Power struggle deepens divisions among Bahraini royal family – Patrick Cockburn

In today’s Independent (UK) Patrick Cockburn has written an extensive piece about the divisions at the top of Bahrain. It shows a complex power structure with divided opinion about how to move the country forward.

Increasing divisions within the Sunni royal family are becoming more blatant as statements by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa aimed at conciliating the majority Shia community are not followed up by action. Though he told state and private companies to reinstate the 2,500 employees sacked for taking part in pro-democracy protests, many have been unable to get their old jobs back.

The government’s actions are also contradictory. Earlier this month it suspended several senior police officers, some of them members of the al-Khalifa ruling family, after they were accused of being implicated in torturing prisoners. One officer held an important position at Riffa police station, notorious for the use of torture, and another was a section chief of the CID. Demonstrations by Sunni in Riffa in favour of the suspended officers were followed by the immediate reinstatement of at least one of the men.

The hardliners in the royal family are led by the army commander, Khalifa bin Ahmed, and his brother, the Royal Court Minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed. They were once at odds with the Prime Minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman, who has held his job for 40 years since the British left in 1971, but they closed ranks when the Arab Awakening started in February in Bahrain, sparked by pro-democracy uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Read full article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/power-struggle-deepens-divisions-among-bahraini-royal-family-2361462.html

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