Bahrain heating up for uprising?

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ajtr, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Gulf nations send forces to Bahrain


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    A Bahraini nurse (front right) walks with anti-government protesters heading onto the streets to await Saudi forces on Monday in Manama (AP photo)


    MANAMA/WASHINGTON (Agencies) - A military force from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations moved into Bahrain Monday to help restore security after a month of anti-regime protests, the Associated Press reported.

    The force marked the first cross-border military operation to quell unrest since the Arab world's rebellions began in December.

    Bahrain's main opposition groups immediately denounced the outside intervention as an "occupation" that pushed the Gulf kingdom dangerously close to a state of war.

    Bahrain's army urged citizens to fully cooperate with the Gulf troops, according to Agence France-Presse.

    "The Bahrain Defence Force General Command calls on all citizens and residents to cooperate fully and to welcome the GCC Peninsula Shield Force," said a government statement.

    State television aired footage of unmarked military vehicles rolling into Bahrain across a causeway linking the archipelago with neighbouring Saudi Arabia, AFP reported.

    Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the White House does not consider the forces entry into Bahrain an invasion.

    “This is not an invasion of a country,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news briefing on Monday.

    “We urge the government of Bahrain, as we have repeatedly, as well as other GCC countries, to exercise restraint,” Carney added.

    The Shiite protests in Bahrain have ignited fears of a potential foothold for Shiite heavyweight Iran to increase influence in the Gulf region.

    “The Bahrain government asked us yesterday to look at ways to help them to defuse tension in Bahrain,” United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah Ben Zayed Al Nahyan said in Paris.

    He said they sent 500 Emirati police and the Saudis and others also sent forces “to get calm and order in Bahrain,” AP reported.

    The strife in Bahrain escalated dramatically over the weekend just as US Defence Secretary Robert Gates arrived to urge its leaders - key Washington allies - to heed at least some of the demands for change.

    A Saudi security official said the Gulf units dispatched to Bahrain come from a special force within the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

    He did not give details on the size or national breakdown of the force - estimated in some reports at about 1,000 strong - but said they were deployed by air and road and will help protect key buildings in the strategic nation, which hosts the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief media. The GCC members are Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

    The Gulf Daily News, which is close to Bahrain’s rulers, said the outside forces would protect sites such as electricity stations and oil facilities.

    The arrival of the military force comes a day after some of the most widespread chaos in the monthlong series of protests and clashes that have left seven dead and the nation deeply divided.

    On Sunday, protesters blocked the main route to Bahrain’s important financial district and battled pro-government mobs at the main university, which has cancelled classed indefinitely.

    A group of pro-government lawmakers Monday urged Bahrain’s king to impose martial law and claimed “extremist movements” were trying to disrupt the country and push it towards sectarian conflict.

    A coalition of seven Shiite-led opposition factions pledged to demand a UN investigation into the Gulf leaders’ decision to send in the special force for an internal conflict.

    The unit had been deployed in the past to Kuwait, including during the 1991 US-led campaign to drive out Saddam Hussein’s troops and before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    “We consider that any military force or military equipment crossing the boundaries of Bahrain - from air, sea or land - an occupation and a conspiracy against the people of Bahrain,” said a statement from the opposition groups.

    In a series of Twitter messages, Bahrain’s prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa Ben Salman, lashed out at the Shiite-led protesters. “What we are witnessing in Manama is no peaceful protest,” he wrote. “It’s wanton, gangster style takeover of people’s lives.”

    The protesters claim Shiites are being blackballed from key government and security posts. They also strongly object to government policies that they claimed give citizenship and jobs to Sunnis from other Arab countries and South Asia as a way to offset the Shiites’ demographic edge.

    The main opposition groups have called for the Sunni rulers to give up most of their powers to the elected parliament. But, as violence has deepened, many protesters now say they want to topple the entire royal family.
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Saudi Official: Saudi Troops Have Entered Bahrain -AFP
    Text size
    Monday, Mar 14, 2011

    (Adds quote in 3rd, 4th paragraphs, no confirmation from Bahrainis in 5th paragraph, background.)

    DUBAI (AFP)--More than 1,000 Saudi troops, part of the Gulf countries' Peninsula Shield Force, have entered Bahrain, where anti-regime protests have raged for a month, a Saudi official said Monday.

    The troops entered the Gulf kingdom Sunday, the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

    The intervention came "after repeated calls by the [Bahraini] government for dialogue, which went unanswered" by the opposition, the official said.

    According to the regulations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, "any Gulf force entering a member state becomes under the command of the government," the official added.

    The Bahraini government hasn't confirmed the presence of Saudi troops in the archipelago, which is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

    Opposition protesters are demanding democratic reform in the mainly Shiite country that has been ruled by a Sunni Muslim dynasty for more than 200 years.

    The king has offered dialogue and a new, empowered parliament and other reforms but the opposition has refused to sit down to talks until the government resigns.

    Two days ago, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Manama and held talks with the king in which he said he urged them to undertake rapid and significant reform.
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Saudi sends troops, bahrain shi'ites call it "war"


    MANAMA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain on Monday to help calm weeks of protests by the Shi'ite Muslim majority, a move opponents of the Sunni ruling family on the island called a declaration of war.

