One Month Later: Protests in Bahrain Resume and Intensify


Mar 15 2011

One Month Later: Protests in Bahrain Resume and Intensify

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Approximately 2000 foreign troops from Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. arrived into Manama, Bahrain via the causeway linking Saudi to Bahrain. The majority of these troops were Saudi, the actual initiative being a Saudi venture. The Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, sent the troops after a plea from Bahrain. Saudi Arabia does not want a Shiite rebellion to leak out into its Eastern Province, where most of its oil production and refining takes place, so a show of force is exactly what they want. The troops were called to do two things. They are to firstly stop the blockade of the financial district and get people back to work so as to prevent further slumping in an economy. Bahrain relies on petroleum production and refining, which means that any blockage of that industry will cause a countrywide dilemma. Bringing the second obligation of the foreign troops to protect these industries and also government buildings and operations.

Some worry that the US’s relationship with Saudi may be at a crossroads. The US did not condone the arrival of foreign troops into Bahrain, but they also did not depose it. The US has simply, and emphatically, called upon open political discussion between the Shiites and the ruling Sunni monarchy. Hard liners want a reformation for elected government, whereas the median of the protesters simply want a constitutional monarchy.  The US is worried about Shiite Iran meddling with affairs in the region, as is Saudi Arabia. If Saudi was to fall due to an exponential spread in the sectarian conflict Iran would make the most of the situation to the detriment of US foreign policy in the region. Saudi Arabia is the US’s biggest ally in the region, and a regime change would be deemed unacceptable to US interests in the region.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/15/us-bahrain-protests-forces-idUSLDE72D0KH20110315?pageNumber=2

http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/world/middleeast/15saudi.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&src=ig

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