievances will inevitably lead to another 2011-like uprising, which may prove more difficult to contain.

 

Regional Geopolitics: Gulf States versus Iran

 

It has been claimed that during the Arab Spring the Bahraini government ‘was more reliant on international actors to defend it than other Arab regimes’.[35] Such actors include Saudi Arabia, which as Bahrain’s main regional ally provides direct competition to EU democratisation efforts by shutting down any discussion of democracy and human rights in the region.[36] Riyadh, through the GCC, has provided Bahrain with $10 billion of subsidies spread over a decade, mainly to improve defence,[37] as well as a supply of 140,000 barrels of oil per day.[38] In contrast to the EU, its offering of trade and security benefits without attempting to interfere in the country’s regime type makes it a key partner for Bahrain, which knows it can depend upon Saudi Arabia in times of trouble. The Saudis have been supportive of regime change in other Arab states but Bahrain is a red line due to fears of spillover.[39] It is fearful of a Shia dominated Bahrain that would be more receptive to Iran, whose influence in the majority Shia Iraq has been increasing,[40] as well as to its own large Shia population located in the oil-rich Eastern Province.[41] Fears are particularly prevalent given that Iran has provided support to the radical Saudi group Hizballah al-Hijaz.[42] Consequently, under the cover of the GCC that it has sought to closer unite, Saudi Arabia intervened in the 2011 protests by providing 1,000 troops that emboldened the Bahraini regime to crackdown sharply upon protesters,[43] although perversely it did much to augment the sectarian divide and push many towards Iran and their increasingly powerful brethren in Iraq and Lebanon.[44]

 

Bahrain’s domestic politics is seen within the Persian Gulf as a securitised geopolitical battleground between the Sunni-dominated Gulf Kingdoms and Shiite Iran, with the island having the potential to provide Iran with a foothold on the southern Gulf coast.[45] Bahrain has accused Iran of directly providing assistance to the protesters since 2011 leading to economic relations been severed.[46] It is claimed that the Shia population constitute a “fifth column” under Iranian authority who would be empowered by a transition to democratic rule.[47] This is ‘significant and influential as rhetoric’ even if misleading as it provides a basis for a securitisation narrative used to legitimise repression.[48] The accusations are grounded in the historical precedent of Iranians viewing themselves as the protectors of Shiites, as Ayatollah Khomeini encouraged revolutionary movements in the Gulf.[49] The failed coup of 1981 was organised by the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain (IFLB), which has been linked with Iran in five areas: ideology, leadership, media support, logistics, and military training.[50] Gulf-Iranian relations improved in the early 2000s but tension resumed under Ahmadinejad’s presidency as he funded Hezbollah and an alleged nuclear programme, coupled with the growing power of Shia groups in the region. Whilst it is difficult to ascertain the precise level of Iranian support given to Shia groups, Iran has on occasion claimed Bahrain as its 14th province with referral to the Persian occupation of the island from 1602 to 1783.[51] These claims led to the self-proclamation of Sheikh Hamad as king in 2002 in order to highlight the independence of Bahrain.[52]

However, the extent of Iranian influence in Bahrain is questionable. It is debatable as to how loyal Bahrain’s Shia population is to Iran, given that they have expressed ‘cautious, even wary, attitudes towards their Persian-speaking Iranian coreligionists across the Gulf’.[53]

This is due to the Shiism of Bahrain having an authority of its own, independent of Iranian Shiism, which shows ‘little enthusiasm for Iranian-style Islamic rule’.[54] Furthermore, Iranians do not like to see their government spending money on foreigners when plenty of Iranians lack jobs, housing and decent living conditions.[55] Thus, if the discourse begins to recognise these realities, there is reason to suppose that cooperation between the Gulf states and Iran is possible, thus weakening the securitisation narrative that blights democratisation. Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates have explored economic cooperation with Tehran, which ‘would offer fruitful opportunities in terms of trade as well as joint investment’ and could serve as ‘significant incentives toward normalisation’.[56] Oman, notably, has excellent political relations with Iran, which could be translated into working groups on the environment, food security and transnational crime.[57] Iran’s president and supreme leader, Hassan Rouhani and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei respectively, are keen for a regional security framework and the removal of all concerns GCC states may have about Iran.[58] The EU ‘has almost uninterruptedly maintained communication open with Iran’,[59] and through the 2013 nuclear negotiations, has ‘laid the groundwork’ for normalised relations, which is vital as any effective international community in the region cannot be built without or in spite of Iran, particularly given its influence with Shia groups.[60] Thus, critical engagement with Iran can aid democratisation by removing Gulf fears of Tehran that have blighted reform in the region.