    Analysts saw the troop movement into Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, as a mark of concern in Saudi Arabia that concessions by the country's monarchy could inspire the conservative Sunni-ruled kingdom's own Shi'ite minority.

    About 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered Bahrain to protect government facilities, a Saudi official source said, a day after mainly Shi'ite protesters overran police and blocked roads.

    "They are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) force that would guard the government installations," the source said, referring to the six-member bloc that coordinates military and economic policy in the world's top oil-exporting region.

    Bahrain said on Monday it had asked the Gulf troops for support in line with a GCC defense pact. The United Arab Emirates has said it would also send 500 police to Bahrain.

    Witnesses saw some 150 light armored troop carriers, ambulances, water tankers and jeeps cross into Bahrain via the 25-km (16-mile) causeway and head toward Riffa, a Sunni area that is home to the royal family and military hospital.

    Bahrain TV later showed footage it said was of advance units of the joint regional Peninsula Shield forces that had arrived in Bahrain "due to the unfortunate events that are shaking the security of the kingdom and terrorizing citizens and residents."

    It later said a second wave of forces had arrived.

    Analysts say the largest contingent in a GCC force would come from Saudi Arabia, worried about spillover to Shi'ites in its own Eastern Province, the center of its oil industry.

    Bahraini opposition groups including the largest Shi'ite party Wefaq said the move was an attack on defenseless citizens.

    "We consider the entry of any soldier or military machinery into the Kingdom of Bahrain's air, sea or land territories a blatant occupation," they said in a statement.

    "This real threat about the entry of Saudi and other Gulf forces into Bahrain to confront the defenseless Bahraini people puts the Bahraini people in real danger and threatens them with an undeclared war by armed troops."

    The White House said the United States did not consider the arrival of Saudi security forces to constitution and invasion. It urged the Bahrain government, however, to exercise restraint in upholding order.

    The arrival of the Saudi forces came after mostly Shi'ite demonstrators overwhelmed Bahraini police on Sunday and blocked the highway to the main financial district in the most violent confrontations since troops killed seven protesters last month.

    Those barricades were still up on Monday, with protesters checking cars at the entrance to the Pearl roundabout, the focal point of weeks of protests. On the other side of the same highway, police set up a roadblock preventing any cars moving from the airport toward the financial area.

    In areas across Bahrain, vigilantes, some armed with sticks or wearing masks, guarded the entrances to their villages. Sectarian clashes broke out in Madinat Issa, witnesses said.

    "We will never leave. This is our country," said Abdullah, a protester, when asked if Saudi troops would stop them. "Why should we be afraid? We are not afraid in our country."

    SECTARIAN CONFLICT

    Bahrain has been gripped by its worst unrest since the 1990s after protesters took to the streets last month, inspired by uprisings that toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia.

    Thousands are still camped out at the Pearl roundabout, having returned since the army cleared out the area last month.

    Washington has urged Bahrain to use restraint and repeated the call to other Gulf nations on Monday.

    "We urge our GCC partners to show restraint and respect the rights of the people of Bahrain, and to act in a way that supports dialogue," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

    The cost of insuring Bahraini sovereign debt against default rose on Monday, nearing 20-month highs after Saudi intervention.

    Any intervention by Gulf Arab troops in Bahrain is highly sensitive on the island, where the Shi'ite Muslim majority complains of discrimination by the Sunni Muslim royal family.

    Most Gulf Arab ruling families are Sunni and intervention might encourage a response from non-Arab Iran, the main Shi'ite power in the region. Accusations already abound of Iranian backing for Shi'ite activists in Bahrain -- charges they deny.

    "The Bahraini unrest could potentially turn into regional sectarian violence that goes beyond the borders of the particular states concerned," said Ghanem Nuseibeh, partner at consultancy Cornerstone Global.

    Iran urged Bahrain not to allow foreign interference and urged the government not to use force against protesters.

    "Using other countries' military forces to oppress these demands is not the solution," Foreign Ministry official Hossein Amir Abdollahian told the semi-official Fars news agency.

    In a sign that the opposition and the royals may find an 11th-hour solution, the opposition groups said they had met the crown prince to discuss the mechanism for national dialogue.

    Crown Prince Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa offered assurances on Sunday that talks would address key opposition demands including parliamentary, electoral and government reforms.

    Even if talks are successful however, the opposition is increasingly split and hardline groups may keep up protests.

    Wefaq is calling for a new government and a constitutional monarchy that vests the judicial, executive and legislative authority with the people. A coalition of much smaller Shi'ite parties are calling for the overthrow of the monarchy -- demands that scare Sunnis who fear this would benefit Iran.

    (Additional reporting by Ulf Laessing in Riyadh)
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Here is a catch ----Bahrain's sunni monarch has asked for intervention of sunni GCC troops.Now will iran send its troops to protect bahrain's shia protesters?Its time that GOI start pulling out indian Expats working in bahrain.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Geopolitical analysis: Bahrain and the battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia


    INTERNATIONAL. The world’s attention is focused on Libya, which is now in a state of civil war with the winner far from clear. While crucial for the Libyan people and of some significance to the world’s oil markets, in our view, Libya is not the most important event in the Arab world at the moment.

    The demonstrations in Bahrain are, in my view, far more significant in their implications for the region and potentially for the world. To understand this, we must place it in a strategic context.

