The future for Bahrain is uncertain. However, one certainty amidst the chaos, is that change is Bahrain will remain a mirage so long as the king is bolstered by so much international support. Let's not beat about the bush, the British government is publicly supporting a oppressive and undemocratic government in Bahrain.
Bahrain has become trapped in an endless circuit of protest-clampdown-further protest-further clampdown. The way out was apparently missed by the authorities long ago and instead we've had police officers acquitted of murder and torture charges (or given lenient sentences), and protesters - including children - given very long prison sentences.
I don't think this can be said loudly enough because it should be big news. The UK government has decided to pay compensation to over 5,000 people it tortured and kept in concentration camps in Kenya 60 years ago. It has, however, refused to accept legal responsibility for the crimes committed, or to use the word 'sorry'.
Beneath the royal weddings, Formula One races and other events that bore many normal people (myself included), the Anglo-Bahraini relationship is purely material. Bahrain has at least ten years of oil reserves left, and produces 40,000 barrels a day, representing a serious resource pool for British energy needs.
Like last year and the year before that (when the Bahrain race was cancelled), the imminent arrival of hi-tech racing cars, celebrity drivers, harassed team crews (and doubtless several crates of soon-to-be-wasted Moët) on the tiny island state of Bahrain has now become an annual occasion for examining the country's human rights record. That record, like the famous Formula One finishing flag, is ... well, extremely chequered.