Before that, however, there are a number of interesting articles in Al-Watan regarding the rumored "union" between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and Sunni mobilization:
- Sawsan al-Sha'ir: "Gulf Peoples Union"
- Al bin Khalil: "The Decentralization of Bahrain's Sunni [Movement]"
- Al bin Khalil: "Sunnis and Decentralized Leadership"
- Al bin Khalil: "The Al-Fateh Awakening: Where To..?"
- Al-Zayani: "Al Mahmoud, the Awakening and the Coalition should sit at the same table"
- Al bin Khalil: "Is Youth [Mobilization] Spontaneous or Intentional?"
- Al-Zayani: "How long will the state remain silent?"
Now for Bahrain's latest developments:
1. The preacher of the "official" grand mosque in the Bahraini capitalUpdate: Yesterday's AP article--"Saudi widens Arab Spring backlash with Bahrain 'union' plans"--covers the above main points and more.
(Ahmed Al-Fateh Islamic Centre) Sheik Fareed Al-Meftah spoke today
about the unity between Bahrain & Saudi Arabia, indicating that this
will be announced (may be end of the year) as a first step towards
achieving "union" amongst GCC states. Al-Meftah said "the Gulf Union
is a long-awaited dream… and here we are today, we witness God's
blessing for achieving this unity that will be for the advantages and
benefits to the citizens of the (GCC) countries in all social,
cultural, economic, security, and military aspects…". He went on to
say that the "first step for this unity" will be between Bahrain and
2. On the other hand, the opposition cleric Sheik Isa Qassim called for
"mass demonstrations" on 9 March 2012 that will stretch along the
strategic Budaya Highway next Friday. At the same time, the opposition
groups led by Al-Wefaq started on 2 Match 2012 a week-long "evening"
gatherings at the entrance "Muqsha'a village" on the Budaya Highway in
a place now called by these opposition groups "Freedom Square".
3. Three days ago, the crown prince visited four Shiite clashes-ridden
areas to offer his condolences for the families of victims of a car
accident (6 girls tragically died in this accident). He ventured into
these areas without extra security protection, and this was the first
time a leading member of the ruling family visits these areas since the
eruption of events last year on 14 February 2011, thus providing some
hope for a possible positive development in the near future.
4. Rumors are circulating that there are talks between Al-Wefaq and the
Royal Court Minister. This follows a very brief meeting around 2
February 2012 between Al-Wefaq and the minister. According to the
opposition sources, the meeting was extremely brief but the first of
its kind. Later on 14 February 2012, Al-Wefaq received an "untitled &
unsigned" single page from the minister stating four principles (or
pre-conditions) for a possible dialogue. A fifth pre-condition was
passed verbally, but Al-Watan newspaper (linked to the official circle)
announced it on its first page of 24 February 2012. These principles
are considered as "PRE-CONDITIONS" imposed on the opposition and are as
a. Recognition of the National Action Charter (passed on 14 February 2001 by a referendum that received 98.4% approval).
b. Recognition of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain (unilaterally issued by the King on 14 February 2002).
c. Recognition of the GCC Charter and the call for UNITY amongst its member states.
d. Accepting the outcome of the 'National Consensus Dialogue" concluded in July 2011 (which Al-Wefaq boycotted because the opposition were given 35 seats out of 300, and because the agenda was tightly preset & controlled).
e. Al-Wefaq must apologize for using violence in the health and education sectors during the events of last year - as published by Al-Watan newspaper on 24 February (something which the opposition denies it had done so anyway).
Needless to say these pre-conditions couldn't & wouldn't be accepted by the opposition, in the same [way that] pre-conditions couldn't & wouldn't be accepted by the official circle.
Update 2: A story in Al-Ayam cites high-level sources in claiming that "there will be an announcement [of a new dialogue] in the new few days." No word whether there will also be a follow-up committee to study the announcement of a new dialogue.