    As STRATFOR has been saying for quite a while, a decisive moment is approaching, with the United States currently slated to withdraw the last of its forces from Iraq by the end of the year. Indeed, we are already at a point where the composition of the 50,000 troops remaining in Iraq has shifted from combat troops to training and support personnel.

    As it stands now, even these will all be gone by Dec. 31, 2011, provided the United States does not negotiate an extended stay. Iraq still does not have a stable government. It also does not have a military and security apparatus able to enforce the will of the government (which is hardly of one mind on anything) on the country, much less defend the country from outside forces.

    Filling the Vacuum in Iraq
    The decision to withdraw creates a vacuum in Iraq, and the question of the wisdom of the original invasion is at this point moot. The Iranians previously have made clear that they intend to fill this vacuum with their own influence; doing so makes perfect sense from their point of view. Iran and Iraq fought a long and brutal war in the 1980s. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Iran is now secure on all fronts save the western.

    Tehran’s primary national security imperative now is to prevent a strong government from emerging in Baghdad, and more important, a significant military force from emerging there. Iran never wants to fight another war with Iraq, making keeping Iraq permanently weak and fragmented in Tehran’s interest. The U.S. withdrawal from Iraq sets the stage for Iran to pursue this goal, profoundly changing the regional dynamic.

    Iran has another, more challenging strategic interest, one it has had since Biblical times. That goal is to be the dominant power in the Persian Gulf.

    For Tehran, this is both reasonable and attainable. Iran has the largest and most ideologically committed military of any state in the Persian Gulf region. Despite the apparent technological sophistication of the Gulf states’ militaries, they are shells. Iran’s is not. In addition to being the leading military force in the Persian Gulf, Iran has 75 million people, giving it a larger population than all other Persian Gulf states combined.

    Outside powers have prevented Iran from dominating the region since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, first the United Kingdom and then the United States, which consistently have supported the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. It was in the outsiders’ interests to maintain a divided region, and therefore in their interests to block the most powerful country in the region from dominating even when the outsiders were allied with Iran.

    With the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, this strategy is being abandoned in the sense that the force needed to contain Iran is being withdrawn. The forces left in Kuwait and U.S air power might be able to limit a conventional Iranian attack. Still, the U.S. withdrawal leaves the Iranians with the most powerful military force in the region regardless of whether they acquire nuclear weapons.

    Indeed, in my view, the nuclear issue largely has been an Iranian diversion from the more fundamental issue, namely, the regional balance after the departure of the United States. By focusing on the nuclear issue, these other issues appeared subsidiary and have been largely ignored.

    The U.S. withdrawal does not mean that the United States is powerless against Iran. It has been reconstituting a pre-positioned heavy brigade combat team set in Kuwait and has substantial air and naval assets in the region. It also can bring more forces back to the region if Iran is aggressive. But it takes at least several months for the United States to bring multidivisional forces into a theater and requires the kind of political will that will be severely lacking in the United States in the years ahead. It is not clear that the forces available on the ground could stop a determined Iranian thrust. In any case, Iraq will be free of American troops, allowing Iran to operate much more freely there.

    And Iran does not need to change the balance of power in the region through the overt exercise of military force. Its covert capability, unchecked by American force, is significant. It can covertly support pro-Iranian forces in the region, destabilizing existing regimes. With the psychology of the Arab masses changing, as they are no longer afraid to challenge their rulers, Iran will enjoy an enhanced capacity to cause instability.

    As important, the U.S. withdrawal will cause a profound shift in psychological perceptions of power in the region. Recognition of Iran’s relative power based on ground realities will force a very different political perception of Iran, and a desire to accommodate Tehran. The Iranians, who understand the weakness of their military’s logistics and air power, are pursuing a strategy of indirect approach. They are laying the foundation for power based on a perception of greater Iranian power and declining American and Saudi power.

    Bahrain, the Test Case
    Bahrain is the perfect example and test case. An island off the coast of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are linked by a causeway. For most purposes, Bahrain is part of Saudi Arabia. Unlike Saudi Arabia, it is not a major oil producer, but it is a banking center. It is also the home of the U.S. 5th Fleet, and has close ties to the United States. The majority of its population is Shia, but its government is Sunni and heavily linked to Saudi Arabia. The Shiite population has not fared as well economically as Shia in other countries in the region, and tensions between the government and the public have long existed.

    The toppling of the government of Bahrain by a Shiite movement would potentially embolden Shia in Saudi Arabia, who live primarily in the oil-rich northeast near Bahrain. It also would weaken the U.S. military posture in the region. And it would demonstrate Iranian power.

    If the Saudis intervened in Bahrain, the Iranians would have grounds to justify their own intervention, covert or overt. Iran might also use any violent Bahraini government suppression of demonstrators to justify more open intervention. In the meantime, the United States, which has about 1,500 military personnel plus embassy staff on the ground in Bahrain, would face the choice of reinforcing or pulling its troops out.

    Certainly, there are internal processes under way in Bahrain that have nothing to do with Iran or foreign issues. But just as the internal dynamic of revolutions affects the international scene, the international scene affects the internal dynamic; observing just one of the two is not sufficient to understand what is going on.

