by Ali Alfoneh
American Enterprise Institute
July 12, 2012
The political stability of the small island state of Bahrain matters to the United States. And Sheikh Qassim, who simultaneously leads the Bahraini Shi’a majority’s struggle for a democratic society and acts as an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran, matters to the future of Bahrain. A survey of the history of Shi’a activism in Bahrain shows two tendencies: reform and revolution. The United States should do its utmost to reconcile the rulers and the ruled in Bahrain by defending the civil rights of the Bahraini Shi’a. This action would not only conform to the United States’ principle of promoting democracy and human rights abroad, but also help stabilize Bahrain and the Persian Gulf region. It would also undermine the ability of the regime in Tehran to continue to exploit the sectarian conflict in Bahrain in a way that broadens its sphere of influence and foments anti-Americanism.

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