zondag 26 juni 2011

From colonial policing to community policing in Bahrain: the historical persistence of sectarianism

This paper focuses on the history of policing in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a small Arab, Muslim country. The historical discourse about Bahraini policing, though scant, has not adequately confronted the role the police have had in protecting Sunni hegemony in majority Shiah majority nation, a residual feature of colonialism. Through colonial records, press accounts, and Bahraini historical sources, the importance of sectarian politics in the development of Bahraini policing emerges. By drawing on conflict criminology and paying attention to the relevant cultural processes, a new approach to understanding policing in Bahrain, and the Gulf region, emerges. The analysis suggests that although Bahrain police force has liberalized in recent years by developing a community policing unit, disapproval and unrest by Bahraini Shiah remains a significant social and political problem.

By Staci Strobl
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, Vol 35, No. 1, February 2011, pp 19-37

zaterdag 25 juni 2011

Voices in Parliament, Debates in Majalis, and Banners on Streets: Avenues of Political Participation in Bahrain (paper)

This paper tries to analyze political participation in Bahrain in its diverse forms, in formal and informal spheres and those in between. It aims to delineate these entanglements by at first presenting the structural setting of Bahraini politics, describing the limitations to formal political participation set by the authoritarian state. Then the institutions in their varying degrees of formality will be identified in which political actors pursue their aims. In a next step focuses on three exemplary groups of actors that due to their different toward the formal state institutions have developed divergent strategies and use different loci. It will be shown how Bahraini political actors are caught up in various blockages. Their strategic options are currently defined by their positions toward parliament. While actors within parliament can participate in legislation to a certain degree, those outside cannot influence any details. Those can, however, participate in agenda setting: The wider they incorporate less formal political arenas into their strategies, the more influential they become. Some strategies that appear to be directed towards exerting pressure on the government to achieve certain policy outcomes, however, aim at different ends: oppositional groups are caught in infighting, hereby losing sight of influencing the government altogether. Moreover, the fragmentation of Bahrain's society and the high level of distrust between the various political, religious and ethnic groups constrain political actors even further.

By Katja Niethammer
European University Institute
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

donderdag 16 juni 2011

Early Metallurgy of the Persian Gulf: Technology, Trade, and the Bronze Age World

This volume examines the earliest production and exchange of copper and its alloys in the Persian Gulf, a major metal supply route for the Bronze Age societies of Western Asia. Weeks addresses the geological and technological background to copper production in southeastern Arabia and contextualizes evidence for major fluctuations in prehistoric copper production. The core of the volume contists of compositional and isotopic analyses. The relationship between specialized copper production, exchange, and the development of social complexity in early Arabia is examined, and the author addresses the broader archaeological issue of the Bronze Age tin trade, which linked vast areas of Western Asia, from the Indo-Iranian borderlands to the Aegean, in the third millennium BC.

Unexceptional: America's Empire in the Persian Gulf, 1941-2007

Unexceptional examines U.S. policy vis-^-vis the Persian Gulf since the Second World War. It asserts that the American experience in this strategic yet volatile region known for its plentiful oil and gas can be best understood as an unexceptional imperial endeavor similar in kind to that of the British and Ottoman empires of previous eras. If you want to know more about this exceptional book, please read this post written by the author at Harvard Law School blogs.

If for any reason the link to download this interesting book fails, please let me know, I'll upload it in a new link.

woensdag 15 juni 2011

Propaganda, the Press and Conflict: The Gulf War and Kosovo

An incisive analysis of the use of the press for propaganda purposes during conflicts, using the first Gulf War and the intervention in Kosovo as case studies.

As the contemporary analysis of propaganda during conflict has tended to focus considerably upon visual and instant media coverage, this book redresses the imbalance and contributes to the growing discourse on the role of the press in modern warfare.

Through an innovative comparative analysis of press treatment of the two conflicts it reveals the existence of five consistent propaganda themes: portrayal of the leader figure, portrayal of the enemy, military threat, threat to international stability and technological warfare. As these themes construct a fluid model for the analysis and understanding of propaganda content in the press during conflicts involving British forces, they also provide the background against which the author can discuss general issues regarding propaganda. Amongst the issues which have become increasingly relevant to both recent academic debate and popular culture, the author tackles the role of the journalist in war coverage, the place of the press in a news market dominated by 'instant' visual media and the effectiveness of propaganda in specific cultural and political context.