    The Iranians clearly have an interest in overthrowing the Bahraini regime. While the degree to which the Iranians are involved in the Bahraini unrest is unclear, they clearly have a great deal of influence over a cleric, Hassan Mushaima, who recently returned to Bahrain from London to participate in the protests. That said, the Bahraini government itself could be using the unrest to achieve its own political goals, much as the Egyptian military used the Egyptian uprising. Like all revolutions, events in Bahrain are enormously complex — and in Bahrain’s case, the stakes are extremely high.

    Unlike Libya, where the effects are primarily internal, the events in Bahrain clearly involve Saudi, Iranian and U.S. interests. Bahrain is also the point where the Iranians have their best chance, since it is both the most heavily Shiite nation and one where the Shiites have the most grievances. But the Iranians have other targets, which might be defined as any area adjoining Saudi Arabia with a substantial Shiite population and with American bases.

    This would include Oman, which the United States uses as a support facility; Qatar, headquarters of U.S. Central Command and home to Al Udeid Air Base; and Kuwait, the key logistical hub for Iraqi operations and with major army support, storage and port facilities. All three have experienced or are experiencing demonstrations. Logically, these are Iran’s first targets.

    The largest target of all is, of course, Saudi Arabia. That is the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, and its destabilization would change the regional balance of power and the way the world works. Iran has never made a secret of its animosity toward Saudi Arabia, nor vice versa. Saudi Arabia could now be in a vise. There is massive instability in Yemen with potential to spill over into Saudi Arabia’s southern Ismaili-concentrated areas.

    The situation in Iraq is moving in the Iranians’ favor. Successful regime changes in even one or two of the countries on the littoral of the Persian Gulf could generate massive internal fears regardless of what the Saudi Shia did and could lead to dissension in the royal family. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Saudis are moving aggressively against any sign of unrest among the Shia, arresting dozens who have indicated dissent. The Saudis clearly are uneasy in the extreme.

    Iran’s Powerful Position
    The Iranians would be delighted to cause regime change throughout the region, but that is not likely to occur, at least not everywhere in the region. They would be equally happy simply to cause massive instability in the region, however. With the United States withdrawing from Iraq, the Saudis represent the major supporter of Iraq’s Sunnis. With the Saudis diverted, this would ease the way for Iranian influence in Iraq.

    At that point, there would be three options: Turkey intervening broadly, something it is not eager to do; the United States reversing course and surging troops into the region to support tottering regimes, something for which there is no political appetite in the United States; and the United States accepting the changed regional balance of power.

    Two processes are under way. The first is that Iran will be the single outside power with the most influence in Iraq, not unlimited and not unchallenged, but certainly the greatest. The second is that as the United States withdraws, Iran will be in a position to pursue its interests more decisively. Those interests divide into three parts:

    1. eliminating foreign powers from the region to maximize Iranian power,
    2. convincing Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region that they must reach an accommodation with Iran or face potentially dangerous consequences, and
    3. a redefinition of the economics of oil in the Persian Gulf in favor of Iran, including Iranian participation in oil projects in other Persian Gulf countries and regional investment in Iranian energy development.

    The events in the Persian Gulf are quite different from the events in North Africa, with much broader implications. Bahrain is the focal point of a struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran for control of the western littoral of the Persian Gulf. If Iran is unable to capitalize on events in Bahrain, the place most favorable to it, the moment will pass. If Bahrain’s government falls, the door is opened to further actions. Whether Iran caused the rising in the first place is unclear and unimportant; it is certainly involved now, as are the Saudis.

    The Iranians are in a powerful position whatever happens given the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Combine this with a series of regime changes, or simply destabilization on the border of Saudi Arabia, and two things happen. First, the Saudi regime would be in trouble and would have to negotiate some agreement with the Iranians — and not an agreement the Saudis would like. Second, the U.S. basing position in the Persian Gulf would massively destabilize, making U.S. intervention in the region even more difficult.

    The problem created by the U.S. leaving Iraq without having been able to install a strong, pro-American government remains the core issue. The instability in the Persian Gulf allows the Iranians a low-risk, high-reward parallel strategy that, if it works, could unhinge the balance of power in the entire region.

    The threat of an uprising in Iran appears minimal, with the Iranian government having no real difficulty crushing resistance. The resistance on the western shore of the Persian Gulf may be crushed or dissolved as well, in which case Iran would still retain its advantageous position in Iraq.

    But if the perfect storm presents itself, with Iran increasing its influence in Iraq and massive destabilization on the Arabian Peninsula, then the United States will face some extraordinarily difficult and dangerous choices, beginning with the question of how to resist Iran while keeping the price of oil manageable.
     
  7. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Saudi troops enter Bahrain to crush protests

    Saudi troops enter Bahrain to crush protests

    Ethan Bronner, NYT News Service | Mar 15, 2011; Times of India

    CAIRO: Troops crossed from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain on Monday to help quell protests that sealed off the capital's financial sector there, a move Bahraini opposition groups denounced as an "occupation," while pro-government legislators urged the king to impose martial law.

    An unnamed Saudi official told news agency AFP that military vehicles carrying more than 1,000 Saudi troops had crossed the bridge linking Saudi Arabia to the tiny island kingdom. His account was corroborated by witnesses in Bahrain, who said they saw more than 100 trucks crossing the bridge, but there was still no official confirmation from the Bahraini government.

    A military-run clampdown would risk further polarizing the strategic island kingdom — home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet — and send a chill through the many international banking and financial companies that use Bahrain as their Gulf hub.

    Associated Press reported that a Saudi security official said the troops came from a special unit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and that they were there to protect critical buildings and installation such as oil facilities.

    The opposition statement said it considered the arrival of any soldier or military vehicle "an overt occupation of the kingdom of Bahrain and a conspiracy against the unarmed people of Bahrain".

    The pro-government lawmakers, called the Independent Bloc, asked the government to enforce martial law for three months to insure public safety and national stability threatened by what it called "extremist" elements, the state-supported Bahrain News Agency reported.

    Anti-government protesters remained in the streets of Manama, the capital, on Monday, a day after thousands clashed with security forces in the worst day of confrontation since demonstrations began a month ago. The protests are part of the regional turmoil against autocracy but are fed in Bahrain by tensions between the majority Shiite population and the Sunni royal family and elite.

    The demonstrators on Sunday effectively shut down the roads leading to the capital's financial sector and held rallies at the main campus of the university as well. It was the most serious challenge to the royal family since the beginning of the protests, which have caused deep concern in Saudi Arabia, which has a restive Shiite minority in its eastern, oil-producing region.

    Witnesses said the police used tear gas and fired on the protesters with rubber bullets.

    "This was a very, very big day," Mohammad al-Maskati, president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, said by telephone from Pearl Square, the epicentre of protests in central Manama. "Now the protesters control these streets. There are walls of rubble keeping out the police and armed groups. People say they will not sleep tonight."

    The latest protests occurred a day after US defence secretary Robert Gates stopped in Bahrain and warned the Khalifa family, which has ruled Bahrain for two centuries, that it must go beyond the "baby steps" of reform to meet the economic and political demands sweeping much of the Arab world. Gates said he told the king and crown prince that change "could be led or it could be imposed".

    At the same time, Bahrain's leadership is under intense pressure from other Gulf neighbours, particularly powerful Saudi Arabia, not to give ground.

    "We want a new constitution, fair and free elections and a government elected directly by the people," Mohammad Mattar, an engineer and member of Bahrain's Waad pro-reform movement, said by telephone. "These are not sectarian demands, but political ones. We want a constitutional monarchy, a clear relationship between the ruling family and society. But the security forces are trying to create a sectarian divide."

    Bahrain's crown prince, Sheik Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, meanwhile, renewed a call for national dialogue on Sunday, promising that the talks would address proposals to increase the power of Parliament, Reuters reported. "We have worked actively to establish contacts to learn the views of various sides," he said in a statement that was read on Bahrain TV, "which shows our commitment to a comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue."

    Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...ain-to-crush-protests/articleshow/7706574.cms
     
  8. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Saudi soldiers sent into Bahrain

    Saudi soldiers sent into Bahrain

    Last Modified: 15 Mar 2011 01:17 GMT
    Al-Jazeera


    Saudi troops and police from UAE deployed to Gulf neighbour to help protect government facilities after weeks of unrest.

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    Television footage showed Saudi troops entering Bahrain in armoured vehicles [REUTERS]

    Hundreds of Saudi troops have entered Bahrain to help protect government facilities there amid escalating protests against the government.

    Bahrain television on Monday broadcast images of troops in armoured cars entering the Gulf state via the 26km causeway that connects the kingdom to Saudi Arabia.

    The arrival of the troops follows a request to members of the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) from Bahrain, whose Sunni rulers have faced weeks of protests and growing pressure from a majority Shia population to institute political reforms.

    The United Arab Emirates has also sent about 500 police to Bahrain, according to Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Emirati foreign minister.

    The US, which counts both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia among its allies, has called for restraint, but has refrained from saying whether it supports the move to deploy troops.

    "We urge our GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) partners to show restraint and respect the rights of the people of Bahrain, and to act in a way that supports dialogue instead of undermining it," Tommy Vietor, the White House spokesman, said.

    Iran, meanwhile, has warned against "foreign interferences".

    "The peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain are among the domestic issues of this country, and creating an atmosphere of fear and using other countries' military forces to oppress these demands is not the solution," Hossein Amir Abdollahian, an official from the Iranian foriegn ministry, was reported by Iran's semi-official Fars news agency as saying.

    'Solidarity move'

    Abdel al-Mowada, the deputy chairman of Bahrain's parliament, told Al Jazeera that it was not clear how the Saudi force would be deployed but denied the troops would become a provocation to protesters.

    "It is not a lack of security forces in Bahrain, it is a showing of solidarity among the GCC," he told Al Jazeera.

    "I don't know if they are going to be in the streets or save certain areas ... [but protesters] blocking the roads are no good for anyone, we should talk.

    "The government is willing to get together and make the changes needed, but when the situation is like this, you cannot talk."

    The Saudi troops arrived less than 24 hours after Bahraini police clashed with demonstrators in one of the most violent confrontations since troops killed seven protesters last month.

    Opposition groups, including Wefaq, the country's largest Shia movement, have spoken out against the use of foreign troops.

    "We consider the entry of any soldier or military machinery into the Kingdom of Bahrain's air, sea or land territories a blatant occupation," Wefaq said in a statement.

