Thursday, February 17, 2011

Al Khalifa Family Politics

Jean-Francois Seznec calls attention to divisions within Bahrain's ruling family:
"For the past few years, quasi-Salafist and arch-conservative elements of the Khalifa family have been gaining power over more liberal members of the family, who advocate widening the economic and political involvement to all spheres of Bahraini society.

"Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, the oldest and richest member of main ruling clan, has emerged as the leader of these conservatives, who seek to ensure the Khalifa family's continued stranglehold over the politics and economy of the country. His resignation has become one of the protesters' primary demands...

"The growing influence of the more extreme Khalifas was on full display during the Feb. 17 police crackdown. The police force that raided the camp is legally under the control of the prime minister. The brutality with which the raid was conducted may have been a bid to create a state of emergency on the island, forcing the more liberal members of the family to side with them against the protesters."

When I was in Bahrain in 2007, I heard the prime minister called "Fifty-Fifty" in reference to his corruption. Local rumor has him as the richest royal in in the GCC.



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