The war in Gaza has put Arab states that have normalized relations with Israel in recent years in a difficult position. This includes Bahrain, which signed the Abraham Accords with Tel Aviv in 2020. Amid the targeting of Israeli-linked shipping in the Red Sea by the Yemeni Ansarullah movement—better known as the Houthis—Manama is in an even more complex situation. When the United States announced the formation of a maritime coalition to counter the Houthi strikes, Manama was the only Arab capital to officially join. This is while many Bahrainis side with the Palestinians, highlighting the rift between state and society on the issue of Israel.
A fateful arrest
Not long after posting objections to Bahrain’s decision to join ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian’, dissident Ibrahim Sharif was detained by the authorities in Manama. Sharif was held for a full week pending an investigation on two charges: disseminating false news and disseminating false news at a time of war.
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