Popular uprising in Bahrain which began on 14 Feb, 2011, after the upheavals and revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, was faced with repression and the violent approach of the House of Khalifa. Currently, the issue has turned into a major political crisis that at least in the short term, there is no mutually agreed solution for it. The negotiations which were initially conducted as the national dialogue between representatives of the House of Khalifa and the opposition led by Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society did not have any remarkable achievement, and was proved a failure. While the House of Khalifa favors the continuation of this situation, the restrictions imposed on the revolutionaries of Bahrain, especially the Shiites, have created difficult security and economic conditions for them.
With regard to particular situation of the country and major international and regional interests concerning the developments in Bahrain, many actors in various regional and international levels have got involved in the crisis in Bahrain. As a result of the special features of Bahrain and its links with the interests and policies of major players such as the US, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the crisis in Bahrain is no longer a purely domestic issue of the country, and now it has found regional and international importance. However, due to conflicting interests of different foreign actors in Bahrain crisis, no agreement has been achieved on any potential solutions.
The US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, and the political and security ties between the two countries, the geographical proximity of Bahrain to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf Cooperation Council countries, political, economic and security relations between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and the interactions between the two ruling royal families in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, in addition to Bahrain’s Shiite majority and its geographical proximity and historical ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, are among the most important features of Bahrain which have increased the significance of the developments in Bahrain. Accordingly, different actors adopt different policies to pursue their own interests with respect to the crisis in this country. However, many analysts believe this is mainly due to the low capacity of local actors and the role of the government and opposition groups, compared to other crises in the West Asia and North Africa; they also insist that the type of policies and approaches of the domestic actors have played a major role in the influence of external actors on determining the country’s development process. In other words, the lack of unity among the opposition groups on the one hand, and the lack of a coherent strategy applied by the House of Khalifa to resolve the ongoing crisis, and its continuous resort to its regional supporters to suppress the revolutionaries are among the main reasons for the ongoing crisis in Bahrain.
Considering these conditions, we may conclude that Bahrain revolution and revolutionaries of this country, both inside and outside the country, are currently facing a variety of challenging variables that cannot reach a unanimous consensus on a feasible and reliable solution, which is due to different views on the issue. In the domestic level, the divisive policies of the regime and the disunity of the opposition about a strategy, on the one hand, and the diversity of the interests of the regional and international players, on the other hands, are regarded as the main challenging variables.