أكد الشيخ علي سلمان في خطبته بجامع الإمام الصادق في الدراز أمس، أن «الانفلات الأمني لا يخدم المصلحين، بل يخدم من لا يؤمن بمنهج الإصلاح، ويخدم طبقة لاتزال قوية ومتنفذة وسيزيد نفوذها بالانفلات الأمني، وسيحقق لها مكاسب استراتيجية عاشت عليها عقوداً وستكون سعيدة بأن يعود»
It's official: times have changed. Far from the days when Al-Wefaq was commanding the Shia street, their latest reactions to the recent wave of violence show total helplessness and confusion. On the other side, it seems that the recent events are as much a show of frustration with Al-Wefaq as with the government. Beyond speeches and feeble attempts to criticize the Ministry of Interior's handling of the demonstrations, this political society needs a shift in strategy before it is too late.
The implications of a Wefaqi parliament failure are quite dangerous, and can potentially affect the whole concept of peaceful opposition in Bahrain. If Al-Wefaq continues to move from one failure to another in parliament, currently the only forum that allows for opposition within the system, the other alternative is just more violence. Sadly, neither Al-Wefaq nor the government seem to realize that at least some sort of political success of parliament is necessary to sustain Bahrain's stability: think of it as a "venting"mechanism.
The "venting"theory seemed to work well with the previous parliament. As little as it had achieved, it was at least successful in making noise: in showing that (parts of) it cared. Far from it, Al-Wefaq got itself into one disaster after another: antagonizing the King by boycotting his opening speech, passing the hugely unpopular 1% unemployment tax, speaking in favor of the apartment housing option (may be valid but is still unpopular), and trying in vain to build impossible alliances with Al-Menbar and Al-Asalah. It seemed to overlook the fact that its constituency is actually watching, expecting, and waiting... and waiting. The government, in unleashing its supporters to kill any little Wefaqi initiative, including anti-tajnees and anti-Ateyatallah questioning, has also grossly miscalculated the impact of Wefaq's failure. Does the government really prefer to deal with the street than with parliament?
What we see in Bahrain nowdays is that Al-Wefaq's entrance into parliament not only exposed their own lack of direction, strategy, and ability to tackle serious national grievances. It also showed the whole "political reform" process to be sham with no hope in sight. It actually proved what Haqq was claiming all along: the parliament is so heavily restricted by the government and pro-government forces that no "change from within" can possibly take place.
So where do we go from here?