““I need to leave Bahrain,” he says, voice shaking. “What channels can I use?” By all accounts, Bahrain’s protests have had the wind knocked out of their sails the past two weeks, as the government systematically shut down the opposition’s operations. Leading activists were arrested en masse, many in pre-dawn raids. The headquarters of opposition group Waad was torched. As Manama was put under martial law, 100 Saudi Arabian tanks arrived on March 13 to help police the streets. Salmaniya Medical Center, a main gathering point for protesters and the country’s most sophisticated hospital, was essentially locked down. At checkpoints around the city, masked thugs pulled drivers out of cars at the slightest suspicion of anti-government activity, often beating them senseless. A kingdom had imposed a reign of terror — with anecdotes and examples of how vengeance is exacted. “The injuries, the bullet holes, are always in the back — as people are leaving,” one official said. ……….”
It is a reign of terror, largely sectarian, but not only that. It is also tribal. There are prominent Sunni opposition figures under detention, like Ibrahim Sharif al-Sayed who heads a secular democratic group. He may be the target of more of the wrath of the ruling despots and their Salafi allies because they have tried to make the Bahrain uprising a purely Shi’a-Sunni sectarian issue, and people like him disrupt their propaganda.