I- Challenges and facts
- Arab Spring Revolutions
– Strategic void
- Military exhaustion
- The legitimacy dilemma
- The security dilemma
III-Scenarios for potential progress
- First scenario: Ostracism and exclusion
- Second scenario: Partial integration
- Third scenario: Options available for other all parties
Scenarios for security and political status for an emerging prospect
After returning from a therapeutic trip that lasted for more than two months, the Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman brought back statements relevant to security issues to the press’ interface after those remarks dropped during his absence for treatment. During his meeting with some of his supporters after returning to the country, the PM said that he “will decisively address terrorists. Security and stability are uncompromisable”.1 With reference to previous periods, particularly since August 2013, or what is known as “Tamarrud movement”, local newspapers were accustomed to publish duplicative statements regarding the almost daily by the Prime Minister who vows in prosecuting what he calls terrorism and renews the adherence to strict security measures to the point that he urged the judiciary to speed up the trial of those accused and issue deterrent and harsh sentences and against them.2 All of these measures have created an atmosphere of strict and excoriating security on the opposition. The opposition was thus not only reactive to such security measures, but was also responsible for thwarting all attempts to reach solutions or political compromises in their lowest form.
The Prime Minister’s talk about terrorism is usually quite different from the rest of the international media. When the PM mentions terrorism in his speech, he is referring to the opposition which remains insisting on his departure by stepping from his current post as Prime Minister. Such a political characterization of the opposition by the PM carries with it most of the basis to what could be called a prospective progress for change. Khalifa bin Salman’s continuation at the forefront of the political position resembles a basic foundation for understanding the future policies. Until the last few moments before his return, rumors surfaced that others might be entrusted to form a government, as a deliberate desire to break the forecasts. However, when the PM was reassigned to form the government, hopes of those seeking an imminent breakthrough in the unstable political situation since 2011 were eliminated.
1 Bahrain News Agency: upon receiving the crowds of citizens. His Highness the Prime Minister: “I find my happiness when I am among my people”, publication date (24/11/2014) http://www.bna.bh/portal/news/642401
2 Akhbar Al Khaleej, a Newspaper from Bahrain: in a high-level business meeting, the Prime Minister directed to speedy verdicts in terrorism cases in order to protect society ( http://www.akhbar-alkhaleej.com/12949/article_touch/45467.htm ) HRH
the Prime Minister praised the Interior Ministry’s, Minister, and employees for their efforts and associate minister. He also stressed on all government agencies to abide by, without negligence or carelessness, the implementation of all penal laws against anyone who violates the law, the system, compromise the security of citizens or detriments the interest of citizens.
Targeting Khalifa bin Salman personally might have played a direct role in his adherence to the security vision or even caused his irreverence of the political dialogue, but the situation that has evolved since February 14 imposed different political agendas of the pre-February 14 that extend historically with political interferences and overlaps. One of the most important agendas is the need for a radical change in the political structure of the regime and a redistribution of the pyramid of authority, power, and wealth, through political reform leading to a constitutional monarchy, the right for self-determination, overthrow of the regime, or a public referendum.
The elaboration in the follow-up to this statement aims to reveal the circle that governs the scenarios for both the security and the political future of Bahrain, at least in the short and medium term. These scenarios are based on the continuation of the security vision as a safe and convincing way out from the standpoint of the authority while the opposition political forces are persistent regarding their vision for resolution and it lies in the need to find a new social contract based on the principles of devolution of power and political justice.
If the current picture is unstable and open to multiple possibilities, this makes the hypothesis “demise of the opposition” and its subservience to the security vision a hasty and unrealistic one, while the hypothesis regarding the ability to break the authority and causing it to collapse in the short and medium term becomes in need of evidence and realistic indicators rather than the ordinary and routine indicators. Or there should be initiatives and steps beyond the context of the historical experiences of the regime so as to make the regime’s options limited or reckless leading it to collapse.
