Bahrain’s rulers treat the country they took over approximately 230 years ago as a typical business model. To protect their investments from the people of Bahrain, they have brought in tens of thousands of Sunni mercenaries from countries such as Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, and Yemen to maintain their authoritarian hold on power. This also serves a purpose of changing the demographics of Bahrain from a Shia majority into a Sunni majority, as the regime only allows for the political naturalization of Sunnis. Through their membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Bahrain’s rulers have forged alliances with other Gulf monarchies, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Such alliances have shielded Bahrain from international scrutiny and accountability. Bahrainis often complain that Bahrain is not Al Khalifa’s country and Bahrainis are not their people. They accuse the rulers of treating the country they conquered by force as a privately owned money hub and do not care about the consequences of their irreversible and damaging actions.
My Parents’ Bahrain by Maryam Al-Khawaja
The poor coverage of Bahrain in Western media is nothing surprising. It would do you good if you read this heartrending account by Maryam Al-Khawaja, the acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, whose father (Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja) and sister (Zainab Al-Khawaja) are currently imprisoned for their peaceful activism. Maryam was also recently banned from entering Bahrain.
Anti-Imperialist Transnational Feminist Studies theorizes the US war on terror as a racialized, gendered, and sexualized imperialist war that operates through military and economic policy in order to advance and consolidate the system of capitalism. AITFS contextualizes the US war on terror within the restructuring of US domestic and foreign policy, which entailed an expansion of the conjoined heteropatriarchal, racist, and classist structures of the prison industrial complex (PIC) and the military industrial complex (MIC), both driven by the economic neo-liberalism of the late twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries. Historically, the Reagan era’s neo-liberal economic policies and the war on drugs during the decades leading up to the war on terror set this process into motion. Notably, throughout this period, the MIC has worked through a neo-liberal system in which functions of the military were increasingly transferred to bodies outside of the state, including private corporations, subcontractors, and universities. Paralleling this process, the US prison industrial complex has also undergone privatization so that nearly all prison-related service providers are for-profit companies and are sustained by a racist, classist, and heteropatriarchal criminal justice system.