The Kingdom of Bahrain is the smallest country in the Middle East. It is an island in the Persian Gulf connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway. It is home to the largest US Naval base in the region, which houses the Navy’s fifth fleet.

Bahrain is also in the midst of a years long crackdown in which political opposition figures, human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers have been languishing in jail. And it was in this context that last month Bahrain held elections that were a total sham, according to my guest today, Brian Dooley.

Brian Dooley is a senior advisor at Human Rights First and as he explains, the politics and international relations of Bahrain can teach us a lot about broader trends in the Middle East. In our conversation, we discuss why these recent elections in Bahrain matter and what the international community can do to restore a semblance of representative democracy to Bahrain.

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