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Continued Bahrain unrest roils market; Grand Prix canceled

Political unrest across the Middle East has investors on tenterhooks, as many worry about the possible fallout of further demonstrations and the possible collapse of regional governments.

Bahraini citizens gathered in the Pearl roundabout in the capital city of Manama. Monday marked the ninth day of demonstrations against the monarchy of King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, part of the ruling Sunni elite in a majorty Shi'ite Bahrain. The religious aspect - and the island state's proximity to Iran - have some observers convinced that the demonstrations were egged on or orchestrated by the Islamic Republic.

About ten demonstrators have died since the protests began, and the rising level of chaos led the kingdom's crown prince to announce the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix, which is the inaugural event of the Formula One racing season.

"Bahrain's priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together to remind the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united," said Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa. "At the present time the country's entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain. "I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Bernie Ecclestone for his support and understanding."

The race's cancellation, while probably necessary from a both a political and safety perspective, may hurt Bahrain's economy. The kingdom built the Sakhir race track at a cost of about $200 million and it earns over half a billion dollars in revenue from the race and associated activity.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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