Concern over fate of Bahrain dialogue

February 16, 2013

The unrest and the killing of a teenager and a policeman on Thursday and the shooting of an officer with birdshot ammunition on Friday have caused concern the events would cast a dark cloud over the national dialogue in early stages.

The dialogue, aiming to end months of deep suspicions and frustrating mistrust among all sides, was launched on Sunday as moderates attempted to have the upper hand over both radicals and sceptics opposed to the talks.

However, the deadly events that unfolded on Thursday and the clashes on Friday are likely to stir outrage on both sides and put pressure on societies to pull out of the dialogue.

“The violence on Thursday and Friday reflects the opposition’s negative attitude towards the dialogue and the state institutions,” Nasser Al Fadhala, the deputy head of the Islamic Menbar society, said. “How can someone who carries Molotov cocktails and metal rods sit at a dialogue table? They should give the dialogue a chance to reach its objectives,” he said.

However, Hassan Al Aali, secretary general of the Democratic Nationalist Rally Society, said that the opposition “entered the dialogue with genuine intentions”.

“We want to contribute to its success and to reach results that are endorsed by all. Our intention is to go on with the dialogue and there is no indication at the moment that we are pulling out,” said Al Aali who has taken part in the two first sessions of the talks last week.

The justice minister said that the government will not tolerate the use of violence to put pressure on the participants at the dialogue.

“Using street violence or terrorising people will not succeed in putting pressure on any side in the dialogue,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa said. “Whoever has serious and genuine demands has to sit with the others and agree with them in a responsible way. Everybody has to rise to this historic and patriotic responsibility for the sake of Bahrain,” he said.

Shaikh Khalid is one of the three ministers attending the dialogue.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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