 

The United States as a Hindrance

 

EU democracy promotion efforts are considerably hindered by British, and particularly American, involvement in the region. The EU is a tertiary actor in the Gulf compared to the US for whom the region ‘commands a central role in American strategic thinking’, meaning that the U.S. has a range of strategically vital geopolitical interests in the region that override its normative commitment to democracy promotion.[61] This is in contrast to the second-tier region of Central Asia and the Caucasus where the U.S. backed various “Colour Revolutions”.[62] Gulf strategic interests are of such importance to the U.S. that it has led to American statements that Bahrain is ‘pretty much the one country where we can’t afford regime change’.[63] The American Fifth Fleet, which was expanded to include 7,000 personnel in 2016,[64] is stationed in Bahrain and is considered vital to the U.S.’s regional power projection, which includes containing Iran.[65] Likewise, the British armed forces also have a deep relationship with Bahrain, shown by the investment in a new headquarters with over 1,000 personnel to serve as the hub of the Royal Navy’s operations in the Middle East.[66] Similarly, for the UK it is a high priority to maintain relations with Saudi Arabia, meaning that the government has backed the Bahraini regime with only occasional public statements of concern.[67] The empowerment of Bahraini Shiites is viewed as having the potential to undermine stability and security in the region by threatening the naval facilities, potentially setting off sectarian violence, and increasing Iran’s power.[68] Thus, it was always unlikely that the U.S. was going to support an uprising against one of its most important regional allies as it would convey a message that it was not an effective ally. Regional relations would be severely damaged if the U.S. was seen to be complicit in the downfall of the ruling family, particularly given that Gulf states believe the U.S. betrayed its long-term ally Hosni Mubarak.[69]

 

The American response to the 2011 uprisings was to not take sides, thereby placing it in favour of the status quo. The U.S. did designate Bahrain as a human rights abuser before the UN in 2011,[70] but this had less effect than may be anticipated as Washington focussed upon calls for maximum restraint and universal rights whilst never calling for transition or a democratisation process.[71] Other than calls for a dialogue, the American democracy promotion efforts since 2011 have relied upon the long established Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). This has focussed upon capacity-building of legislative bodies and the judiciary, whilst bolstering non-governmental and civil society activity that does not threaten the ruling family.[72] In fact, Western private-sector companies have helped the Bahraini regime through PR, lobbying, legal activities, speech writing, and anti-opposition narratives.[73] In addition, the U.S. has provided Bahrain with over $100 million since 2003,[74] which provides structural governance assistance that aids the ruling family in retaining power. Bahrain has often been credited as an example of a progressive state by George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whilst simultaneously playing down alleged abuses in order to protect the relationship.[75] Thus, Bahrain and the GCC were given the green light to crackdown upon protesters and not enact meaningful reforms. Yet, the US military umbrella couldn’t protect the region from the outbreak of what are at heart political forces that threaten regimes’ stranglehold on power. In the long-run, the hypocrisy of U.S. policy in supporting regime change in some countries like Egypt but not in others like Bahrain undermines U.S. foreign policy by creating wariness, suspicion, and anti-Americanism among activists and local populations that will eventually come to threaten strategic assets.

 

In conclusion, the likelihood of democratisation in Bahrain appears extremely low, yet it is actually extremely high. There are many hindrances to democratisation but these do not fully eradicate the threat to the regime. The sectarian divide has polarised Shiites internally, thus inhibiting a unified threat to the government. It has also prompted a securitisation narrative that is enhanced by the perceived threat of Iran. Saudi Arabia will not allow Shia empowerment in Bahrain for fear of a more powerful Iran and internal Shia community in its Eastern Province. Furthermore, the U.S. and UK have vital strategic interests that they believe would be heavily compromised if they allowed Shia empowerment. This is not to mention a regime strongly opposed to any surrender of power. However, a lack of will and ability to address what are fundamental political and economic grievances of protesters means that the threat to the regime will remain ever-present. By discriminating against Shiites, reacting violently to protests, and by being unable to address growing economic issues, the Bahraini ruling family is creating mounting grievances that will inevitably lead to another uprising. If the EU can build upon its good work with Iran, then the hindering external securitisation narrative will become increasingly unsustainable. Bahrain’s friends may again come to its rescue militarily but this will not address the fundamental issues. They will unlikely be able to fully address Bahrain’s mounting economic problems, let alone the core political issues. Thus, as the failure of its previous top-down approach has suggested, the EU is best placed to continue developing its relationship with Iran whilst internal dynamics take their course. The real question is when exactly meaningful change will occur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[1] Karolak, M. and Guta, H.A. (2014) ‘Social Media and the Forging of a Transnational Shia Identity: The Case of the Kingdom of Bahrain’. In: al-Zoby, M.A., and Baskan, B. (eds.) ‘State-Society Relations in the Arab Gulf States’. Berlin: Gerlack Press. Pp. 37-60.

