…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
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Tensions high as Bahrain dialogue looms

Tensions high as Bahrain dialogue looms
By Reed Stevenson and Erika Solomon

MANAMA/DUBAI | Fri Jul 1, 2011 12:56pm EDT

MANAMA/DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain launches a national dialogue Saturday but many in the Shi’ite majority doubt the ruling Sunni monarchy will offer the concessions that could heal wounds caused by a crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

The kingdom, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has accused its mostly Shi’ite protesters of a sectarian agenda backed from non-Arab Shi’ite power Iran, across Gulf waters.

In March, Bahrain’s Sunni rulers imposed emergency law, inviting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to send troops, and tanks rolled into the island as local forces cleared the streets of protesters, arresting hundreds of people.

Inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled rulers in those countries, Bahrain’s Shi’ites called for a greater say in government and an end to what they say was systematic discrimination in access to jobs and social services. …more