A vignette from Simeon Kerr in the Financial Times on how autocracies are held together and the stakes for the Shia-Sunni divide of them being unglued — as Bahrain’s Sunni-led government tries to curb popular (or are they Shia?) aspirations. Bahrain sees itself as a regional commercial centre where Lebanese businessmen play a key part.
Geopolitical tensions overshadow day-to-day life as neighbouring Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, continue to base forces in Bahrain alleging that Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah were radicalising the protesters. Iran and Hezbollah deny interference, but analysts fear Iranian meddling is becoming inevitable.
Many Lebanese expatriates have been refused entry to the country, a regional business hub. Lebanese Shia are feeling the brunt of the campaign but even some Christians are being harassed for fear that they could become fifth columnists for Hezbollah.