A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bahraini Fisherman Shot in Qatari Waters

A Bahraini fisherman was shot in Qatari waters over the weekend, awakening a longstanding feud between the two GCC states. The Bahraini fishermen are blaming Bahraini land reclamation for forcing them to fish neighboring waters, but tensions between the two are hardly new.

Bahrain and Qatar have feuded for much of the past century. The ruling families, the Al Khalifa of Bahrain and the Al Thani of Qatar, have been longtime rivals, and the Al Khalifa once owned the now-ruined town of Zubara on the western side of the Qatar peninsula. Their dispute over the Hawar Islands and other territorial claims went to the Hague in what the World Court described as the longest case it had ever adjudicated; it was finally decided in 2001. In the 1980s they fought over a reef called Fasht al-Dibal until after Saudi intervention, the reef was dredged to below the water level.

At the time of the World Court decision, I wrote up the decision in my since-defunct newsletter here (and part two here), and in fact a detailed article by a scholar on the subject is going to appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal. But despite the World Court decision and plans to build a friendship causeway connecting the two countries, obviously there are still sore spots.

No comments: