Today marks 100 days since the Crown Prince of Bahrain met with some of the country's opposition figures to resurrect the collapsed political dialogue. The meeting was regarded as a breakthrough moment. But this new urgency announced after the January 15 meeting has resulted in... not very much.
Efforts to reform Asian soccer governance have stalled more than a year after FIFA ousted disgraced former Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam in the sport's worst corruption scandal that tainted multiple members of the executive committees of both the world soccer and the Asian soccer body.
The new UK and US government reports document the writing on the wall for the Bahrain regime. It's time for them to look beyond the short term and push for an inclusive, rights-based political settlement that involves political and civil society leaders currently in jail.
While there is no doubt that scrutinizing how the Bahrain embassy is run is a useful exercise, the real problem that the State Department needs to address is how that embassy fits into a wider push for human rights and the rule of law.
Parallels between present-day Bahrain and the Northern Ireland of a generation ago are not new but there's an obvious lesson from what happened there 40 springs ago.
Bahrain is adopting a version of the old Cold War tactic: cast democracy activists as "Communists," and force the Unites States to choose between loyalty to repressive regimes or alignment with a movement for rights with suspect friends.
Bishop Camillo Ballin, an Italian-born Comboni missionary, heads the Roman Catholic Vicariate of Northern Arabia. He is overseeing the first-ever building of a new cathedral in Bahrain, on land given to the Church by Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah.
The January 2010 assassination in Dubai of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a cofounder of the military wing of Hamas, briefly drew international attention to the man who went on to investigate it: Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai's long-serving chief of police.
While it may be true that soft-pedaling objections to repression and human rights violations can make for a more cordial diplomatic relationship with authoritarian rulers, it is a fantasy to suppose that condoning violations of human rights and denial of basic freedoms will lead to stability.
Unfortunately, it is less a celebration than an ongoing struggle to resist the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, whose family has ruled the small Persian Gulf Island of one million people for more than 200 years.
While the protests were not and are not primarily sectarian, with Sunnis and Shias both demonstrating for democracy and human rights, Sunni control of the government and disproportionate representation in the security forces gives the tension a sectarian edge.
The Saudis now fear that if the Syrian civil war is allowed to continue it will eventually reach its own territory. And given the manner in which the fundamentalist jihadis are spreading it is not an impossibility. All the reason more to stop this war sooner rather than later.
Bahrain needs to drop politically motivated charges against opposition figures, include jailed leaders in negotiations, and hold to account those responsible for torture and other human rights violations.
Despite the obvious benefits, development has its challenges. We are seeing increasing numbers of young people who have so much that their motivation is falling.
Bahrain has detained a soccer team as well as scores of other players and athletes since security forces squashed a popular uprising almost three years ago, according to human rights activists, journalists and officials.
False claims of reform by the Bahrain government are exposed by its continuing failure to hold its torturers to account. As political polarization increases, its economy weakens, and its protests become more violent, Bahrain appears to be sliding towards greater instability.