When large-scale protests for reform and democracy began in Bahrain nearly two years ago, the government clamped down with the help of troops from Saudi Arabia and neighboring Gulf states. The clashes and the daily demonstrations continue, but largely outside the capital of Manama and the ruling al-Khalifa family has yet to introduce meaningful reforms, despite repeated promises.
Bahrain recently hosted an international security conference and renewed more such pledges. At the same time, however, the court kept one of the nation's most prominent human rights activist in jail, though it reduced one charge and slightly reduced his sentence from three years to two.
Many of the activists have had their citizenship revoked and even doctors and nurses who treated victims of government violence have been convicted of crimes against the state and given lengthy prison terms.
Bahrain is a Persian Gulf state, directly facing Iran. It is also home to the U.S. 5th Fleet, a key strategic asset in a critical neighborhood. Activists accused the United States of largely sitting on the sidelines. Christiane Amanpour recently spoke with Maryam al-Khawaja, a member of one of Bahrain's most prominent activist families, about the ongoing stalemate. She also spoke with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner who recently visited Bahrain. To see their conversation, click on the video above.
The Amanpour program has repeatedly invited Bahraini government officials onto the program, with little success so far. We did receive an email statement from the Bahraini ambassador to the United States, Houda Ezra Nonoo, which you can click here to read.
CNN’s Meredith Milstein produced this piece for television.