MANAMA - The fervor for change that inspired revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt is now rocking Bahrain. But the uprising in Manama differs from the mass protests that turned out longtime rulers in North Africa. Indeed, sectarian fault lines, together with the security forces’ complete fealty to the monarchy, seriously diminish the likelihood of peaceful regime change.
Whereas Tunisia and Egypt are relatively homogeneous countries – Sunni Muslims constitute more than 90% of their inhabitants – Bahrain’s Sunnis, including the royal family and the country’s political and economic elite, comprise only about one-third of the population. The rest are Shia. Each of these groups is making different, if not contradictory, demands.