Matar Matar and Brian Dooley Discuss Bahrain’s Intensive Weeks Ahead
Ever since the 2011 uprising in Bahrain, the weeks leading up to the mid-February anniversary are particularly tense, with protests spiking around February 14. This time around there is an additional layer of sensitivity given the recent arrest of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman and the court verdict due next week for popular human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, charged with insulting government institutions on Twitter. There appears to be no obvious way out of Bahrain’s impasse, with the kingdom’s politics unable to move towards a negotiated settlement.
Key opposition leaders and civil society figures remain in jail, the there is little evidence that the ruling family is willing to undertake the large-scale reform that the country desperately needs. Matar Matar is a former opposition member of parliament in Bahrain, and he spoke to Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley about what might happen next week, the prospects for Bahrain in 2015, and what the U.S. government should be doing to encourage dialogue.