Economic boycotts are becoming part of the Bahrain revolutionary scene. This is how they started:
Some regime partisans in Bahrain pushed many Sunnis to start the boycott frenzy by advertizing a boycott of some prominent Shi’a businesses that supported the protests (e.g. Jawad Enterprises). Naturally Sunnis have much more buying power per person, but their numbers are small. They may get others to join, like Pakistanis, Saudis, Syrians, Jordanians (basically some of the imported mercenaries). Some of the targeted businesses were also trashed. Yet that was a big mistake as my next paragraph explains.
Shi’as, taking a page form their Sunni neighbors, started thinking of boycotts. They have suddenly realized the true power they have: just like American blacks in Alabama did in the 1950s, and others did in India so long ago. They are now advertizing to boycott businesses that support the repression (usually Sunni or some foreign businesses). Many of these businesses went along with the regime and fired many of their Shi’a employees (there are reports that they are hiring in the Indian Subcontinent to replace the fired natives). The firings have added the effect of reduced purchasing power to the anger the Shi’as already felt toward them. Shi’as are a big majority in Bahrain: al-Wefaq, the main Shi’a opposition group won about 64% of the popular vote in the last election. That is not counting other parties and those who boycotted (like al-Haq). They can really harm some major businesses if they boycott them. It looks like they will. Many businesses and shopping malls are owned by al-Khalifa clan members, partnerships, and their retainers and henchmen.
Bahrain businesses, through the chamber of commerce, have now frozen relations with businesses organizations in, and now talk of boycotting: Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon (all three states have a majority or plurality of Shi’as, like Bahrain). Typical of the al-Khalifa clan to try to extend their own domestic policy of sectarian Apartheid and ethnic cleansing to the region in order to get out of the mess they created. They want everyone to join in their sectarian game, but that will not solve the serious problem many Bahraini businesses will now face because most of the people will boycott them.
The business outlook in Bahrain looks bleak, much bleaker than the al-Khalifa clan had anticipated.