Last Thursday Bahrain´s military forces took over the capital to control the popular protests of the last days in what becomes the last test for the region regimes to try to contain the effect domino caused by the collapse of Tunisia and Egypt autocracies. After Iraq, Libya and Yemen comes the unrest in Bahrain.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is a tiny country of just over 1M inhabitants but well known for its production of oil and for hosting the US Navy Fifth Fleet (about 4.200 service US members) and the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix.
One issue not enough known in the western countries is a unique characteristic, being the majority of the population Shia (followers of Ali, Prophet Muhammad cousin) and the ruler monarchy Sunni. 85% of Muslims worldwide practice Sunni Islam and the rest are Shia. There has been persecution in the past of Shias through history by the Sunnis and remain as a marginalized community in many Sunni Arab dominant countries without the rights to practice their religion or even to organize them. In Bahrain accusations of anti Shia discrimination have come out for years occasionally causing violent unrest but without attracting the interest of the western media.
Since December 2010, the more we analyze the turmoil caused since the protest in Tunisia the more we see the different situations that may cause unrest in that part of the world:
Is it the high unemployment that caused the riots or the corruption? Is it the food inflation or the desire of freedom that caused the collapse of the autocracies? Is it the religion differences inside the Muslim World of the US presence in those countries?
At the end we might learn that everything was caused by too many bad things happening during too much time…………and without the attention of the western economies