The Middle East in Transition
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The Middle East in Transition

The Centrality of Citizenship

Edited by Nils A. Butenschøn and Roel Meijer

The violent transitions that have dominated developments since the Arab Uprisings demonstrate deep-seated divisions in the conceptions of state authority and citizen rights and responsibilities. Analysing the Middle East through the lens of the ‘citizenship approach’, this book argues that the current diversity of crisis in the region can be ascribed primarily to the crisis in the relations between state and citizen. The volume includes theoretical discussions and case studies, and covers both Arab and non-Arab countries.
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Chapter 6: Bahrain’s citizenship policy of inclusion and exclusion

Zeineb Alsabeehg

Abstract

The chapter examines the sectarian nature of the politics of citizenship of inclusion and exclusion in Bahrain. After the eruption of the Arab Uprising in the tiny Gulf state in 2011, an increasing number of individuals have been stripped of their citizenship. They are predominantly dissidents belonging to the Shi_i majority population. The chapter looks into the causes and consequences of citizenship revocation, including the consequence of statelessness for the individual whose citizenship has been revoked and his descendants. Particular attention is paid to the death sentencing of stateless individuals, three of whom were executed in January 2017. Moreover, the chapter sheds light on the inclusionary policy of naturalisation of foreigners from Sunni-dominated countries. The chapter highlights how the authorities’ understanding of citizenship is centred on the idea of personal loyalty to the ruler, in contrast to a rights-based definition expressed by protestors during the Uprising in 2011.

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