Nick Kristof's dispatch from Bahrain is a must-read on the botched opportunities of the monarchy, mistakes by the opposition and descent into sectarian Sunni-Shiite darkness. Money quote:

I wrote a few weeks ago about a distinguished plastic surgeon, Sadiq al-Ekri, who had been bludgeoned by security forces. At the time, I couldn’t interview Dr. Ekri because he was unconscious. But I later returned and was able to talk to him, and his story offers a glimpse into Bahrain’s tragedy.

Dr. Ekri is a moderate Shiite who said his best friend is a Sunni. Indeed, Dr. Ekri recently took several weeks off work to escort this friend to Houston for medical treatment. When Bahrain’s security forces attacked protesters, Dr. Ekri tried to help the injured. He said he was trying to rescue a baby abandoned in the melee when police handcuffed him. Even after they knew his identity, he said they clubbed him so hard that they broke his nose. Then, he said, they pulled down his pants and threatened to rape him all while cursing Shiites.

This sectarian hatred is lethal and contagious. It could seriously destabilize Iraq. Just look at the faces above.

(Photo: Iraqi Shiite Muslims hold up the Bahraini flag and an image of Shiite radical leader Moqtada Sadr as they protest in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad on March 16, 2011, in support of the Shiite protesters in Bahrain and against the violent crackdown by the ruling Sunni Muslim dynasty in the Bahraini capital Manama. By Ali-Al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images.)

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