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Beyond Sunni and ShiaThe Roots of Sectarianism in a Changing Middle East$
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Frederic Wehrey

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190876050

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190876050.001.0001

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The Roots of Sectarian Law and Order in the Gulf

The Roots of Sectarian Law and Order in the Gulf

Bahrain, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and the Two Historical Disruptions

(p.205) 9 The Roots of Sectarian Law and Order in the Gulf
Beyond Sunni and Shia

Staci Strobl

Oxford University Press

Criminal justice and policing institutions are the dominant carriers of social order, often drawing upon and reinforcing existing social norms—especially discriminatory norms. In Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia, policing and public security institutions have been operating in a sectarian discursive framework for over two hundred years. While much of this is a product of regime policies aimed at royal family survival, it also has transnational dimensions and, especially, historical roots tracing back to British colonial influence. In Bahrain in particular contemporary policing bears a strong similarity to policing in the 1920s. Efforts to eliminate sectarian inequality in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province must therefore overcome the weight of this historically embedded influence in public security institutions, through security sector reform, a lustration process, and truth and reconciliation commissions.

Keywords:   Bahrain, Britain, Policing, Criminal justice, Sectarianism, Discrimination, Saudi Arabia, Eastern Province, Shiism

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