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Bahraini anti-government protesters hold posters of top Shiite cleric Sheik Isa Qassim, Karrana, Bahrain, May 17, 2013 (AP photo by Hasan Jamali).

Gulf Geopolitics Drive, and Shield, Bahrain’s Crackdown on Shiites

Monday, June 27, 2016

Last week, authorities in Bahrain stripped Sheikh Isa Qassim, the country’s most prominent Shiite cleric, of his citizenship. His crime: “Serving foreign interests” and spreading sectarian discord.

The move wasn’t in isolation. One week prior, a Bahraini court suspended the activities of al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group, on charges of terrorism, extremism and violence. Days before, Bahraini police detained Najeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, during a raid on his home. Zainab al-Khawaja, a political dissident, also fled the country earlier this month after being released from prison. In May, an appeals court extended the prison sentence of Sheikh Ali Salman, a member of al-Wefaq, from four to nine years. ...

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