Price Of Keeping Peace In Bahrain? $2700

Bahrain, one of the tiniest, wealthiest and, because it serves as the parking lot for the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, strategically important countries on Earth is facing their own rebellion as the Tunisian contagion caught by Egypt spreads.

Bahraini Shi’ites have long complained of discrimination by the ruling Sunni dynasty, whose crackdown on dissent last year touched off riots.

In advance of protests scheduled for today by Shi’ite opposition groups, Bahrain’s royal rulers have been making concessions – not the least of which being last week’s grant by King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa of $2700 per family – and a promise to allow greater freedom of information.

However, like the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, it’s not clear concessions will be enough.

In the event that they are not, security forces took up positions yesterday in what was described in one report as a “clear warning against holding the rallies.”

One prominent human rights activist predicted “chaos and bloodshed” if attempts are made to crush the planned demonstrations.

Since reforms in 2001, including the cessation of torture and expanded political rights, Bahrain has been considered one of the more progressive country in the region.

In one of the Middle East’s other ritzy neighborhoods, Kuwait, opposition groups in Kuwait have re-scheduled their protest to shifted the date to March 8 in response to the resignation of the country’s scandal-tainted interior minister.

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