US ally Saudi Arabia sends sectarian forces to help quash Bahrain protests

on 38 Comments

Face to Face shooting in Bahrain (warning: graphic)

Bahrain Protester Shot Point Blank In Shocking Video
A shocking video of the point-blank killing of a protester has emerged from Bahrain.For over a month, protests have erupted in the Gulf nation as anti-government protesters flocked to the capital city of Manama’s Pearl Square. In the last few days, events have become increasingly bloody, with Saudi Arabia sending troops to the country on Monday, one of whom was shot to death. Bahraini Shi’ites called the Saudi intervention an act of “war,” and subsequently, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa declared a state of emergency. At that time, Nabeel Hameed, a neurosurgeon at Manama’s biggest hospital, reported that protesters “were all shot from close range,” adding that forces “do shoot to kill.”

Video: Bahrain military attack protesters’ camp
Focal point of demonstrations in capital Manama overrun by riot police as part of crackdown aimed at crushing anti-government uprising

Bahrain’s troops begin assault on protesters
Military troops and security forces moved Wednesday against thousands of anti-government protesters occupying a landmark square in Bahrain’s capital, a day after emergency rule was imposed in the violence-wracked Gulf kingdom.

And more news from Bahrain:

Police crackdown against Bahrain protesters
The Bahraini security forces, in a predawn swoop on the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, have driven away the pro-democracy protesters aided by the Apache helicopters and tear gas canisters. The protesters are nowhere to be seen and the Pearl Roundabout is now back under the control of the authorities. Two protesters and two policemen have been killed in the violence so far.

Bahrain forces in drive against protesters
Tear gas fired as security forces attempt to disperse protesters from capital’s Pearl Roundabout.

Two killed and over 200 wounded in Bahrain clashes, says hospital source
U.S. says there will be no military solution to Bahrain after country declares state of emergency following weeks of unrest.

Bahrain in Video and Pictures: The Security Forces Move Quickly
Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama, after security forces cleared out protesters with tear gas — the fires are tents and gas canisters set alight as the demonstrators fled.

Medics at Salmaniya Hospital #Bahrain stranded and unable to collect nor receive injured. Crime Against Humanity!!!

Video Bahrain : Pro-King Thugs Attacked Nurses and Killed Citizens in Sitrah – WARNING – Video contains images of extreme violence

Photo: 5 Bahraini Protesters Brutally Killed By Saudi Military Forces in Sitra – WARNING – Video contains images of extreme violence

Tents in Bahrain set on fire

Police car attempts to run protesters over

15/3/11 Expats killed by government thugs
This video was first posted by anti-government protesters online and the Iranian Alalam TV, but was then used by Bahrain’s state television BTV to blame the protesters for killing them. The people, who speak in Shi’a dialect and are clearly horrified by the sight of the bodies, can be heard in the background claiming that a “black American” is responsible for this. Another says “these are poor Bangladeshis, they’re innocent!”. Towards the end, a third voice, who appears to be an eye-witness, says thugs in an “American jeep” did it.

A protester being executed by live police rounds in Sitra 15/3/11

Burning tents in peal roundabout as the police and army cracks down 16/3/11

denying ambulances from coming into Salmaniya 16/3/11

 Bahrain Financial Harbor 16/3/11
 Pearl roundabout 16/3/11:

Picture of helicopter with machine gun 16/3/11

A number of helicopters in Bahrain’s sky 16/3/11

Police attacking medical personnel  16/3/11

medical personnel being searched 16/3/11

army and police celebrating “victory” 16/3/11

Thugs attack Bahrain International Hospital 16/3/11

Army bus by Salmaniya hospital 16/3/11

Army aiming their guns at civilians 16/3/11

Another photo of pearl roundabout on 16/3/11 morning

Bahrain protesters’ camp stormed by troops
Soldiers and riot police used tear gas and armoured vehicles to drive out hundreds of anti-government protesters occupying a landmark square in Bahrain’s capital, a day after emergency rule was imposed in the violence-wracked Gulf kingdom.

police purportedly firing live rounds at civilians in Sitra 15/3/11

Al Jazeera English: “Brutal attack” alleged in Bahrain; doctors complain from the violence, sleep in hospital to treat patients 15/3/11

Al Jazeera English: protester shot in chest 13/3/11

Video of protester shot in the head (extremely graphic)

Further evidence of the police collaborating with pro-government thugs who attacked the University 14/3/11

Live Blog: Bahrain crackdown
The latest news, photos and videos from Bahrain, where security forces have attacked protesters camped out in Pearl Roundabout.

