Friday, July 15, 2011

The Other Side of Radicalization in Bahrain

As noted yesterday, I have a new piece at the Foreign Policy Mideast Channel on the issue of anti-U.S. and anti-regime mobilization among Bahrain's ostensive pro-government constituency. It is largely inspired by the recent post "Obama ♥ Iran: A Love Story, Chapter 2." Enjoy.

For those interested, yesterday's post "Threatening the King" has even more on this front, most of it too recent to have been included in the Foreign Policy article.


  1. Hi Justin,
    Nice articles but please do not abuse the name of the Persian Gulf. It's not the "Arab Gulf" but rather the Persian Gulf.

    Kind regards

  2. As used in the article, Arab Gulf != the body of water but the Arab regimes of the Gulf. It's a synonym for the GCC.

  3. I see. I guess I missed that. In any case, I would like to take the opportunity to really thank you, your writings are superb and objective enough.

    I just have a particular question regarding your research on the sectarian proportions. How did you reach the figure of 57% Shi'i?

  4. It's based on a random sample of 500 Bahraini households that I obtained from a very reliable source. (Information about the sample is here:

    Of the 435 completed interviews from this random sample, around 58% (57.6%) of those interviewed were Shi'is. So it's a direct sampling.

  5. How do you know that the sampling corresponds to the actual demographics of Bahrain?

    And does this include the tens of thousands of naturalized Sunnis during the 1990s and 2000s?

  6. The sample comes from the government agency in charge of the census (the CIO). It was not intended for my use, so there was no reason for it to have been manipulated. That's all I can say.

    Since it comes directly from the government's database of Bahraini citizens/residents, there is no reason these individuals would not have been included. In fact, several field interviewers mentioned that those who were interviewed were non-Bahrainis (Yemenis, Jordanians, etc.) who said they were citizens. (For the purposes of the survey, all potential respondents were asked to confirm that they were indeed citizens.) So I know for certain that some naturalized citizens are included in the sample, which suggests that they are accurately represented.

  7. Where can I get my hands on your dissertation? I would like to have a copy of it.

  8. All in good time, my friend. I am finishing the conclusion as we speak. My defense should happen in September, after which it will be available online.

  9. It is simply a myth to believe that there is even a hint of freedom of expression in Bahrain to the extent of permitting someone or some group to publically, not just criticize USA, but also threatening it, without the blessing, protection and support of a strongman in the hierarchy.

    It could be even the King himself who is initiating this show, or some of the hardliners, I really do not know for sure, but the Americans should dismiss the idea that the Sunnis or the Shia can freely burn the US flag, without getting some sort of approval from the strongmen of the regime. This American hate campaign is simply orchestrated and directed by those who seek to influence the US Embassy and Washington into dropping their demands on the GOB for reform.

    On a side note, Mr. Gengler , if you ever get a chance , interview a certain Indian national journalist working for the Gulf Daily News , to find out how the government directs the media campaign in Bahrain down to minute details. Of course this interview has to be conducted outside Bahrain and after the journalist’s contract is over.

    On the same note, It would be interesting if someone publishes the recent bank accounts statements of some pro-government media people such as Faisal Al Shaikh , Saeed Al Hamad and Sowsan Al Shaer. I know it is an invasion of privacy and perhaps unethical , but the question begs , how these people (or at these 3 that I know of and named ) suddenly have bank accounts inflated by 5 figures deposits or suddenly have Lexus cars parked in front of their homes , all of a sudden? Is that ethical or legal?
    I seriously doubt it.