Chapter

Sectarian Balancing

Frederic M. Wehrey

in Sectarian Politics in the Gulf

Published by Columbia University Press

Published in print December 2013 | ISBN: 9780231165129
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780231536103 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.7312/columbia/9780231165129.003.0004
Sectarian Balancing

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This chapter examines “sectarian balancing” (co-opting Sunnis to balance the Shi'a) in the Bahraini Parliament. In the midst of the Iraq War, the ruling Al Khalifa family in Bahrain tried to institutionalize the Shi'a opposition and blunt the appeal of more rejectionist elements. At the same time, it pursued a strategy of countering Shi'a activism by sponsoring the formation of a united Sunni Islamist bloc, naturalizing foreign-born Sunnis to offset the Shi'a's growing demographic weight, and blocking any legislation that could upset the existing balance of power. Bahraini's Parliament stood at the center of the post-Iraq sectarian and geopolitical turbulence. Parliamentary politics became steadily polarized in the wake of Iraq's escalating strife and post-2003 regional tensions.

Keywords: sectarian balancing; Bahrain; Parliament; Iraq War; Al Khalifa family; Shi'a; Sunni; parliamentary politics; Iraq

Chapter.  5040 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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