WASHINGTON, April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Kingdom of Bahrain's Ambassador to the United States Houda Nonoo addressed an intimate group of foreign policy and national security scholars as part of The Brookings Institution's seminar, "Inside the Middle East: Security, Political, and Social Dynamics." Ambassador Nonoo discussed events in Bahrain as part of a talk titled, "The Future of the Arab Revolutions in the Gulf States: The View From Bahrain." Ambassador Nonoo highlighted the ongoing reforms taking place in Bahrain.
Putting the unrest in Bahrain into perspective, Ambassador Nonoo remarked on the strong track record of reforms the government has taken since 1999 when His Majesty King Hamad acceded to the throne in Bahrain. "Political prisoners and religious leaders were pardoned and released," and "The State Security Court, which had permitted the government to detain individuals without trial for up to three years, was abolished."
Referencing Bahrain's maturing democracy, Ambassador Nonoo detailed that with King Hamad's rule, "Bahrain saw the introduction of a new constitutional framework; a more open, participatory and representative political system with an elected Parliament." The King's agenda also included "deep rooted economic reforms aimed at doubling the household income for all Bahrainis" and introducing "unemployment benefits and the protection of a wide range of individual and collective rights" which guaranteed equality for all citizens.
Describing the development of the protests, Ambassador Nonoo said that peaceful demonstrations spiraled into acts of violence and that the original calls for reform became a sequence of destructive extremist acts. She noted that, "protests spread into schools, hospitals and communities," and all the while, opposition groups refused to join the government in a collaborative dialogue to achieve a legally binding referendum for peace and reform.
After protesters forced the closure of Bahrain's Financial Harbor, the government called on the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) Peninsula Shield Force to bolster infrastructure. Ambassador Nonoo said, "The anarchy we saw left our police forces overstretched. We called in Gulf Cooperation Council support to help maintain Bahrain's security and stability. There was no other option."
Ambassador Nonoo concluded, "A political solution is within everyone's interest, so that significant further reform can be achieved, and with it, a stable, political settlement for Bahrain…But, this can only be done in a stable and secure environment where all of Bahrain's communities feel safe."
SOURCE Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States