Bahrain: Martial Law Does Not Trump Basic Rights
(Manama) – Bahrain’s declaration of martial law and deployment of armed forces from Saudi Arabia does not override its obligations to respect fundamental human rights under international law, Human Rights Watch said today.

Bahrain youth movement calls protest on Wednesday
MANAMA, March 16 (Reuters) – Bahrain’s youth movement, which had been leading protests at the Pearl roundabout, called on Wednesday for a mass demonstration from all Manama suburbs towards Budaya Street in the north of the capital.  The Feb. 14 group said in a mass text message that the protest would begin at 3.30 p.m. (1230 GMT). Budaya Street is lined with Shi’ite Muslim villages and suburbs and leads to the Sunni Muslim suburb of Budaya.

Bahrain defence official warns against gatherings
MANAMA, March 16 (Reuters) – A Bahraini defence official warned Bahrainis on Wednesday not to gather in public, saying it was for public safety. The official gave the warning in a live appearance on state-owned Bahrain TV, in which he announced that security forces had cleared protesters from Pearl roundabout and Salmaniya hospital, where activists had set up tents.

Watch: GCC armed forces enter Bahrain to quell protests
Armed troops of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) entered Bahrain days ago amidst escalating pro-democracy protests.  A large contingent of GCC military units drove into the Arab country Saturday — as filmed in the video below, which was posted to YouTube by user 000friendly. The Saudi-headquartered GCC is a political and economic alliance between six Arab nations in the Persian Gulf: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain’s King Declares Martial Law
MANAMA, March 15 (Reuters) – Bahrain’s king declared martial law on Tuesday as his government struggled to quell an uprising by the island’s Shi’ite Muslim majority that has drawn in troops from fellow Sunni-ruled neighbour Saudi Arabia.  An uneasy calm fell on Bahrain overnight, and a defence ministry statement suggested action against protesters camped out for weeks at Pearl roundabout could be swift. Forces may impose curfews, disperse gatherings and evacuate areas, it said.

Bahrain raises the stakes by bringing in Saudi forces
Bahrain is at a tipping point. By inviting in 1,500 Saudi and Emirati troops to help restore order the ruling al-Khalifa family have dramatically raised the stakes in the tiny Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain in state of emergency as crowd marches on Saudi embassy
The King of Bahrain has declared martial law, giving the military authority to end pro-democracy protests with the backing of 2,000 troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Some 10,000 Bahraini demonstrators marched on the Saudi embassy in the capital, Manama, yesterday to protest against the Saudi intervention, which an opposition statement said amounted to an occupation. Significant parts of the island kingdom, which has a population of 600,000, remain in the hands of protesters, one of whom was reported to have been killed yesterday by the security services.

Bahrain imposes curfew, bans all gatherings
MANAMA, March 16 (Reuters) – Bahrain’s military imposed on Wednesday a curfew from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. (1300 to 0100 GMT) across a large swathe of the capital Manama, and banned all public gatherings and demonstrations across the country.  The announcement, made by a military officer in a live television appearance, came after the youth movement called for a protest at 3:30 p.m. The curfew covers the area from Bahrain’s Seef Mall and covers the main thoroughfare through the Pearl roundabout and the financial district to the diplomatic area.

