Sunday, February 13, 2011

Discontent among Shia in Bahrain

From Al Jazeera: 'Sunday's wide-ranging clampdown appeared directed toward Bahrain's Shia majority, which has led the drive for Monday's rallies.

Bahrain's Sunni rulers have already given out cash and promised greater media reforms in an effort to quell discontent.

In an open letter to the king, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has called for wide-ranging reforms to avoid a "worst-case scenario", including the dismantling of the security forces, the prosecution of state officials for abuses and the release of 450 jailed activists, religious leaders and others.

The tiny kingdom is among the most politically volatile in the Gulf and holds important strategic value for the West as the home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

Bahrain's Shias , which account for nearly 70 per cent of the total popualtion, have long complained of systematic discrimination by the ruling Sunni dynasty, whose crackdown on dissent last year touched off riots and clashes.'

Such honest reporting from Al Jazeera. Shia majority, Sunni ruler? Is this only in the English edition? In any case this is a new Al Jazeera, different from the one in 2004 that did not mention sect when covering Iraq.

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