The Washington Post reports:
Saudi Arabia said Sunday that it stands ready “with all its capabilities” to shore up Bahrain’s ruling royal family if a standoff with the Shiite-led opposition is not resolved soon, underscoring the kingdom’s deep concern about its neighbor’s ongoing political crisis.
Sunni-led Saudi Arabia props up Bahrain’s al-Khalifa family with cash and has long sought to prevent the tiny Persian Gulf state – with its majority Shiite population – from falling into Iran’s orbit. With dwindling oil resources, Bahrain relies heavily on Saudi Arabia for money and security.
It was unclear whether the Saudi comments indicated that the country was contemplating possible action in Bahrain or were merely meant to express growing anxiety among Saudi leaders. But some regional experts have long warned that a concerted Shiite challenge to the monarchy in Bahrain might prompt intervention from Saudi Arabia, which has its own restive Shiite minority population. The two countries are connected by a causeway.
And let’s suppose that in the coming days or weeks, Saudi forces (which they would no doubt describe with some anodyne phrase such as “peacekeeping forces” or “military assistance”) invade Bahrain.
Hand-wringing in Washington and other Western capitals will surely become frenzied in a decisive moment when Obama and his allies will be forced to show the world whether they truly stand for or against democracy.
Last week, AFP reported:
Gulf states could go as far as using military intervention to prevent a regime change in Bahrain to block the tide of protests there from reaching their countries, analysts say.
A spread of the Shi’ite protests in Bahrain into the rest of the energy-rich Gulf states would be a major strategic victory for neighbouring Shi’ite Iran, they said on Thursday.
Foreign ministers of the six-nation alliance of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Bahrain is a member, affirmed at a meeting in Manama on Thursday their political, economic, security and defence support for Bahrain.
“Gulf states cannot accept a fundamental and radical change in Bahrain. The demand for constitutional monarchy cannot be imposed without [natural] political development that takes its due course,” Saudi political analyst Dakheel al-Dakheel said.
“This will create a state of political and security confusion in Bahrain that opens the door for Iranian and non-Iranian interference, which will not be acceptable to Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia,” said Dakheel.