I-Challenges and facts
There is no doubt that the difficulty of establishing a phased anticipation of change is partly due to the fact that Bahrain’s crisis has been regional and has become a paper among others for major regional settlements. However, the bulk of it is certainly due to the political structure of a regime that is resistant towards democracy with a strong authoritarian structure reinforced by internal loyalties, both sectarian and tribal. In addition to the sectarian dimension, the Shiite majority exists in the context of a Sunni regional majority. This sectarian symmetry (majority / minority) drives policymakers to appease the situation and allow it to continue as part of maintaining a network of established interests rather than betting on another theory – supporting Shiite forces in Bahrain- which has unpredicted outcomes.However, there are bigger challenges than the previous ones that remain unresolved. Among the most prominent of these challenges:
1.Arab Spring Revolutions
Although there is a retreat in the tactical state that accompanied the Arab Spring, the indicative concept behind this phase for the need to achieve a democratic transition in Arab countries is still a radiant concept in its political dimension and poses a specter for the Arab regimes. By looking at the Bahraini case, this fear is getting more entrenched within the regime in Bahrain and other Gulf regimes. Bahrain is the only country in the Arab Spring that has maintained its first image represented by peaceful demands for democracy and the continuation of a mass movement unlike many Arab countries where the Spring was controlled by counter-revolutions, a military mess, or a mass movement which diminished and weakened in strength. The essence of this challenge is that there is a strong reluctance by the Gulf organization of any settlement that would pave the way for a democratic transition of these regimes which are struggling through various ways to abort the democratic movement in Bahrain or even respond to simple demands such as a social contract or a restructuring of the political system.
In this regard, the multiplicity of the Arab spring models allowed each model to inspire the Bahraini parties to try to reproduce them. The unfortunate outcome of the Egyptian revolution is one of the best models as viewed by the Bahraini regime which was not embarrassed in congratulating the former President, Hosni Mubarak, when acquitted by the Egyptian court. On the other hand, the Tunisian model which ended in democracy gives the opposition forces in Bahrain a reason to reach a similar situation. The example of Yemen and the resultant control of the Houthis on the government and the rehabilitation of community strength is an indicative model indicative for those seeking radical change who aim to topple the regime or obtain the right of self-determination.
For long periods the strategic situation for the regimes and communities of the Gulf was semi-insured by international supporters, especially United States. However, the economic crisis that has not subsided since its escalation in 2009 down to the Arab Spring and the complexity of vital files in the Middle East, such as Iran’s nuclear program, the issue of Palestine, what resulted later from the Syrian Revolution crisis, and the escalating sectarian tensions in Iraq which resulted in the control of extremist and expiatory movements such as ISIS on large parts of the Middle East, all of this has created a major strategic void which resulted in doubts about the ability of international supporters to meet the needs of the Gulf regimes and the nature of traditional relations with them. The United States, for example, is no longer able to impose political conditions, as it did previously, because of its need for the Saudi economic power since it is its main funding to counter extremist or terrorist movements. At the same time, the flexibility shown by the United States regarding democratic demands brings to mind the impending collapse of the argument “The exceptional Gulf”.3 This has brought the bilateral relations to an unprecedented turning point or one that is no longer influential as what took place in February 17, 2011 when the White House ordered the Bahraini authorities to withdraw the army from the Pearl Roundabout area and allow the protesters to demonstrate again. But on the contrary, the formal relations were strained to a point resulting in the expulsion of the US envoy William Malinowski of Bahrain. The regime then tried to supply weapons to Bahrain from Russia instead of the US after the US’ decision to suspend arms deals. Against the US hesitation, the British Government led by Cameron was biased towards the Gulf countries and supported their political choice. The evasiveness shown by Britain since 2011 towards the crisis in Bahrain thus came to an end. This strategic void led the Gulf regimes to strengthen their countries against any transformation, especially in terms of political change. These regimes prefer to use security responses and their long experience in adjusting to and managing strong crises rather than find radical solutions to them of fear of opening up the Russian dolls or dropping dominoes subsequently.
It refers to the continued existence of the feared proposition of an approaching war in the region and the implications of this hidden war. This challenge is a key element in the policy regimes of the Arab Gulf countries, including Bahrain, as most depend on policies drawn to the possibility of the emergence of a war between invading countries and others in the region or between invading countries and the Western world. Thus, status of the ruling regime in Bahrain takes various Iranian actions as an initiation for a war. This enhances aspects of reluctance of any phased change which benefits Iran in its “specter” war against countries in the region. In this challenge, the opposition forces are practically and politically classified as loyal to Iran and that the demands of democracy serve the Iranian project. This military obsession drives the regime to engage in an arms race and sign security agreements that could undermine the principles of national sovereignty, as in the recent agreement by the Peninsula Shield Forces or agreements in which Bahrain showed determination to participate in the international coalition against ISIS in Iraq.
