The Bahraini government has issued a statement angrily condemning the US and Britain for their “unacceptable interference” in internal policy, after the two nations criticized the government’s ban on the largest opposition group in the nation.
The tiny nation of Bahrain has struggled with its treatment of their opposition since the Arab Spring. The royal family and by extension the government are Sunnis, but a majority of the population are Shi’ites. This has sparked repeated protests, with the Shi’ites claiming they are discriminated against in top positions around the country.
The banning of al-Wefaq, a Shi’ite group, continues that, with the US State Department calling the group a “nonviolent opposition,” and warning that banning them was undermining regional stability in the Persian Gulf.
A joint statement was issued today by several top Shi’ite clerics, saying they believe that the ban of Wefaq is part of a larger attack on their existence and identity.
Bahraini officials denied that, accusing the Shi’ites of being in league with “forces abroad,” and insisting that the banning of Wefaq was “just” and “transparent.” Bahrain typically accuses opposition politicians of being secretly directed by Iran.