The original February 14 protest movement was moderate, contained Sunni as well as Shia activists, and went out of its way to be non-sectarian. Its slogans included a demand that Bahrain’s powerful prime minister for the last 40 years, Shaikh Khalifa ibn Salman al-Khalifa, to step down and for fair elections. It also wanted equal rights for all including an end to anti-Shia discrimination under which the majority were excluded from the 60,000-strong army, police and security forces. Security jobs went instead to Sunni recruits from Pakistan, Jordan, Syria and other Sunni states who were immediately given Bahraini citizenship.
Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he has written four books on the country’s recent history. He won the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron Prize in 2006 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2009.