The book demonstrates the existence of five propaganda themes that are consistently produced to justify armed intervention by the British government. The book utilizes the British press to demonstrate the existence of these themes and the argument is strengthened through a comparative analysis of both five newspapers and two conflicts. In addition, the book discusses general issues regarding propaganda which have become increasingly relevant to both recent academic debate and popular culture. The manuscript also tackles the role of the journalist in war coverage and the place for the written press in a news market dominated by 'instant', visual media.

The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants, Rulers, and the British in the Nineteenth-Century Gulf

The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj is a study of one of the most forbidding frontier zones of Britain's Indian Empire. The Gulf Residency, responsible for Britain's relationship with Eastern Arabia and Southern Persia, was part of an extensive network of political residencies that surrounded and protected British India. Based on extensive archival research in both the Gulf and Britain, this book examines how Britain's Political Resident in the Gulf and his very small cadre of British officers maintained the Pax Britannica on the waters of the Gulf, protected British interests throughout the region, and managed political relations with the dozens of Arab rulers and governors on both shores of the Gulf.

James Onley looks at the secret to the Gulf Residency's effectiveness--the extent to which the British worked within the indigenous political systems of the Gulf. He examines the way in which Arab rulers in need of protection collaborated with the Resident to maintain the Pax Britannica, while influential men from affluent Arab, Persian, and Indian merchant families served as the Resident's "native agents" (compradors) in over half of the political posts within the Gulf Residency. Very long substantial chapters on Bahrain.

Economic Co-Operation in the Arab Gulf: Issues in the Economies of the Arab Gulf Co-Operation Council States

With global concerns over rising oil prices, this book examines the major issues facing the economies of the Arab Gulf today, covering all six of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC) states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Providing a detailed account of the central features of the economies of the Arab Gulf, this book draws out the critical trends that will shape the region in future years. It includes an in-depth analysis of topical issues such as the AGCC monetary union, intra-AGCC national labour movement, Islamic banking and programmes to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The book:
* assesses the costs and benefits of the proposed monetary union, assessing whether AGCC economic structures have converged sufficiently, and whether these economies have the internal flexibility necessary to make the union work effectively
* investigates intra-national labour mobility in the context of the forthcoming monetary union and identifies the most crucial features in a successful common AGCC employment strategy
* considers the fortunes of the prominent Islamic banks in the region
* examines the impact on liquidity of the external economic environment and regulatory policy
* contrasts and compares some of the major SME financing schemes, focusing in particular on SME financing in Oman.

Badr El Din A. Ibrahim currently serves as an Economic Expert at the Ministry of Finance, Oman. He was previously Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at Khartoum University, and thereafter Professor of Economics at the Modern College of Business and Science, Oman. He has written on SMEs, Islamic banking, adjustment programmes, & AGCC economies. He is the author of Banking and Finance to Small and Micro-enterprises in Sudan - Some Lessons from the Islamic Financing System (Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance, London, 2004).

The New Politics of Islam: Pan-Islamic Foreign Policy in a World of States

This is a timely study of the international relations of Islamic states, dealing both with the evolving theory of pan-Islamism from classical to post-caliphal times and the foreign-policy practice of contemporary states, especially Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, from the colonial period to the global aftermath of September 11. With a concise but analytic style, the book engages one-by-one with the questions of political theory, political geography and political sociology as they relate to international Islam. Its primary empirical investigation is centred on the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a powerful pan-Islamic regime, sometimes referred to as the 'Muslim United Nations'. In its theoretical deliberations on Islam and the postmodern condition, the book reconstructs contemporary understandings of how religious ideas and identities influence international politics in the Islamic world.

