The public protests in Bahrain, which at one point included a large portion of the nation’s Shi’ite majority taking to the streets of Manama, have fallen largely out of the media’s attention. International criticism has dried up, Iran notwithstanding. Over the weekend, Prime Minister Khalifa even insisted that stability had “returned” to Bahrain.
The growing number of nations seeing major protests across the region, as well as the NATO war in Libya, have distracted attention from a number of situations. In Bahrain, however, this distraction has boiled down to a virtual case of amnesia, but the assumption that things are fine is false.
In fact, human rights groups are detailing a massive, albeit behind the scenes crackdown that is continuing to this day. With regional military forces backing them up, the regime’s security forces conduct nightly raids on protesters, and violence and arbitrary arrest are common in Manama.
The Bahraini government declared martial law on March 15, in the wake of the Saudi-led invasion aimed at crushing the Shi’ite protests. Since then, reliable information has become harder and harder to come by inside the nation, and the Bahraini opposition saw its major newspaper threatened with closure for publishing reports about the crackdown.
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