Friday, March 4, 2011

The Quiet Before the Storm, Part II

We left off with the highly-anticipated return of al-Musheima'. His arrival at the airport alone attracted at least several thousand people. And for everyone wondering whether he would tone down the rhetoric given that he was due to face terrorist charges and imprisonment a week earlier, we didn't have to wait long. In short: he did not. Upon arrival he continued his call for the fall of the government, and headed later that night to the Pearl Roundabout to address the crowds there. There is a YouTube video of the complete address here. The video, though, being hard to understand, the Arabic text is here.

Al-Musheima's return is not important because he represents another person calling for the overthrow of the Al Khalifa. There are enough of those already. Rather, as indicated by the timing of his return -- i.e., just in time to partake in the crown prince's "dialogue" -- he probably is looking to play a prominent role in the government negotiations over against that of al-Wifaq, al-Wifa', and others. That is to say, it probably has as much to do with intra-Shi'a politics as with Shi'a-government politics. Al-Wifaq, if it has been seen as at least nominally in control of the street opposition since its MPs resigned from parliament, will get a run for its money.

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