Bahrain

The island of Bahrain is seen by some to be the epicentre of sectarian competition and the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. With a population of around 1.2 million and the Sunni Al Khalifa family ruling over a Shi’a majority, politics has become increasingly viewed through a sectarian lens. Although tensions between Sunni and Shi’a have long plagued Bahraini politics, such tensions are often a consequence of broader social, economic and political issues, shaped also by parabolic regional security calculations. In such a climate, the cultivation of sectarian difference serves as a means of retaining power, drawing loyalty from particular groups from the construction of an ‘other’