chapter  2
89 Pages


WithAnthony H. Cordesman

Bahrain may be the first post-oil economy in the Gulf, and where no amount of diversification can provide a level of economic growth that can both sustain the present level of per capita wealth and the present level of dependence on foreign labor. Once Bahrain achieved independence, it faced the potential threats from the Arab radicalism of states like Iraq and had to deal with the Shah of Iran's ambitions to make Iran the dominant power in the Gulf. Secularization is a major area of concern for both conservative Sunni and Shi'ite religious leaders in Bahrain and is frequently the subject of their sermons. Many outside observers do feel that there is both conscious and unconscious discrimination against Shi'ites. Many of these observers believe that the problems faced by Bahrain's Shi'ites are more problems faced by all of Bahrain's poor citizens than the result of overt discrimination.