The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states have appeared to have largely escaped the turmoil sweeping through the Arab world since early 2011. But outward appearances are deceiving; nowhere more so than in Bahrain. The Arab awakening did not create the eruption of Bahraini popular protests in February 2011 but, given a century of grievances in the island state, it provided encouragement. The struggle between the regime and ruling family on the one hand and an increasingly restive citizenry does not bode well for the future. Muted criticism from Western countries has only stiffened the tough posture of the hardliners within the ruling family and generated resentment from a growing proportion of Bahrainis. Despite the initiation of a renewed, government-sponsored “dialogue”, the chasm between the two sides remains as wide and deep as ever.