Preserving Arab Culture in the Kingdom of Bahrain (article)

"This paper aims at assessing the efforts of preserving Arab culture in the Kingdom of Bahrain initiated by the Bahraini Parliament in recent years. With a population of roughly 1 million inhabitants, nearly half of whom are expatriates, Bahrain has been under a constant pressure of immigrant cultures. The lack of integration of residing foreigners added to the effects of country‘s rapid modernization putting the Bahraini cultural identity at stake. This danger was recognized by the Bahraini Parliament. With the political reform that culminated in the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in 2002, the Parliament became the unique though limited form of popular representation. Although no major tensions between expatriate and local
population have been yet observed, these could arise in the future if the problem is ignored. The situation in Bahrain is all the more vulnerable since local population is divided between Sunni and Shia Muslims, which led to conflicts in the past. It is no surprising that the first steps in the exercise of democracy addressed the problem of national culture. Although Bahraini
authorities have recognized that multiculturalism is an asset, it is an extremely delicate question how to establish a balance between foreign influences needed for a future development of country’s economy and local culture. This paper examines the work of the Parliament aimed at
preservation of Bahraini identity, its successes and lessons to be drawn from its failures. The case study of Bahrain is representative of problems faced by other Arabian Gulf countries and answers the question: Is an eradication of national identity a necessary evil of rapidly developing countries of the Gulf region?" by Magdalena Karolak

Marginalizing or Blending of Transnational Workers: Case of the Kingdom of Bahrain (article)

"This paper adopts a comparative case study of three Asian communities numerous in the Kingdom of Bahrain, namely Filipino, Indian and Pakistani. People from these communities migrate to work in a variety of jobs with skill levels ranging from professionals to unskilled labors. Our paper assesses how each of these communities transports their cultures to the Kingdom of Bahrain. It has been observed that these communities are clustered in certain geographical areas, in which they set up their respective cultural foundations to sustain their cultural identity in this foreign land. Taking into account that these communities cluster in their own groups; our paper assesses through a survey of thirty respondents from each community how this phenomenon contributes to their partial, and in some cases complete, isolation from the
local community of the Kingdom of Bahrain. In addition we analyze whether this action (of each
of the three Asian communities) is their own choice or an effect of policies and regulations imposed by the community of the Kingdom of Bahrain. With little or no social protection at all, people within each of the three communities form networks of reliance upon their countrymen to face emerging problems. With a high rate of observed and reported worker abuse, protective actions are sometimes taken by their respective embassies. Transnational work is a must for economical development of a country such as the Kingdom of Bahrain. Our case study is an illustration of overall trends observed also in other GCC countries."

Labor Camps in the Gulf States (article)

This short article provides a basic typology and description of the labor camps that house significant portions of the transnational labor force in the Gulf states. By Andrew Gardner, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Puget Sound. Gardner has some great books and articles about immigrants in the Gulf countries, but sadly nothing so far electronic.

The Archaeology of the Arabian Gulf

The world's first great cities, built in the fertile lands of Mesopotamia, grew rich on trade. The great rivers which flowed down into the Gulf were navigable up to Babylon and beyond, into Syria. Ships carried goods from these cities to present-day Pakistan and probably to Egypt, thousands of miles away. But it is only in recent years that the extraordinary archaeological remains in the Gulf region have been revealed. The Archaeology of the Arabian Gulf provides the first comprehensive, accessible and up-to-date review of recent archaeological work in the area, which now comprises Kuwait, eastern Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Emirates and northern Oman. Through a detailed examination of the Gulf's archaeology Michael Rice reveals the extraordinary nature of the region's past. He shows that the Gulf has been a major channel of commerce for millenia, a tradition which continues to the present. No similarly wide-ranging book is currently available which deals with the antiquity of this area. It will be of great interest to the general reader who seeks to read of the past of the last unknown region of the ancient world. Published in 1994, by Michael Rice, one of the best books so far about the pre-historical past of Bahrain, often not covered in these books.

Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia, Vol. II

Dialect, Culture and Society in Eastern Arabia is a study of the Arabic dialects spoken in Bahrain by its older generation in the mid 1970s, and the socio-cultural factors that produced them.
Volume II: Ethnographic Texts presents a selection of these texts, transcribed, annotated and translated, and with detailed background essays, covering major aspects of the pre-oil culture of the Gulf and the initial stages of the transition to the modern era: pearl diving, agriculture, communal relations, marriage, childhood, domestic life, work. Excerpts from local dialect poems concerned with these subjects are also included. This is a very interesting text for anyone interested in studying Bahrain in its tribal, pre-oil and traditional setting and culture.

dinsdag 14 juni 2011

Tribe and State in Bahrain: The Transition of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State

An all-times classic written by an authority, Fuad Khuri, late professor at AUB, it is so far one of the best books on Bahrain, considering all the social, religious and ethnic divisions inside the island nation. The book is a bit old since it was written in the 1970's but it is still important since it was written after the constitution of 1975 and remains a classic among those studying Bahraini history even though it's not very well-known outside those circles. How useful this book could possibly be, you can tell from this very interesting blog http://bahrainipolitics.blogspot.com/2011/06/most-dangerous-men-in-bahrain.html

For now this old link http://www.scribd.com/doc/49926979/Tribe-and-State-in-Bahrain as time permits will do a fresh upload. It just took too long today and am out of patience.

Histories of City and State in the Persian Gulf: Manama since 1800

In this path-breaking and multi-layered account of one of the least explored societies in the Middle East, Nelida Fuccaro examines the political and social life of the Gulf city and its coastline, as exemplified by Manama in Bahrain. Written as an ethnography of space, politics and community, it addresses the changing relationship between urban development, politics and society before and after the discovery of oil. By using a variety of local sources and oral histories, Fuccaro questions the role played by the British Empire and oil in state-making. Instead, she draws attention to urban residents, elites and institutions as active participants in state and nation building. She also examines how the city has continued to provide a source of political, social and sectarian identity since the early nineteenth century, challenging the view that the advent of oil and modernity represented a radical break in the urban past of the region. Fuccaro is a professor of History at SOAS and one of the so-called Bahrain experts in the UK.

Britain's Revival and Fall in the Gulf: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the Trucial States, 1950-71

Britain's relationship with the Gulf region remains one of the few unexplored episodes in the study of British decolonization. The decision, announced in 1968, to leave the Gulf within three years represented an explicit recognition by Britain that its 'East of Suez' role was at an end. This book examines the decision-making process which underpinned this reversal and considers the interaction between British decision-making, and local responses and initiatives, in shaping the modern Gulf. Using sources previously unavailable to scholars, Britain's Revival and Fall in the Gulf is a valuable addition to the studies on the modern Gulf. Author: Simon C. Smith (2004)

Belgrave Diaries

This important book, "Belgrave Diary", is a very important historical narration of events written by Belgrave, a British citizen and adviser to the rulers of Bahrain from 1926 until 1957, as he was working for the ruler of Bahrain and then for the government. In this book he lists important details about the development of the country in many levels and documents the relationship of Belgrave with the ruling family of Bahrain. The book contains precise details that the authorities of Bahrain have not wanted to be publicly discussed, in particular dealing with sectarian discrimination, appropriation of land and distribution of wealth. It also includes information about the opposition to the government at the time that are unknown to most people nowadays. The book was banned by the Ministry of Information in Bahrain as we know from this link provided by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights http://bahraincenter.blogspot.com/2010/06/banning-one-of-most-significant.html and for your information it is no longer available via Amazon not even as out of print stock.

Welcome to the Bahrain Online Library


The sole purpose of this blog is to make available a small selection of books about Bahrain from private sources to anyone that is interested. The current unrest in the Middle East and the growing interest in the politics and society, but also in the culture and history of the Kingdom of Bahrain have convinced me that it is important to make as much information available to people as possible so that they can make educated choices about the important cause of Bahrain that small as it, has come to play an important role in shaping our ideas about foreign policy, economy and the future of the democratic world wherever you are. I will do my best to keep this library updated and to verify links from time to time, in case that a link doesn't work or that you might want to volunteer some other material, please don't hesitate to contact me via Twitter - . This is not an space for political discussion, case in which there are several channels, forums, Twitter discussions, Facebook groups, college campuses and especially real life meetings with people that share our interests. Thanks for visiting and peace be upon the people of Bahrain. Now let's get started. In order to keep the links functional and to keep them from being taken down, please do not repost links in other sites, download and share independently.

Thank you!