A reader writes:
In this post (and some of the previous Bahrain coverage) one gets the sense that Bahrain is an absolute monarchy. This is not true. See Bahrain's constitution. Article I, Section B clearly states that Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy.
Further, section D states that "sovereignty being in the hands of the people, the source of all powers." What the protestors in Bahrain want is separation of powers and a weaker executive and stronger legislature. This constitution is why after three days of unrest Bahrain has gone back to normal and there is nothing at the Pearl Roundabout but some people smoking hooka and a popcorn machine.
I realize that this does not fit with the "revolution" narrative promoted by Western journalists like Kristof - in which the people are facing off the Arab version of the sun-king - but reading silly things like constitutions is why thoughtful bloggers exist.
By the way, Bahrain's constitution is quite a piece of work. It might even serve as the model for other Muslim states because of how it deals with the question of Islam. It acknowledges that the Quran is not remiss in anything and that Islam is essential to salvation in the next life, while going on to say, "it is essential that we listen and look to the whole of the human heritage in both East and West, adopting that which we consider to be beneficial and suitable." That is a very progressive way of dealing with the thorny issue of Islamic constitutionalism.