    'Urgent distress call'

    Speaking to Al Jazeera from Bahrain, Matar Ebrahim Matar, an opposition MP, said: "These are not security forces, they are military forces. There is a big difference between the two.

    "The fact is, they are coming with those military forces to face unarmed people in Bahrain, and that is the reason Bahrainis are sending an urgent distress call to the UN through their political parties.

    "The political parties are supporting the dialogue, and they are waiting for initiatives from Crown Prince Salman [bin Hamad Al-Khalifa]. But the government has not provided any proposal. Until now all the terms set by the royal family are vague."

    Nabeel Rajab, from the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera that the Saudi troops would be opposed by the protesters.

    "This is an internal issue and we will consider it as an occupation," he said. "This step is not welcomed by Bahrainis. This move is not acceptable at all. It is a repressive regime supported by another repressive regime."

    Already, as reports circulated about the Saudi force's arrival, hundreds of protesters had gathered behind makeshift checkpoints around the Pearl Roundabout, the scene of much of the protest in Bahrain.

    Nevertheless, in a sign that the opposition and Bahrain's royal family could still find a solution, the opposition groups said they had met the crown prince to discuss the mechanism for national dialogue.

    Salman offered assurances on Sunday that dialogue would address key opposition demands, including giving parliament more power and reforming government and electoral districts.

    Qatari PM's remarks

    Speaking to Al Jazeera about Monday's Gulf troop deployment, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, the Qatari prime minister and foreign minister, said: "There are common responsibilities and obligations within the GCC countries.

    "The arrival of Saudi and UAE troops in Bahrain is in line with a GCC defence agreement that calls for all members to oblige when needed and to fully co-operate."

    He did not rule out the possibility of a Qatari presence, saying: "To be honest, we always have had Qatari peacekeeping troops. We have troops in Eritrea [in east Africa] to keep the peace between that country and Djibouti.

    "We are committed to adhering to the GCC agreement. At the moment we have peacekeeping troops. We don't have a full force there, but this is up for discussion.

    "What I want to say is that the situation is Bahrain is very sensitive and we wish that peace will prevail in the streets of Bahrain. I think that the call from the next-in-line to the throne in Bahrain for dialogue is a sincere call, and should be regarded seriously by all sections."

    Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said "if we want the talks and dialogue to succeed, then we need to calm the situation in the streets. This can be achieved by the withdrawal of everybody from the streets."

    Referring to the Bahraini Shia parties' opposition to the military intervention, he said: "As I said, dialogue is the only way to solve everything, and this cannot be achieved under the tense circumstances. Therefore I advise the protesters to retreat. This is a genuine invitation that will lead to a serious dialogue that will lead to concrete results in Bahrain."

    Source: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011314124928850647.html
     
  9. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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  10. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Gulf states send forces to Bahrain following protests

    Gulf states send forces to Bahrain following protests

    14 March 2011; BBC News

    Video: Caroline Hawley says troops have been called in to protect key institutions

    Troops from a number of Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have arrived in Bahrain at the request of the kingdom, officials say.

    It comes a day after the worst violence since seven anti-government protesters were killed in clashes with security forces last month.

    Dozens of people were injured on Sunday as protesters pushed back police and barricaded roads.

    Bahrain's opposition said the foreign forces amounted to an occupation.

    But the kingdom's authorities urged the population to "co-operate fully and to welcome" the troops, the AFP news agency reports.

    'Answering request'

    A Saudi official said about 1,000 Saudi Arabian troops arrived in Bahrain early on Monday, and later the UAE said it had sent some 500 police officers.

    Witnesses told the Reuters news agency that about 150 Saudi Arabian armoured troop carriers plus other vehicles entered Bahrain on the causeway that links the two kingdoms.

    The Saudi government said in a statement that it "has answered a request by Bahrain for support", according to the Saudi Spa state-run news agency.

    The troops are part of a deployment by the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), a six-nation regional grouping which includes Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

    It is believed they are intended to guard key facilities such as oil and gas installations and financial institutions.

    Travel warning

    The US said it was aware of the deployment.

    White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said: "We urge our GCC partners to show restraint and respect the rights of the people of Bahrain, and to act in a way that supports dialogue instead of undermining it."

    The US Navy bases its Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.

    Video: There were clashes between police and protesters in Manama on Sunday

    The British and Australian governments have warned against all travel to the kingdom.

    Bahrain's Shia majority has long complained of discrimination at the hands of the Sunni ruling elite, but large-scale protests broke out last month after the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia were toppled in uprisings.

    No dialogue

    On Monday, protesters continued their occupation of Pearl Square, near Manama's financial district, and set up roadblocks around the area.

    In a statement issued before the arrival of the GCC troops was confirmed, the Shia-led opposition said: "We consider the arrival of any soldier, or military vehicle, into Bahraini territory... an overt occupation of the kingdom of Bahrain and a conspiracy against the unarmed people of Bahrain."

    King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifah has offered dialogue with the protesters, but they have refused, saying they want the government to step down.

    Most of the opposition and protesters have said they do not want to overthrow the monarchy, but want the ruling family to give up most of its powers to the elected parliament.

    Some, however, have said they want a republic.

    The intervention from Bahrain's predominantly Sunni neighbours may deepen the rift between Shia and Sunni Muslims in Bahrain and beyond, says the BBC's Middle East analyst Magdi Abdelhadi.