[2] Ambrosio, T. (2014) ‘Democratic States and Authoritarian Firewalls: America as a Black Knight in the Uprising in Bahrain’. Contemporary Politics. 20(3). Pp. 331-346; Crystal, J. (2014) ‘Eastern Arabian States: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman’. In: Gasiorowski, M. (ed.) ‘The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa’. Seventh Edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Pp. 157-196; Dunne, M. (2011) ‘The Deep Roots of Bahrain’s Unrest’. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Karolak, M., and Guta, H.A. op cit; Kéchichian, J.A. (2016) ‘From Alliance to Union: Challenges Facing Gulf Cooperation Council States’. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press.

[3] Karolak, M., and Guta, H.A. op cit.

[4] Ambrosio, T. op cit; Parolin, G.P. (2011) ‘Reweaving the Myth of Bahrain’s Parliamentary Experience’. In: Tétreault, M.A., Okruhlik, G., and Kapiszewski, A. (eds.) ‘Political Challenge in the Arab Gulf States: Stuck in Transition’. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Pp. 21-48.

[5] Crystal, J. op cit. P. 171; See also: Parolin, G.P. op cit; Power, G. (2012) ‘The Difficult Development of Parliamentary Politics in the Gulf: Parliaments and the Process of Managed Reform in Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman’. In: Held, D., and Ulrichsen, K. (eds.) ‘The Transformation of The Gulf: Politics, Economics, and the Global Order’. Abingdon: Routledge. Pp. 29-46.

[6] Crystal, J. op cit.

[7] Ambrosio, T. op cit. P. 335.

[8] Ambrosio, T. op cit; Crystal, J. op cit; Parolin, G.P. op cit.

[9] Kéchichian, J.A. op cit. P. 31.

[10] Ehteshami, A., and Wright, S. (2007) ‘Political Change in the Arab Oil Monarchies: From Liberalisation to Enfranchisement’. International Affairs. Pp. 913-932. P. 914; See also: Ambrosio, T. op cit; Crystal, J. op cit; Norton, A.R. (2016) ‘The Puzzle of Political Reform in the Middle East’. In: Fawcett, L. (ed.) ‘International Relations of the Middle East’. Fourth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 131-154; Power, G. op cit.

[11] van Hullen, V. (2015) ‘EU Democracy Promotion and the Arab Spring: International Cooperation and Authoritarianism’. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; Schumacher, T. (2012) ‘Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries and Yemen’. In: Peters, J. (ed.) ‘The European Union and the Arab Spring: Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East’. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Pp. 109-126.

[12] Parolin, G.P. op cit. P. 22.

[13] Surk, B., and Murphy, B. (2011) ‘Bahrain Report: Excessive Force in Crackdown’. Associated Press. 23 November.

[14] Ehteshami, A., and Wright, S. op cit; Foley, S. (2010) ‘The Arab Gulf States: Beyond Oil and Islam’. Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner Publishers; Krause, W. (2012) ‘Gender and Participation in the Arab Gulf’. In: Held, D., and Ulrichsen, K. (ed.) ‘The Transformation of The Gulf: Politics, Economics, and the Global Order’. Abingdon: Routledge. Pp. 86-105; Parolin, G.P. op cit.

[15] Parolin, G.P. op cit. P. 24.

[16] Crystal, J. op cit; Echagüe, A. (2012) ‘Don’t Forget the Gulf’. In: Kausch, K., and Youngs, R. (eds.) ‘Europe in the Reshaped Middle East’. Madrid: FRIDE. Pp. 35-44.

[17] Echagüe, A. op cit.

[18] Ambrosio, T. op cit; Crystal, J. op cit.

[19] Ottoway, M., and Hamzawy, A. (2009) ‘Getting to Pluralism: Political Actors in the Arab World’. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. P.22; See also: Crystal, J. op cit; Norton, A.R. op cit; Power, G. op cit.

[20] Parolin, G.P. op cit. P. 31.

[21] Ambrosio, T. op cit; Crystal, J. op cit; The Economist. (2010) ‘Shut up the Shias’. [Online] Available at: http://www.economist.com/node/16994636. [Accessed: 10 March 2017]; International Crisis Group. (2005) ‘Bahrain’s Sectarian Challenge’. Middle East Report No. 40. Brussels: ICG; Norton, A.R. op cit; Schumacher, T. op cit.