If we expand and patch the analysis of these challenges, we will find that they feed on each other and are integrated in order to enhance the security vision preference in dealing with the Bahraini situation which is also working to strengthen the political position of the opposition forces and their adherence to the demands of democracy. These challenges are working according to a perspective of a complex network and work to re-produce perceptions and concepts that oppose each other.
3 US position towards the Bahrain revolution see Joost Hiltermann, Obama’s dilemma in Bahrain AlQuds Al-Arabi Newspaper, p.11. September 11, 2011
The previous challenges with their ability to disrupt the political transition, face or produce two basic dilemmas that lead to the persistence of the crisis at its peak and these are the dilemma of legitimacy and the dilemma of the security imbalance.
- The legitimacy dilemma:
Political legitimacy is closely related to political stability. If the latter is supported, legitimacy will be entrenched, and if it is deteriorated, legitimacy will weaken and collapse. The authority in this case needs to provide the necessary stability to reproduce and renew the credentials of this legitimacy. Illegitimate regimes have superficial stability only, so they often practice official violence to curb any opposition, and therefore, even if they succeed, they tend to achieve a visibly stable authoritarian rule which hides a lurking turmoil. The reason is that this “stability” is not the result of the pursuit of the regime to strengthen its legitimacy and to increase its effectiveness but is the result of oppressing the forces of change in the country. Therefore, the case of authoritarian instability includes in its framework the elements of potential instability, which soon explode in the form of a new cycle of violence and counter-violence. Hence, political violence is the basic element of instability. In light of the continuing failures of the ruling regimes with their depleting political legitimacy and its shift to realistic legitimacy, these regimes are backed by force and loyalties that have been bought as well as sectarian and factional alliances and external support. 4
From here we can say that the political system in Bahrain will, in the short term, take care of renewing its legitimacy which has seen an unprecedented deterioration, and this means there is a need to search for policies that can partly be assimilated, at least for a number of categories, even at the expense of others. An alternative is to strive towards building a legitimacy based on structural foundations or what is known as structural legitimacy. The political system is intended to acquire this type of legitimacy through the construction of infrastructures and political institutions in the country in an attempt to confirm the role of institutions and their importance in establishing the legitimacy of the political system.
This is reflected in the strengthening of the existing political institutions and consolidating their presence as the best alternative suited replacing other institutions. This is termed by Karl W. Deutsch as institutional legitimacy (structural-constitutional) which is based on three foundations:
4 Adel Amer: ruling regimes and building legitimacy, Egypt civil movement site on April 3, 2014 (http://civicegypt.org/?p=47706 )
- A. Constitutional basis: its content realizes that the legitimacy of the authority is in accordance with the principles of the country’s constitutional legitimacy.
- Representationalbasis: Thelegitimacy of the regimeis based on convincing convicts that the people in power represent themand only reached their status throughlegitimate means.
- C. The basis of achievement: the legitimacy of the political system is realized through the achievements made in the interest of the public community.
From the point of view of the opposition, the ruling regime employs both a constitutional and a legal framework for two main principles: monopoly and dependency. There is a monopoly of ideas, beliefs, and convictions within the limits of what the Gulf ruling authorities view. The national identity of Gulf nationals is formulated within the limits of what the system allows. The dependency is represented by forcing the nation to follow the rules and policies of the regime and thus the national identity of the Gulf national dissolves together with his/her personality and his cultural and social authority and become confined to that of the feudal ruler.5
- The security dilemma:
Beside the dilemma of the diminishing legitimacy and the limited opportunities for re-consideration of the constitutional legitimacy, the previous challenges more face a dilemma that is more effective than the legitimate dilemma and it is the security dilemma. Over the past decades this dilemma has accumulated and thus led to the accumulation of a radical culture, values, and psychology among many social groups both inside and outside the security services. These extremist trends have increased with the growing influence of Takfiri groups which put the security issue in Bahrain under serious contemplation.
The security dilemma is highlighted in two dimensions. One is through the loss of the security solution’s, which is favored by the government, ability to stop the popular movement and the dimension lies in the evolution of dormant Takfiris and the expansion of their networks as demonstrated by the number of Bahrainis enrolled in ISIS and the video clips in which ISIS members threaten the regime in Bahrain.
