Overshadowed by the influence of its wealthier Gulf neighbours and the drama of the massive conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the tiny island kingdom of Bahrain has nonetheless been plagued by unrest since the Arab Spring protests of 2011. 

Dozens of pro-democracy protesters were killed in the initial uprising against the Sunni minority government; perfunctory attempts by the regime to start a dialogue with activists failed after government infighting about how best to deal with the problem.  

While the new political opposition became less vocal in the wake of successive crackdowns, it has never really gone away, instead morphing into increasingly sectarian movements.

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