Iran’s Relations with Bahrain
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Wright argues that given its size and strategic location, Bahrain has always been vulnerable to its more powerful neighbours, with each vying for power or influence. This has resulted in a history of successive external powers exercising a controlling influence. Historically, Iran’s perspective on Bahrain was that the island had invariably been a part of Persia, except during the Portuguese occupation from 1507 to 1622. The main theme of this chapter is that the vast majority of Shiite-Bahrainis are primarily guided by their national and tribal identity, which afforded loyalty to the state, though some did succumb to the influence of transnational Shiite clerics based in Iraq, Syria or Iran. The majority of Shiite-Bahrainis, as elsewhere, look to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani as the source of religious guidance. Wright’s main conclusion is that the impact of the Iranian revolution was not uniform. The Bahraini society should be understood as a heterogeneous one, rather than a simple interpretation of being Sunni and Shiite.
KeywordsSaudi Arabia Foreign Policy Regional Security Gulf Cooperation Council Iranian Government
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