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Sectarian Politics in the GulfFrom the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings$
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Frederic Wehrey

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165129

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165129.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 14 October 2019

Sectarian Balancing

Sectarian Balancing

The Bahraini Sunnis and a Polarized Parliament

(p.58) Four Sectarian Balancing
Sectarian Politics in the Gulf

Frederic M. Wehrey

Columbia University Press

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

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