    Saudi Arabia, which has problems with its own Shia minority, has already clamped down on Shia democracy activists, our analyst says.

    Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12729786
     
  11. Tronic

    Tronic Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    4 Pakistanis killed in clashes​


    LAHORE – Four Pakistanis were murdered while more than 250 had been injured while thousands others are trapped in Manama, the Capital of Bahrain, during violent anti-govt clashes in the small Kingdom, forcing the authorities to call in troops from the neighbouring States to maintain peace. Some Pakistani nationals who are among those trapped in the anti-government uprising contacted The Nation on Monday by phone and told the horrific tales, happening across the Gulf state.
    So far, they said, four Pakistani nationals who were residing in the Kingdom as workers have been found killed as protesters went on the rampage, triggering further violent clashes between the protesters and the government forces.
    They said that thousands of Pakistanis working there have been trapped in the worst violence erupted in Manama on Sunday.
    Two persons belonging to Mandi Bahauddin, one from Multan and one from Peshawar were killed and the security forces shifted their bodies after 24 hours, they added.
    ‘We are living here in constant state of danger and cannot go out even to bring food to eat’.
    They said the protestors were killing Pakistanis after determining their nationality:
    ‘They hate us because thousands of Pakistanis are working in Bahrain security police and they think us a part of them’
    .
    The callers said that the incidents took place in Goal City Market and Al-Mutlabi Road.
    They told that the worst clashes have started on Sunday in the Central Square and university area of Manama, but ‘we are not secure in any area of Manama’.
    The Pakistanis complained that the Pakistani Embassy in Bahrain was not cooperating with them.
    However, one of them said that an official of the Embassy consoled him and ensured him for cooperation when he phoned the Embassy.
    Meanwhile, an official of the Embassy when contacted via phone by this scribe refused to give any information about the situation.
    Wajahat by name, he advised the writer to contact the Foreign Office regarding any detail. He also not confirmed the death toll.
    When he was told that the Embassy could give information properly and it was the right place to contact, he dropped the call and has not attended the phone after various efforts.
    It was worth mentioning here that between 50,000 to 60,000 Pakistanis are working in various cities and towns of the small Gulf Kingdom.

    http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-...cs/15-Mar-2011/4-Pakistanis-killed-in-clashes
     
  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Saudi sends troops, Bahrain Shi'ites call it "war"

    Saudi sends troops, Bahrain Shi'ites call it "war"

    By Lin Noueihed and Frederik Richter
    MANAMA | Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:23pm EDT
    Reuters


    (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain on Monday to help calm weeks of protests by the Shi'ite Muslim majority, a move opponents of the Sunni ruling family on the island called a declaration of war.

    Analysts saw the troop movement into Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, as a mark of concern in Saudi Arabia that concessions by the country's monarchy could inspire the conservative Sunni-ruled kingdom's own Shi'ite minority.

    About 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered Bahrain to protect government facilities, a Saudi official source said, a day after mainly Shi'ite protesters overran police and blocked roads.

    "They are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) force that would guard the government installations," the source said, referring to the six-member bloc that coordinates military and economic policy in the world's top oil-exporting region.

    Bahrain said on Monday it had asked the Gulf troops for support in line with a GCC defense pact. The United Arab Emirates has said it would also send 500 police to Bahrain.

    Witnesses saw some 150 light armored troop carriers, ambulances, water tankers and jeeps cross into Bahrain via the 25-km (16-mile) causeway and head toward Riffa, a Sunni area that is home to the royal family and military hospital.

    Bahrain TV later showed footage it said was of advance units of the joint regional Peninsula Shield forces that had arrived in Bahrain "due to the unfortunate events that are shaking the security of the kingdom and terrorizing citizens and residents."

    It later said a second wave of forces had arrived.

    Analysts say the largest contingent in a GCC force would come from Saudi Arabia, worried about spillover to Shi'ites in its own Eastern Province, the center of its oil industry.

    Bahraini opposition groups including the largest Shi'ite party Wefaq said the move was an attack on defenseless citizens.

    "We consider the entry of any soldier or military machinery into the Kingdom of Bahrain's air, sea or land territories a blatant occupation," they said in a statement.

    "This real threat about the entry of Saudi and other Gulf forces into Bahrain to confront the defenseless Bahraini people puts the Bahraini people in real danger and threatens them with an undeclared war by armed troops."

    The White House said the United States did not consider the arrival of Saudi security forces to constitution and invasion. It urged the Bahrain government, however, to exercise restraint in upholding order.

    The arrival of the Saudi forces came after mostly Shi'ite demonstrators overwhelmed Bahraini police on Sunday and blocked the highway to the main financial district in the most violent confrontations since troops killed seven protesters last month.

    Those barricades were still up on Monday, with protesters checking cars at the entrance to the Pearl roundabout, the focal point of weeks of protests. On the other side of the same highway, police set up a roadblock preventing any cars moving from the airport toward the financial area.

    In areas across Bahrain, vigilantes, some armed with sticks or wearing masks, guarded the entrances to their villages. Sectarian clashes broke out in Madinat Issa, witnesses said.

    "We will never leave. This is our country," said Abdullah, a protester, when asked if Saudi troops would stop them. "Why should we be afraid? We are not afraid in our country."

