Publication of Special Report on Bahrain: Throwing Confetti in the Heart of the Power Struggle in the Persian Gulf

By Institut Thomas More, PRNE
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Available in French and English

PARIS and BRUSSELS, April 13, 2011 - Three weeks after the dispersal of the Place de la Perle roundabout
demonstrators, at the heart of the Bahrain protests, and following the
imposition of a curfew, tension remains high in some villages in the
outskirts of the capital. The Thomas More Institute offers an analysis of the
country's current situation, the key to understanding the geopolitical
dynamics in the Persian Gulf.

The deployment of troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
during the demonstrations reminds us that relations between the Sunni
Monarchs and Iran underpins the region. While Iranian foreign affairs are a
cause for concern for the Sunni monarchs, of which the nuclear programme is
only the main element, it is necessary to prevent the troubles from
increasing and the small allied kingdom from swaying towards Tehran's
influence. On the other side of the Persian Gulf, the presence of the general
headquarters of the 5th American fleet in Manama and cooperation with NATO
since June 2004 give Iran the chance to demonise the United States and to
present itself as the nation that defends oppressed populations in the

Behind the power struggles, reconfiguring relations between the monarchy
and the Shiite populations of Bahrain is proving to be the best way of
containing Iran's ambitions and of limiting the violence. It is a
considerable challenge, not to mention the fact that the monarchy's attitude
towards the demonstrators has left its mark and weakened the main opposition
party. However, the Crown Prince's speech on the 13 March and the National
Action Charter of 2001 - approved by referendum - are a basis for concrete
discussions. In fact, political reforms are all the more necessary so that it
is possible to create a climate that is more favourable to the the economic
reforms undertaken by the monarchy.

Doing nothing would risk making the protests more radical and increasing
Iranian influence. Reliving the spirit of 2001 and the rapid introduction of
reforms would therefore appear to be the best step in bringing together
security, stability, and progress.

- The report will be available from Tuesday, 12 April 2011 on

Contact Hanna BONNIER via email or
telephone +33-(0)1-49-49-03-30


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