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THE SAUDI BAHRAINI MOVE

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Just three weeks ago, in mid 02/2011, USA still referred to the Shiite protesters in Bahrain as a peaceful democratic movement putting pressure on the Bahraini King Hamad Bin-Khalifa not to use any military power or harsh methods against what many saw as a pro-Iranian Shiaa uprising (see – BahraIn 2011 Crisis). Since then USA entered a bitter confrontation with Saudi Arabia over the real meaning of the “democratic” unrests not only for Saudi Arabia but for the stability of the region, the Iranian grip on Arabian oil and economic growth of the Western Democracies. Unlike Egypt Saudi Arabia is not dependent on America but the opposite, USA is dependent much more on Saudi Arabia. Under Saudi pressure USA, once again, changed its priorities in the Middle East. Now USA is no longer advocating revolutions as the short way to democracy but graduate “reforms” undefined by time or by direction.

On Friday 03/11/2011 Saudi Arabia managed to contain successfully civilian unrest in the East of the country, considered initially by USA as peaceful demonstrations for more freedom and human rights and by Saudis as a Shiaa attempt, encouraged by Iran, to gain more control on the oil fields of the Gulf.

Now Saudi Arabia is pushing on to remove the Shiites away from any grip on the Arab Gulf Emirates, from the oil fields and from a position they can threat the ruling Sunni families in the Gulf. On Monday 03/14/2011 a Saudi brigade of about 3,500 soldiers with tanks and armored vehicles entered Bahrain via the 26km causeway that connects the kingdom to Saudi Arabia, allegedly to protect “sensitive facilities” and practically to save King Hamad Bin-Khalifa domination. The Saudi forces were followed by small Kuwaiti units and The United Arab Emirates has also sent about 500 police to Bahrain, according to Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Emirati foreign minister, in order to show unity and common concern. Iran, of course, warned against “foreign interferences”. Opposition groups, including Wefaq, the Bahraini largest Shiaa movement, said “We consider the entry of any soldier or military machinery into the Kingdom of Bahrain’s air, sea or land territories a blatant occupation” (see -IRans Momentum).

In an unprecedented enouncement Saudi Arabia voiced its “absolute rejection of any foreign meddling in the internal affairs of Bahrain. The people of Bahrain and its government are keener on the security and stability of their country”, SPA, the Saudi state news agency said hinting toward USA and UK. U.S spokesmen still urged, on Monday 03/14/2011, Saudi forces “to show restrain”.

In Lebanon, the longtime ally of Saudi Arabia who was partially abandoned by USA, the interim PM Saad Hariri led, also on Monday, a massive rally against Hizbullah supremacy in Lebanon after he managed to block the formation of a pro-Hizbullah cabinet in Lebanon supposed to be headed by Najib Mikati (see -Meast Hariri’s Despute).  It is most likely that the demonstration was timed and coordinated with Saudi Arabia as part of a larger effort to contain Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East (see – American Setback).

It is therefore also expected that Saudi Arabia will, soon, support also the Yemeni ruler President Ali Abdullah Saleh in his efforts to regain control and stabilize his country.

It is obvious Saudi Arabia is not seeking confrontation with Iran but a status-quo. The Hashemite Jordanian King Abdullah II is scheduled to visit Iran next week and Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Emirati foreign minister called for talks with Iran and said Tehran and Abu Dhabi will peacefully resolve the issue of the three disputed Gulf islands – Small Tomb, Big Tomb and Abu Mousa.

Saudi Arabia did the move despite USA and not with USA. Despite common pendency – America on Saudi oil and Saudi Arabia on American protection – the rift between the two countries is just growing.
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