    SECTARIAN CONFLICT

    Bahrain has been gripped by its worst unrest since the 1990s after protesters took to the streets last month, inspired by uprisings that toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia.

    Thousands are still camped out at the Pearl roundabout, having returned since the army cleared out the area last month.

    Washington has urged Bahrain to use restraint and repeated the call to other Gulf nations on Monday.

    "We urge our GCC partners to show restraint and respect the rights of the people of Bahrain, and to act in a way that supports dialogue," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

    The cost of insuring Bahraini sovereign debt against default rose on Monday, nearing 20-month highs after Saudi intervention.

    Any intervention by Gulf Arab troops in Bahrain is highly sensitive on the island, where the Shi'ite Muslim majority complains of discrimination by the Sunni Muslim royal family.

    Most Gulf Arab ruling families are Sunni and intervention might encourage a response from non-Arab Iran, the main Shi'ite power in the region. Accusations already abound of Iranian backing for Shi'ite activists in Bahrain -- charges they deny.

    "The Bahraini unrest could potentially turn into regional sectarian violence that goes beyond the borders of the particular states concerned," said Ghanem Nuseibeh, partner at consultancy Cornerstone Global.

    Iran urged Bahrain not to allow foreign interference and urged the government not to use force against protesters.

    "Using other countries' military forces to oppress these demands is not the solution," Foreign Ministry official Hossein Amir Abdollahian told the semi-official Fars news agency.

    In a sign that the opposition and the royals may find an 11th-hour solution, the opposition groups said they had met the crown prince to discuss the mechanism for national dialogue.

    Crown Prince Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa offered assurances on Sunday that talks would address key opposition demands including parliamentary, electoral and government reforms.

    Even if talks are successful however, the opposition is increasingly split and hardline groups may keep up protests.

    Wefaq is calling for a new government and a constitutional monarchy that vests the judicial, executive and legislative authority with the people. A coalition of much smaller Shi'ite parties are calling for the overthrow of the monarchy -- demands that scare Sunnis who fear this would benefit Iran.

    (Additional reporting by Ulf Laessing in Riyadh)

    (Editing by Ralph Boulton)

    Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/15/us-bahrain-protests-forces-idUSLDE72D0KH20110315
     
  13. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Bahrain protesters hit by tear gas

    Bahrain protesters hit by tear gas

     
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  14. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Saudi Arabia Sends Troops Across Border in Effort to Quell Bahrain Protests

    Saudi Arabia Sends Troops Across Border in Effort to Quell Bahrain Protests

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  15. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Saudi certainly is worried that its people may follow suit if Bahrain monarchy lose ground. The US won't let such "friendly" autocracies down.

     
  16. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    The great Bahraini massacre by the criminal coward joint forces of Saudi & Bahrain

    The great Bahraini massacre by the criminal coward joint forces of Saudi & Bahrain

    WARNING: This video has disturbing images. Viewer discretion advised. Signing in required to view this video.



    Disclaimer: The title of the post does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the poster.
     
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  17. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I agree. It is a similar situation like Iraq. Majority Shias ruled by minority Sunnis propped up by US. Sooner or later, this would have happened. Another marvelous example of US foreign policy. Surprisingly, they have the temerity to lecture the rest of the world on democracy.
     
  18. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    The Bharaini Government Did This!!!!

    The Bharaini Government Did This!!!!



    Disclaimer: The title of the post does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the poster.
     
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  19. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Iran objects to foreign troops in Bahrain


    (Reuters) - Iran called the arrival of Saudi troops in Bahrain unacceptable on Tuesday and urged the island kingdom to respond to pro-democracy demonstrators peacefully and without foreign intervention.

    About 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered Bahrain on Monday to protect government facilities, a Saudi official source said, as part of an effort by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to help the government cope with protests.

    "The presence of foreign forces and interference in Bahrain's internal affairs is unacceptable and will further complicate the issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly news conference.

    The arrival of the Saudi forces came after mostly Shi'ite demonstrators overwhelmed Bahraini police on Sunday and blocked the highway to the main financial district in the most violent confrontations since troops killed seven protesters last month.

    Most Gulf Arab ruling families are Sunni and non-Arab Iran is the main Shi'ite power in the region. Accusations abound of Iranian backing for activists among the Shi'ite majority in Bahrain, a charge Tehran has denied.

    Iran, which is facing down opposition protests at home, has welcomed uprisings across the Arab Middle East as an "Islamic awakening" against despotic rulers.

    "People have some legitimate demands and they are expressing them peacefully. It should not be responded to violently ... and we expect their demands be fulfilled through correct means," Mehmanparast said on the situation in Bahrain.

    Bahrain's Shi'ites have complained of discrimination by the Sunni ruling family.
     
  20. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks for the post Ajtr. If I were you, I'd have highlighted the quoted sentence above.
     
  21. Phenom

    Phenom Regular Member

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    Obama's handling of this has been pretty awful. He managed to dislodge friendly regimes in Egypt and Tunisia then He failed to dislodge a hostile regime in Libya. Now Sunni minority is using force to suppress the Shia majority and the USG is doing nothing.

    Anyway the whole situation in Bahrain kinda reminds me of medieval India, where Indian Kings would call on Afgan help to suppress majority rebellion.
     

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