The security dilemma consists mainly of structural defects on which the security services were built on such as empowerment through importing foreign people at the expense of citizens on the one hand and the isolation and marginalization of large groups of citizens from working in security services. This caused a bureaucratic administration and exclusivity in security policies.
5 Adel Amer: ruling regimes and building legitimacy, Egypt civil movement site on April 3, 2014 (http://civicegypt.org/?p=47706 )
Before that, it is important redress here that the actual security dilemma exists in the lack of legal controls of the concept of state coercion and its replacement with violent security components such as the judiciary and prisons. This is the corollary to the doctrine based on the concept of security based on force, which is recognized and understood as a despotic on both political and criminal spheres, in the absence of legal restrictions and controls in the relationship with the citizens, where the tyrannical power is exercised without limits. Dominant elites prefer to use physical force, where power is considered the optimum tool to subdue and coerce others.
This reality which is troubled by security has previously led and will lead the committed human rights organizations and countries to spread democracy in the short and medium term and to exert greater pressure on the regime and urge it to review the concepts of force and legal coercion. These pressures may not succeed directly but if they continue according to a long series of procedures governing human rights organizations, they might alleviate the severity of the challenges mentioned above. Security authorities are concerned to disclose the circumstances of more than 300 thousand individuals, some of which are prisoners and others are sentenced, as it is also involved in many significant human rights prosecutions represented in the recommendations of the Human Rights Council and other obligations that were not met. All of these will exert pressure on the regime in Bahrain.
The opposition will remain vulnerable to exhaustion by the security through increased arrests or through the issue of harsh sentences that limit the pace of field work or reduce it. On the other hand, the exhaustion referred to inevitably will be reflected in the entrenchment of human rights discourse by the opposition compared to a diminishing political discourse and therefore the negotiating pattern and content will be a juristic rather than a political.
III. Scenarios for potential progress
It is not difficult to recognize that there is a complexity in the Bahraini issue or an attempt to complicate it through various analyses since the crisis is open to all possibilities and includes a lot of inputs, which interact with each other to form an unexpected output sometimes. Tackling phased potential progress in Bahrain requires dealing with the subject in light of the relationship between the opposition forces and the political system, and will depend on the prospects for the development of the regime and the ruling elite on the one hand and the potential development these groups and the relationship between some political groups in terms of cooperation or ideological and political competition on the ground on the other hand.
The second option that is concerned with the relations of political groups and their competition does not seem to be able to develop itself now by virtue of the power of current political partisanship and societal division. Therefore, the political forces are relatively more stable than the ruling elite in the way they present themselves and their management of political competition. This was evident in the results of the 2014 elections, which led to the failure of loyal political societies’ candidates and the regime’s preference to deal with the independent candidates. These elections weakened the political Islamic stream, both Sunni components: the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood, and toppled The Gathering of National Unity and removed it almost completely from the political game. The opposition forces are governed by a specific collaborative pattern and audiences with specific trends and affiliations on one hand, and by a minimum of political demands that are difficult to retract from on the other hand. So the situation is in this path is composed from partial stillness by the political forces against an expected partial dynamic pattern by the political regime which is open to possibilities. Hence, any potential scenario will stem from the political regime and its political developments, political incentives, and strategic vision (the modalities of political thinking, political experiences of the ruling elite, and the experiences of the country’s institutions and culture. These scenarios are also dependent on other regional and international variables and their suitability for an alternative from the ones that are available.
First scenario: Ostracism and exclusion
The content of this scenario lies in the continuation of the regime in ostracism and exclusion policies towards political groups in general and the opposition in particular. Thus, there is a continuation to reject all democratic demands and to keep the situation as it is now. This scenario is based on the following facts and assumptions:
1.The nature ofthe regime’s policiesand ruling strategiesare basedon the need tomonopolizethe political sphereand to confrontallgroups andindividualswho are trying tochangethe balance of the political scenein termsof democratic changefor manyreasons which include but are not limitedto:
(A) Any demand by a political group to achieve democracy poses a threat to the interests of the ruling family and the security of the regime.
(B) Allowing political groups in any political participation and using this in the political conflict leads to the ease of political mobilization, conscription and material and symbolic incitement towards the regime.
(C) The intensification in democratic political discourse allows for a reconsideration of the issue of the constitutional legitimacy of the regime its authority with all its implications.
