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Bahrain tables anti-Israeli law 26, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Bahrain, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Reports indicate that Bahrain is considering jailing people for substantial amounts of time if they have “any form of cooperation with the Israeli entity.” In addition to a mooted 3-5 year jail sentence there will be potential fines of up to $25,000 and an offenders may well have their labor license revoked for up tp 10 years.

This bill follows on the heels of a similar Kuwaiti measure last month. Both were introduced (I think I am right in saying) by the Shia members of Parliament. Both too are – obviously enough – purely symbolic gestures and will in no way, shape or form contribute meaningfully to the rectification or resolution of the Israel-Palestinian situation. Instead, such measures appease much of the local population as an anti-Israeli ticket perennially does in the Arab world. Indeed, it is the very definition of a circus in the bread and circuses analogy.

In Bahrain there is, however, an extra angle to it. For such a law, were it to be enacted, would curtail the powers of the government too. However, being as it is being introduced by the Parliament, this is clearly part of some kind of power-play to hamstring their ‘rival’ legislative center.

In terms of the Bahrain-US relationship, such a law would be very poorly received in Washington. However, with the US well ensconced in Manama and currently building/renovating extra port space to expand, Bahrain (or rather, forces within the country) can, crudely speaking, displease the US on points such as this with relatively little come-back: there is very little that America can do.

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