Saudis move troops into Bahrain to crush pro-democracy movement

CNN opts for the anodyne and official phrasing “Gulf Cooperation Council security forces,” but the troops who just marched into Bahrain are Saudis.

When US Defense Secretary Gates visited Bahrain on Friday, I assume King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifah gave the US advance warning that his Kingdom would shortly be under something resembling Saudi martial law — just to make sure Washington would voice no more than minimal objections to the latest effort to crush Bahrain’s strengthening democracy movement.

The New York Times reports:

The White House issued a statement on Sunday that said the United States strongly condemned violence that had occurred in Bahrain and Yemen, and added, “We urge the government of Bahrain to pursue a peaceful and meaningful dialogue with the opposition rather than resorting to the use of force.”

And as the Khalifa family and their Saudi overlords ignore this request, what will the White House do? Withdraw the US Fifth Fleet? Not likely!

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights describes the Saudi military presence as “an overt occupation of the kingdom of Bahrain and a conspiracy against the unarmed people of Bahrain.” Even while the White House urges the Bahrain government to engage the opposition in dialogue, no doubt Washington will dismiss the suggestion that Bahrain is now under occupation.

Given that Bahrainis already face brutality from security services — the majority of whom are foreign — I don’t know whether they will find the Saudi presence any more intimidating.

To have an idea of what protesters have been up against in recent days, just watch this video showing an unarmed man being hit by tear gas cannisters shot at point blank range:

GCC and now Arab League support for a no-fly zone over Libya (which they most likely expect will not be imposed), has I suspect, less to do with any concern about the fate of Libya’s revolutionaries than it does in fostering a permissive climate in which the Gulf states’ autocratic rulers can offer each other mutual support in their own efforts to counter the political demands coming from their own subjects. Support for a NFZ provides these monarchies with an opportunity to posture as defenders of Arab freedom at the same time that they suppress Arab freedom. Likewise, by opposing Gaddafi, the Gulf rulers want to cast their dictatorships as benign in contrast to Gaddafi’s brutal rule.

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Comments

  1. Ian Arbuckle says:

    As far as I could see the unarmed bloke was “dialoguing”. And it wouldn’t matter if people dialogue with Obama, King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifah, or Gadhaffi, when peoples interests are at odds with the interests of the power elite the result of any attempt at reason, especially with their paid goose-stepping lackeys has more or less the outcome in this video.

    From Athens to London, from Ramallah to Rabat its more or less the same. Its always the thugs in power that say the people should not be violent and then proceed to use organised violence against them.

    You have to ask yourself, who are those Saudi soldiers going to point their guns at. This time its not an army that will say “we will not shoot our own” is it. The don’t give a s–t at another dead Shiite, after all “all this trouble is being stirred up by those damned Iranians” anyway. One less Shiite is just another step to “regional stability….

    This is the kind of thing Gates and Obama understand. After all they have to secure their interests, bla, bla bla,…..

  2. Vince J. says:

    The US govwernment hates DEMOCRACY.

  3. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is originally an Arab saying. I have no doubt the Gulf plutocrats would willingly throw Qaddhafi under a bus — he’s never been one of them. Clearly, the view from Riyadh shows there is an advantage to doing the world’s bidding in Cyrenaica (to please Sarkozy and take the heat off Obama) because the pay off would be their wearing blinkers in the Gulf.
    If this were a short term age of revolution they might prevail, but the next uprising will not be as haphazard and could be closer to home.

  4. Unless my memory is wrong, this was foretold shortly after the protests started. After all, both countries are next door to each other. Whether or not Iran has anything to do with the protesters, really doesn’t matter. I think what we are seeing here as in Yemen and Libya, are crackdowns to let the American people see first hand what will happen if they entertain protests. Considering that these protests/uprising have one thing in common, that being the Governments are plutocracies, along with everything that goes with same, i.e.; unemployment, financial fraud, class warfare, social theft, etc., which I might ad, are what is taking place here in the U.S. today, that the “O” administration is saying in a round about way, “see, this is what will be your outcome too”.

  5. Colm O' Toole says:

    It seems pretty obvious to me that King Hamad has proven himself a traitor to his country. The word traitor is a word that gets thrown around alot, but what else would you call a King who “invites” a foreign military into his own country in order to fight his own people? The people of Bahrain have every right to use all means to fight this invasion or occupation or whatever it is.

    In fact they have a right under Article 4 of the Third Geneva Conventions to do this even if the Saudi’s are not a occupation force.

    “6. Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war. ”

    That seems to accurately describe the situation that Bahrain is in today.

  6. “The United States does not consider the entry into Bahrain of Saudi Arabian security forces an invasion, the White House said on Monday.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/14/us-bahrain-usa-invasion-idUSTRE72D6RB20110314

    So what is it then, a friendly visit to chat with the pro-democracy demonstrators?
    Hillary Clinton expresses a deep concern. How nice.

    Arab revolution for democracy did not start with overtly anti-American sentiment but this will change it. It is clear with whom the US stands: it stands with medieval repressive absolute monarchs.