Politics|

US Secretary says that radical reform is needed in Bahrain

Political reforms in the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain must begin with more than “baby steps” according to the top US defence official, who spoke out at the weekend following a visit to the US ally.

Robert Gates, US Defence Secretary met with met with the Sunni al-Khalifa family, who rule Bahrain about their growing challenges following the the disgruntled Shi’ite minority of their country.

Seven people were killed in recent clashes with security forces and the true depth of Bahrain’s sectarian rift has been revealed, as well as a resentment towards naturalized foreigners who are working and living in Bahrain.

Gates said that when he met with the ruling family of Bahrain, he told them that major reform is needed and that “baby steps would not be enough to make a difference. As violence continues in Libya, and the future of Egypt and Tunisia looks uncertain, Gates flew to Bahrain form a NATO meeting in Brussels at the end of last week to address the issue of mounting anger amongst the population against the privileged ruling classes.

Thousands of protesters were blocked by police on before they reached the royal court. The march took place on the same day that protests were planned in Saudi Arabia, the top exporter of oil in the world. However, heavy policing prevented the protests there.

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