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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Bahrain appoints woman minister 

The King of Bahrain (His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, as the local media invariably and long-windedly call him, every single time he is mentioned) has appointed a woman, Dr. Nada Haffadh, to the post of health minister--a first for Bahrain and for the Arab world in general.

Good for her, and good for Bahrain. I have been to Bahrain, albeit for a stay of less than a month, but in that time, I came to believe that Bahrain has a good thing going. The rest of the Arab world should take note. From what I understand, some of the other Gulf states, in particular Oman, Qatar, and the UAE, have pursued reform to one extent or another with a good deal of success. I wonder if the Saudis, Egyptians, and Syrians are paying attention, and if so, what they think of all this moderation in the neighborhood.
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