Al Wefaq, Bahrain's main Shiite political party, is close to pulling out of the national dialogue to discuss reform, arguing it's only a fig leaf for continued autocracy.
Bahrain's crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising has shifted from the streets to courtrooms, workplaces, and schools. One prisoner's wife describes sexual assault and psychological abuse.
By cracking down on dissent and refusing to negotiate with the opposition, Bahrain's ruling monarchy has pushed some protesters into the arms of more hardline groups.
The abrupt U-turn suggests that the US, which has been largely silent over the past month, still wields influence over the tiny kingdom despite its acquiescence to Saudi interests there.
At least 16 Bahraini companies or government ministries have fired hundreds of mostly Shiite workers during the past week. Employees speak of being dismissed despite being on pre-approved leave or having received approval to stay home due to the unrest.