[22] Kéchichian, J.A. op cit; McFaul, M. (2004) ‘Democracy Promotion as a World Value’. The Washington Quarterly. 28(1). Pp. 147-163.

[23] Ambrosio, T. op cit.

[24] Katzman, K. (2014) ‘Bahrain: Reform, Security and U.S. Policy’. Report Number 95-1013. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

[25] For diversification. See: Crystal, J. op cit; For oil supplies. See: Crystal, J. op cit; Ehteshami, A., and Wright, S. op cit; Power, G. op cit.

[26] Ulrichsen, K. (2012) ‘The Challenges of Transition: Gulf Security in the Twenty-first Century’. In: Held, D., and Ulrichsen, K. (eds.) ‘The Transformation of The Gulf: Politics, Economics, and the Global Order’. Abingdon: Routledge. Pp. 278-295. P. 282.

[27] Kéchichian, J.A. op cit. P. 40; See also: Ehteshami, A., and Wright, S. op cit; Hardy, R. (2008) ‘Migrants Demand Labour Rights in Gulf’. [Online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7266610.stm. [Accessed: 8 March 2017]; Norton, A.R. op cit; Ulrichsen, K. op cit.

[28] van Hullen, V. op cit. P. 145-146.

[29] Parolin, G.P. op cit. P. 42; See also: Ambrosio, T. op cit; Ayoob, M. (2014) ‘Will the Middle East Implode?’. Cambridge: Polity; Ehteshami, A., and Wright, S. op cit; Foley, S. op cit; Kéchichian, J.A. op cit; Power, G. op cit.

[30] Fakhro, M.A. (1997) ‘The Uprising in Bahrain: An Assessment’. In Sick, G.G., and Potter, L.G. (eds.) ‘The Persian Gulf at the Millennium: Essays in Politics, Economy, Security, and Religion’. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press. Pp. 167-188; Foley, S. op cit.

[31] Parolin, G.P. op cit. P. 23.

[32] Crystal, J. op cit; Parolin, G.P. op cit.

[33] Parolin, G.P. op cit. P.25; See also: Kinninmont, J. (2012) ‘Bahrain: Beyond the Impasse’. London: Chatham House; Mabon, S. (2013) ‘Saudi Arabia and Iran: Soft Power Rivalry in the Middle East’. London: I.B. Taruis.

[34] Bianco, C. (2015) ‘The European Union in the Gulf: New Opportunities for Cooperation’. In: Hook, S., and Niblock, T. (eds.) ‘The United States and the Gulf: Shifting Pressures, Strategies, and Alignments’. Berlin: Gerlach Press. Pp. 151-167. P. 156; See also: Blair, D.C. (2013) ‘False Trade-off on Bahrain’. [Online] Available at: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/282337-false-trade-off-on-bahrain. [Accessed: 11 March 2017].

[35] Ambrosio, T. op cit. P. 334; See also: Kéchechian, J.A. op cit.

[36] Schumacher, T. op cit; Al-Duraiby, I.S. (2009) ‘Saudi Arabia, GCC and the EU: Limitations and Possibilities for an Unequal Triangular Relationship’. Dubai: GRC Press.

[37] Kéchichian, J.A. op cit. P. 35: See also: Foley, S. op cit; Risse, T., and Babayan, N. (2015) ‘Democracy Promotion and the Challenges of Illiberal Regional Powers: Introduction to the Special Issue’. Democratization. 22(3). Pp. 381-399.

[38] Power, G. op cit.

[39] Mabon, S. op cit.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ayoob, M. op cit; Hassan, O. (2015) ‘Undermining the Transatlantic Democracy Agenda? The Arab Spring and Saudi Arabia’s Counteracting Democracy Strategy’. Democratization. 22(3). Pp. 479-495; Mabon, S. op cit; Power, G. op cit.

[42] Matthiesen, T. (2010) ‘Hizballah al-Hijaz: A History of the Most Radical Saudi Shia Opposition Group’. Middle East Journal. 64(2). Pp. 179-197.

[43] Kinninmont, J. op cit. P. 24; For troop numbers, see: Ambrosio, T. op cit. P. 336; See also: Hassan, O. op cit.

[44] For Iran, see: Ayoob, M. op cit; Karolak, M., and Guta, H.A. op cit; Mabon, S. op cit; For elsewhere, see: Crystal, J. op cit; Karolak, M., and Guta, H.A. op cit; Parolin, G.P. op cit.

[45] Ambrosio, T. op cit; Mabon, S. op cit.

