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CH: Bahrain tensions threaten Gulf stability

The risks of violence in Bahrain are escalating and none of the root causes of the 2011 uprising have been seriously addressed, says a new paper from Chatham House.

‘Bahrain: Beyond the Impasse’, by Jane Kinninmont, says the political stalemate in Bahrain is generating tensions far beyond the tiny island kingdom, increasing the danger of Sunni-Shia sectarianism spreading more widely through the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, at a time when the Syrian crisis is inflaming sectarian sentiments across the Arab world.

Bahrain’s political problems have strained relations between the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) and Iraq. Perhaps most dangerously, Iranian officials are reviving the idea of an Iranian territorial claim to Bahrain.

In the absence of any serious process of political reform, the unrest and the shift towards a more hardline, security-oriented model of government are compromising the country’s stability, damaging the economy and straining relations with a number of allies.

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