F1 Exposes Complexities in “Bahrain Spring”
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon expressed concern about Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, and released a statement that, “urge[d] the Bahraini authorities to resolve Mr. Al-Khawaja’s case based on due process and humanitarian considerations without any further delay.” However, concerns escalated as reports surfaced about al-Khawaja being missing from the hospital. His wife, Khadija al-Mousawi, said a hospital warden informed her that al-Khawaja’s bed and room were empty. Meanwhile, during another class between protesters, four policemen were reported wounded by a bomb explosion nearby.
Some experts continue to push for U.S. action in Bahrain. Caitlin Fitz Gerald writes, “Even if we are willing to admit that U.S. interests don’t necessarily include democratic reform and human rights for the people of Bahrain, it would behoove us to start seriously considering alternatives before all parties are hopelessly trapped by the tangle of interests at play.” Max Boot also says it would in the long-term interests of the U.S. to push for dialogue and engage the opposition to begin concrete reforms. Brad Spurgeon recounts his meeting with several Bahrainis over Formula One (F1) weekend, in which the divisions and doubts are exposed about both the opposition and the government. Abdullah Issa believes (French) the opposition has transformed negatively, and the increased violence (which Issa says stems often from the youth) made him question their legitimacy. Blake Stilwell argues that Bahrain is stuck in a “stalemate” because, “The lack of will to sit down and understand and engage the other side amounts to an unwillingness to solve the problem.” He adds that, “Until one side reaches a tipping point, the bloody stalemate is likely to continue.” Relatedly, Mark Steel points out that, “Like most modern brutal governments, they’ve been coached on how to deal with the media,” referring to the consistent narrative of the Bahraini government that, “they’re trying really hard to reform the country gradually.”