Thus, any significant or even limited change is a direct threat to the regime and a gateway to the gradual collapse of the system which monopolizes power effectively.
2.The conflict between the regime and the political opposition groups regarding the role of people in politics was shaped through an accumulation of political experiences for the ruling authority indicating the need for exclusion of political groups of any real political process as well as excluding them from areas of political decision-making and participation in the distribution of the country’s wealth and riches. The experiences of political regime and its organizations has articulated set of political, security, and bureaucratic beliefs about this type of groups, its follow-up, considering them as a threat to the legitimacy, security, and stability of the political regime and its ruling elites. This political awareness towards the seriousness of the development of the opposition and political groups can be deduced from the history of these relationships, the multiple crises, and the regime’s strategies in dealing with these political groups. As a result, the regime has a bad experience towards the power and influence of the opposition within the formal political institutions which led to break the regime’s monopoly of the political process. This negative experience led to another negative reproduction by the ruling elite and the state apparatus about the seriousness of the integration of political groups in the political game.
3.The regime’s use of the concept of political reform and political openness serves a number of functions, including: employment as the main source of constructing political legitimacy, mobilization and incitement, a tool for the exclusion of some political forces, a foreign policy tools in the framework of regional relations with the international community, and in the context of maintaining a balance with the allied Western countries. This means that the experience of a real political integration within the framework of the quota allocated to the opposition has certain objectives: a shift in building a legitimacy that absorbs the sources of political anger, to try to encircle and contain the mounting opposition, and give legitimacy to the bloody confrontations with the informal political groups by giving political legitimacy to the permissible violence of the state apparatus towards protestors because they are classified as terrorists.
As a result of all the above, the ostracism and exclusion option is one that is helped by Western countries that are tolerant with how the regime deals with democratic demands and also helps in the regional interference in the internal affairs and adjusting it to suit the vision of Gulf regimes for political reform. A look at the regional and globalizing environments and political pressures arising from them refers to the possibility increased caution and fear of any process of integration within the regime’s structure, institutions, and rules, in the context of any attempts of a partial or a comprehensive political reform. It can be noted here that ostracism and exclusion as an option does not prevent any maneuvering between the regime and the opposition forces, some forbearance outside the framework of the law, granting money for charity, or the release of some cadres and postpone their security follow up for later.
Second scenario: Partial integration
Unlike the previous scenario “ostracism and exclusion”, this scenario assumes that the system of governance carries on partial openness to the opposition and makes limited concessions according to an interim agreement containing a compatibility regarding major issues. The option of partial integration is consistent with the political awareness, understanding, and experience of the ruling political elite and the culture of the regime’s organizations. Also, this option had been tried before and has had some positive results to contain some of the pressure on the regime internally. Furthermore, it had contributed to a balance between a country with a turbulent political legacy and the construction of a political profile for the country and its ruling elite in front of Western political administrations. In addition, this option can be stopped in some historical stages if the political situation and balances change as what took place regarding the experience of integration and inclusion in the past decade.
This scenario is also based on a set of criteria which include:
- 1. The nature of the economicand politicalcrisisin thelight ofa series ofstructuralprotracted crises, especially in terms of the economyin which thepublic debtamounted to about BD 7 billion. This resulted in socialimplications, growingsocial gaps, security threat, and lead tothe production ofsecuritygaps in thelight ofan environment with troubledregional
- 2. Partial integration is part of the pragmatic and operational strategies which are temporary in nature in practical politics and It allows some roles to be taken up by some people or groups under crisis conditions but then quickly regains what was taken because of politics, whether voluntarily or forcibly. This ensures that the regime can easily step back and refute what was agreed upon earlier.
- International demands regarding the need for structural reforms of the political system and its institutions, and granting new opportunities for the younger generations to engage in political and volunteer work. Allowing political groups to enter the politics, political legitimacy, and the legal arena is part of these international demands. This would be consistent with the increasing pressures of human rights defense organizations on the need for the release of people jailed and sentenced according to the anti-terrorism law, as part of the discourse critical of the special laws.
- The partial integration seems appropriate with the political legacy that accumulated for more than eight decades, and the regime turns to this option whenever crises intensify. Such an option helps to disperse and divide opposition forces, which creates and ample space for maneuvering and the systematic targeting of some political groups.
