Salman bin Hamad's Government: Is It Truly Reform-Oriented?

2023-01-27 - 2:37 م

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It was not surprising what the new Bahraini Minister of Education, Muhammad Mubarak Jumaa, did. Over the past 10 years, he has expressed his extremist views and abhorrent sectarianism, through his weekly articles in Akhbar Al Khaleej newspaper, and his television call-ins on Arabic-speaking satellite channels to comment on the matters of public affairs.

Jumaa never concealed his extremism, never stopped writing inflammatory articles, and since the first day of his appointment as Minister of Education, it has been a mission to aggravate and provoke a wide segment of the people of this country.

However, it seems that the Crown Prince had another view of him, and he may have decided to appoint him as minister after reading his column published in Akhbar Al Khaleej newspaper 4 years ago, in which he called for appointing people on the basis of their loyalty, not their experience, in government positions.

Nevertheless, how can Jumaa's appointment serve the image of the reformer that the Crown Prince has always been keen to portray and instill in the minds of citizens, opponents and loyalists alike?

The answer begins months after the largest government reshuffle that took place in the past two decades, in which Salman bin Hamad excluded all the old faces, not affiliated with him, and proceeded to appoint a harmonious government that aligns with his vision of how to run the country.

Less than a month after the reshuffle, the Minister of Interior, Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, took a series of measures against the Shiite community, starting with preventing citizens from leaving the country to visit the holy shrines in Iran and Iraq, leading up to the Ashura season, during which he stopped a Gulf eulogy reciter from performing. He also announced his refusal to welcome any of the region's Shiites who wished to commemorate Ashura in Bahrain.

All of these measures, which were denounced by senior Shia scholars, led by Sayed Abdullah Al-Ghuraifi, did not make the Crown Prince bat an eye at that time, and it does not seem that he is about to bat an eye or lift a finger when it comes to the provocations of the Minister of Education, which began and are unlikely to stop.

It is striking to see the indifferent attitude adopted by the Crown Prince in recent years. It seems to be a result of the great confidence and greater support he receives from Saudi Arabia and the UAE in particular.

What the future king must know and realize; however, is that the path ahead of him is long, and that sitting in the prime minister's chair means dealing with the daily affairs of citizens, which is completely different from sitting in the supreme chair of the kingdom. His disregard and indifference to the suffering of half of society will generate in this group of people a feeling of animosity towards the person who will be the future king, so is this what he truly wants?


Arabic Version