[46] Karolak, M., and Guta, H.A. op cit.

[47] Axworthy, M. (2007) ‘Iran: Empire of the Mind: A History from Zoroaster to the Present Day’. London: Penguin Books; Ayoob, M. op cit; Foley, S. op cit; Hassan, O. op cit; Jackson, N. (2010) ‘The Role of External Factors in Advancing Non-Liberal Democratic Forms of Political Rule: A Case Study of Russia’s Influence on Central Asian Regimes’. Contemporary Politics. 16(1). Pp. 101-118; Mabon, S. op cit; Tolstrup, J. (2009) ‘Studying a Negative External Actor: Russia’s Management of Stability and Instability in the ‘Near Abroad’. Democratization. 16(5). Pp. 922-944.

[48] Axworthy, M. op cit. P. 290; See also: Cassarino, J-P. (2012) ‘Reversing the Hierarchy of Priorities in EU-Mediterranean Relations’. In Peters, J. (ed.) ‘The European Union and the Arab Spring: Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East’. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Pp. 1-16; Lessware, J. (2011) ‘State of Emergency Declared in Bahrain’. The National. 16 March; Surk, B., and Khalifa, R. (2011) ‘Bahrain’s King Declares 3-month State of Emergency’. Associated Press. 15 March.

[49]Axworthy, M. op cit; Karolak, M., and Guta, H.A. op cit; Kéchichian, J.A. op cit.

[50] Alhasan, H.T. (2011) ‘The Role of Iran in the Failed Coup of 1981: The IFLB in Bahrain’. Middle East Journal. 65(4). Pp. 603-617; Mabon, S. op cit.

[51] Karolak and Guta; Parolin.

[52] Parolin, G.P. op cit.

[53] Henderson, S. (2011) ‘Saudi Arabia’s Fears for Bahrain’. [Online] Available at: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/saudi-arabias-fears-for-bahrain. [Accessed: 10 March 2017]; See also: Axworthy, M. op cit; Mabon, S. op cit.

[54] Axworthy, M. op cit. P. 290.

[55] Axworthy, M. op cit.

[56] Bianco, C. op cit. P. 160.

[57] Bianco, C. P. op cit.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Ibid. P. 157.

[60] Bianco, C. op cit. P. 159.

[61] Ambrosio, T. op cit. P. 341; See also: Hasan, O. op cit; Risse, T., and Babayan, N. op cit.

[62] Ambrosio, T. op cit.

[63] Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute. Cited in: Ambrosio, T. op cit. P. 335.

[64] Katzman, K. (2014) op cit; Kéchichian, J.A. op cit.

[65] Ambrosio, T. op cit; Ayoob, M. op cit; Katzman, K. (2013) ‘Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy’. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.

[66] Kéchichian, J.A. op cit; Navaltoday.com. (2014) ‘Construction of Royal Navy’s HQ in Bahrain Begins’. [Online] Available at: http://navaltoday.com/2014/04/29/construction-of-royal-navys-hq-in-bahrain-begins/. [Accessed: 9 March 2017]; Valdini, C. (2012) ‘Bahrain King Gifts $4.7m to UK Military Academy’. [Online] Available at: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/bahrain-king-gifts-4-7m-uk-military-academy-471717.html. [Accessed: 9 March 2017].

[67] Hassan, O. op cit; Kinninmont, J. op cit; Parolin, G.P. op cit; Wearing, D. (2012) ‘Bahrain May Not Be Syria, but That’s No Reason for Activists to Turn a Blind Eye’. [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/libertycentral/2012/may/08/bahrain-syria-activists-human-rights. [Accessed: 8 March 2017].

[68] Hassan, O. op cit; Parolin, G.P. op cit; White House. (2011a) ‘Remarks by the President on the Middle East and North Africa’. 19 May.

[69] Ambrosio, T. op cit; Ayoob, M. op cit; Mitchell, L. (2016) ‘The Democracy Promotion Paradox’. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

[70] Kinninmont, J. op cit.

[71] Ambrosio, T. op cit; White House. (2011) ‘The White House Regular Briefing’. 16 March.

[72] Hassan, O. op cit.

[73] Kinninmont, J. op cit.

[74] Kéchichian, J.A. op cit. P. 35.

[75] Bush, G.W. (2005) ‘State of the Union Address’. 2 February; Ehteshami, A., and Wright, S. op cit; Kéchichian, J.A. op cit; United States Department of State. (2010) ‘Remarks with Foreign Minister Al Khalifa’. 3 December; United States Department of State. (2010) ‘Remarks with General James E. Cartwright’. 17 February; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Cited in: Ambrosio, T. op cit.