- 5. Partial integration contributes to the renewal of some of the regime’s political legitimacy especially that the historical sources of political legitimacy have been depleted and were erased from the collective historical memory. The regime’s political legitimacy needs to be rebuilt and renewed together with its sources through partial integration.
This scenario is the least likely among other scenarios in the light of the criteria of the political and legal environment and international pressure following the formation of the international coalition against ISIS and the war on terrorism, which Bahrain has become a part of. The intensified international pressure on the globalization of security confrontations makes the integration scenario is weak and unmarketable. Moreover, the insistence of the opposition groups not to engage in useless deals that do not meet their minimum ambition including the devolution of power and the release of all detainees, and therefore any settlement process must be costly for the regime. Overall, the partial integration in its political aspect faces two fundamental problems.6 First, failure of the political organization. The second problem is that the councils did not achieve a distinct role that would show its importance for the people and the government, and so it is stuck between the two and is unable to achieve the desires of any of them. The councils must demonstrate their importance.
6 Greg Power. The difficult development of parliamentary politics in the Gulf. (February 9, 2011)
Third scenario: Options available for other all parties
Between these two tracks (ostracism / partial integration) varied political choices are available for both the authority and the opposition but apparently those options did not have the ability to produce a local solution to the crisis escalating since 2011. The reason for that was often placing the current dilemma in which Bahrain struggles in the context of a sectarian conflict affecting region as a whole, or is seen as a pawn in the geopolitical chess between Iran and Saudi Arabia. 7 Therefore, if the crisis is not considered from a different perspective, it is likely that these options are compatible with the same aggravation factors and might even be working to strengthen the roots of the crisis. So it is clear that the political choices despite being awkwardly plentiful are rooted to one main reason: retaining as much of the authority by the regime, taking into account the requirements of the region. The search for local solutions or options to meet the demands brought by the opposition, without counting it as a victory in favor of Sunni or Shiite groups over the other, can be through the imposition of necessary controls and balances on executive authority, rather than raising these concerns which are premeditated by the official propaganda, as what takes place now. Because the real reason behind the failure to reach a political settlement is not the inability to find a solution, but the absence of political will.8 This is consistent with the vision of Richard LeBaron9 about the existence of common denominators between the authorities in Bahrain and the United States of America. These common denominators are represented in adhering to extreme positions, the inability to find areas of settlement, and the deliberate exaggeration in the media. Bahraini leadership would prefer that the United States continues to focus on strategic interests based on solid force in the Gulf and ease the criticism that are directed from time to time to violations of human rights and the stagnant national dialogue.
As a result, the authority is expected to resort to impose legitimacy of its existing institutions including the Council of Representatives, the Shura Council, the Ombudsman, human rights organizations affiliated with the regime, and the vocational training contracts with the countries exerting pressure on Bahrain in order to find an atmosphere that suggests improvement and follow-up in the deteriorating conditions and as a title that can be used by such countries, like Britain and the United States, to get rid of media censorship in their countries as well.
7 Frederick Wehrey: A local solution to a local conflict (October 24, 2013)
8 Jane Kinninmont: The problem is the political will (October 24, 2013)
9 Richard LeBaron: Denial not a good plan (October 24, 2013)
Beside this option which aims to impose a new legitimacy versus the legitimacy that is demanded by the opposition forces, the security option will be active on the ground and would apply to many of the youth working on the streets by virtue of penetrating a lot of the networks and the weak security among such groups. Security measures will also affect media and political activists under the pretext of violating local laws which became harsher since the latest prosecution law under which the public prosecutor can detain any suspect in the terrorist crimes for six months and this period can be extended further.
The opposition’s options, despite their clarity, will not be too far from the pattern of their current options, a choice oscillating between proving their national composition, their quest to maintain a peaceful political movement, and removing the specter of violence away from their practices. This belief and parameters are explained in the form of secondary options, including maintaining a gray relationship with regional powers, including Iran and Saudi Arabia without being clearly and effectively involved in any axis against the opposition’s bias towards Western countries that exert pressure on the regime despite strained relations between them and some embassies, especially the British Embassy, which showed public support towards the authority in Bahrain against opposition forces. Similarly, the opposition is keen on maintaining its peaceful nature and this will lead them to be very cautious in the steps taken if it escalates even if this escalation is peaceful such as challenging the law of gatherings or other laws.