Iraq Shiite authority condemns Bahrain crackdown (AFP)
AFP – A leading Iraq-based Shiite Muslim authority on Wednesday condemned a deadly government crackdown on mainly Shiite protesters in Bahrain, saying the violence must stop immediately.*

Hezbollah: Intervention in Bahrain counter-productive
BEIRUT: Hezbollah issued a statement Tuesday saying that military intervention in Bahrain eliminates chances of reaching a solution. “In light of the recent developments in Bahrain regarding the military intervention of neighboring Arab countries and the use of violence which has caused deaths and injuries, Hezbollah can only voice concern and strong condemnation targeting peaceful civilians,” said a statement carried by the state-run National News Agency. “Military intervention and the use of violence against a peaceful and popular movement will … only complicate matters and eliminate chances of finding a solution,” it added. Hezbollah also considered the U.S. position regarding the recent developments as “suspicious” and indicative of Washington’s “real policy” toward the popular movements.

Iran: Saudi troops in Bahrain unacceptable
The Iranian government Tuesday called the presence of Saudi troops in Bahrain “unacceptable,” saying the move “will further complicate the issue.”

Iraq’s Sadr followers march against Bahrain crackdown
BAGHDAD, March 16 (Reuters) – Followers of Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrated in Baghdad and Basra on Wednesday in support of mainly-Shi’ite demonstrators in Bahrain, denouncing intervention by Saudi troops.  The crackdown by Bahrain’s Saudi-backed Sunni royal family against protesters from the country’s Shi’ite majority has galvanised Iraq’s own Shi’ite community, exacerbating the sectarian tension that led to years of war in Iraq.

Inside Story – Saudi intervention in Bahrain
The world’s eyes on threatening white clouds billowing over damaged nuclear plants in Japan, but at another point of crisis a continent away Saudi-led troops cross the border into their Gulf neighbour Bahrain. Is the core of sectarian divide about to be exposed? And could the fallout become regional?

Saudi Arabia rewards Qatar for its lousy coverage of Bahrain
“Qatar is likely to nominate Abdul Rahman Al Atiyyah, the outgoing Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary-general, to be the next secretary-general of the Arab League, Qatari media reported on Tuesday.”

Bahraini Protestors to Obama:Foreign Troops Unleash Violence Against Bahrain & Claim to Have American Green Light
[This is a public letter addressed to US President Barack Obama from by protesters in Bahrain under the name “Movement of 14 February.” The letter was circulated on March 15, 2011]
Mr President,
You certainly know about the Saudi and other gulf troops arriving to Bahrain to aid the government in clamping down the peaceful protesters. If you can find any legal, logical or ethical justification for this intervention, can you find any justification as well to them forming thugs attacking peaceful Bahrainis in their own homes and villages, killing them with live rounds, intimidating women and children in these areas, and boasting themselves with a “claimed” American green light!!

Saudi Intervention Likely to Bring Regional Blowback
Saudi Arabia’s incursion into neighboring Bahrain is a risky move that could further inflame domestic unrest in both countries and give a propaganda boost to Tehran’s campaign to cultivate the Arab street. Saudi authorities and officials from the United Arab Emirates—which sent 500 police to augment 1,000 Saudi troops—said they had entered the island kingdom Monday at the request of the Bahraini government to safeguard the country’s infrastructure and provide space for a political solution.

The US wants Saudi troops to help in the democratization of Bahrain
“In the case of Bahrain, the senior official said, the administration’s goal has been to enlist the Saudis’ help to open up the Bahraini political system without overthrowing the government.”

Darker Than Black Tuesday [Notes From the Bahraini Field- Update 6]
Amid an atmosphere of extreme tension a number of Asian men, mostly from Pakistan, have reportedly been attacked with swords and iron rods during the last two days. The government seems to have taken up their cause to point blame at opposition protesters although as of yet the circumstances in which they were attacked, and who attacked them are not clear. The men attacked were all civilian residents who have in the past borne the brunt of anti-government sentiment. Mostly Pakistanis, they are often recruited by the hundreds into Bahrain’s security forces, their citizenship fast tracked and social benefits guaranteed. They are then used in riot police squads to mete out violent repression against locals. That said, the description of men wearing masks and carrying swords given by victims interviewed in the local press is very similar to description of baltajiyya thugs who instigated violence and vandalism at the Bahrain University earlier in the week.

