Buoyed by their success in cleansing their roads of women, the Saudi authorities are reportedly considering a clampdown on Bahraini drivers. According to our source in Riyadh, Alamin Al Hassan, Saudi advisers have submitted recommendations to minimize simmering tensions in the neighbouring Kingdom. “Flashpoints are created as Bahrainis mingle with policemen and tanks at check-points”, he said. “A 10-year cooling-off period is proposed, during which Bahrainis will not be permitted to drive.”
Still under discussion is how Bahrainis would travel to work. “It’s a small country, and recent events show that many prefer to walk into the capital, Manama”, says Al Hassan. But another suggestion is for Saudi Arabia to provide further assistance by sending drivers to Bahrain, creating much-needed employment opportunities for thousands of school-leavers.
With the current reporting restrictions in Bahrain we have been unable to gauge local reaction to the plan. However, a Twitter message posted by the country’s Ministry of Interior and Tourism appears to endorse the proposal: “Pedestrian areas to boost Manama’s tourist appeal.” With its easy-going lifestyle, Bahrain has long been a popular weekend resort for Saudis, who take the short drive across the causeway linking the two countries.
In a related development, F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, is hoping that the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix can be rescheduled at the end of the season in November. “F1 has always steered well clear of politics”, he said. “but we’re pleased to see strong leadership in Bahrain. I always thought that the problems earlier in the year would turn out to be a storm in a teacup.”