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Bahrain: Further instability a risk as Sheikh Qassim’s health fades

The health of leading Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qassim is reportedly fading, prompting renewed concerns about the future direction of political events in the country. Qassim remains under house arrest by the Bahrain authorities, having been held following the banning in 2016 of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the Shia party with which he is aligned.Within Shia ranks there is no obvious successor to Qassim – a senior religious authority having gained ayatollah rank in Qom, Iran in 2001 – who would be able to command such wide-ranging support.

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