A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Forgotten, Silenced Uprising: Bahrain Five Years Later

Five years ago last week, Gulf Cooperation Council troops from Saudi Arabia and the UAE poured across the causeway into Bahrain, the only GCC state to experience a large-scale outbreak of protest during "Arab Spring." Within a week, demonstrators had been cleared from the Pearl Roundabout, center of the protests. Although protests have never completely disappeared, the Bahraini Spring was over. The GCC had made clear that if one of their member states is threatened internally, the others were prepared to intervene in favor of the status quo.

The Pearl Monument in 2011
The intervention was, at the time, a rare case of GCC military assertiveness except in the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. Today, with GCC forces (except for Oman) engaged deeply in Yemen and having flown missions in Libya,the Bahrain intervention seems, in retrospect, to have been something of a turning point.

On March 18, 2011, the Pearl Monument in the roundabout, which had become the rallying point of the protests, was torn down by government forces. Soon after, the roundabout itself was replaced with a junction with trafic lights.

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