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Beyond the Arab SpringThe Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East$
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Mehran Kamrava

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199384419

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384419.001.0001

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Bahrain's Fractured Ruling Bargain

Bahrain's Fractured Ruling Bargain

Political Mobilization, Regime Responses, and the New Sectarianism

(p.341) 12 Bahrain's Fractured Ruling Bargain
Beyond the Arab Spring

Quinn Mecham

Oxford University Press

In the context of the Arab Spring, Bahrain's tenuous and controversial ruling bargain came under intense pressure and rapidly evolved into a high-stakes political standoff, punctuated by periods of unilateral political decision-making and multilateral demonstrations of force. Both the remarkable levels of popular mobilization and the sectarian framing of the conflict in 2011-12 have dramatically altered the character of the underlying ruling bargain in Bahrain. The Bahraini monarchy has so far survived the remarkable popular challenge, but it has done so by making short-term decisions that will make it very difficult to sustain the traditional ruling bargain over the longer term. By increasing popular levels of both anger and fear, the regime's response to the uprising has deepened the social divisions within Bahrain. A path forward will require difficult political compromises if it is to be jointly forged through the actions of domestic stakeholders.

Keywords:   Bahrain, monarchy, Arab Spring, ruling bargain, sectarian

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