Bahrain’s Decade of Discontent

Issue Date July 2013
Volume 24
Issue 3
Page Numbers 116-126
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Parked by the protests in Tunis and Cairo, the 2011 Pearl Roundabout uprising was a watershed in the political life of Bahrain—an unprecedented challenge to the tiny island kingdom’s ruling bargain and, ultimately, its social fabric. And while the dramatic events unfolding in Tunis and in Tahrir Square may have sparked the Pearl Roundabout uprising, the seeds of dissent were sown much earlier, as Bahrain’s post-2001 parliamentary experiment came undone. Behind the tentative steps toward dialogue, the Bahraini parliament continues to loom as the country’s most contested institution and also the best-available foundation for lasting peace in the country and even for a political solution that would preserve al-Khalifa rule.