Murder in Bahrain
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been one busy official of late. Last week, on a surprise visit to Afghanistan, he managed to apologize for U.S. helicopters killing nine boys collecting wood on a hillside in Kunar Province, even as he announced that a negotiating team would soon be dispatched from Washington to work out a “strategic partnership” with the Afghans. Such a “partnership” would, he indicated, keep the U.S. military in the country well past the 2014 “deadline” for the withdrawal of “combat troops.” Of course, he discounted any American “interest in permanent bases”—a phrase avoided since the Pentagon termed the mega-bases it was planning for Iraq at the time of the invasion of 2003 “enduring camps.” The Afghan bases won’t be labeled “permanent” either, not unless the “Afghans want it,” in which case “we can contemplate the idea.” In the meantime, bases on loan for a while would be just dandy!

Holy smokes! The Saudis are in Bahrain, Rami G. Khouri
The deployment of Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates security forces to Bahrain on Monday is a cause for concern at several levels. It suggests that conservative Arab leaders in key energy-producing states are worried about the potential for the unrest in Yemen to their west and Bahrain to their east to spill over into their own countries. It accelerates the long-simmering ideological war between some Arab leaders and the Iranian government, with an unspoken but strong undertone of Shiite-Sunni tensions. And it is likely to spark fresh internal tensions in some Gulf states, where Shiite minorities will raise the level of their demands and protests.

U.S. may lose either way in Bahrain crisis
As a standoff in Bahrain teeters near violence, the U.S. faces a hard choice between maintaining support for an unpopular monarchy or pushing for change that could weaken the U.S. strategic position. As a standoff between troops and protesters in Bahrain teeters near violence, the Obama administration is facing a difficult choice between maintaining support for an increasingly unpopular monarchy or pushing for change that could weaken the U.S. strategic position in the vital Persian Gulf.,0,2161609.story

38 Responses

  1. Potsherd2
    March 16, 2011, 12:01 pm

    It’s my understanding that the US argued against the Saudi intervention, and the Saudis went right ahead with their plans.

    If this is so, it demonstrates the low point to which the Obama administration, in backing down on every point to Israel, has brought American power.

    • Avi
      March 16, 2011, 4:57 pm


      The US has a history of saying one thing and doing the opposite behind the scenes. So do many of the state-actors in the Middle East.

      The US — not wanting to create even more anti-US sentiment in the region — decided to act through the Saudis. Of course, the monarchy has a vested interest in quashing protests in Bahrain and other neighboring coastal states, but I won’t be quick to buy the argument that the US was actually against putting out the revolutionary fire in Bahrain, home to a US base.

      • Potsherd2
        March 16, 2011, 5:12 pm

        US hypocrisy is a known fact, true. But the current administration is so indecisive, I don’t see them taking so drastic a step as urging a Saudi intervention. I see this as Saudis cutting loose and acting in their own interests, to hell with the US.

    • Shingo
      March 17, 2011, 7:24 am

      It’s my understanding that the US argued against the Saudi intervention, and the Saudis went right ahead with their plans.

      I heard that the US did a deal with the saudi’s that if they backed a no fly zone over Lybia, then the US would not oppose the Saudi’s going into Bahrain.

  2. seafoid
    March 16, 2011, 12:07 pm

    I don’t buy the US asking suadi to back down. If Bahrain were to fall, saudi would follow. The US prefers these regimes and the cheap oil they provide to democracy.

    • Seham
      March 16, 2011, 1:50 pm

      Seafoid, I don’t think US asked either, I think they completely support and endorse what is happening in Bahrain.

      • Potsherd2
        March 16, 2011, 2:53 pm

        Seham, they are freaking out at the killings, wringing their hands and wishing all the parties would be nice, have some nice meaningless reforms, go home and be quiet.

      • Seham
        March 16, 2011, 3:10 pm

        Pots, dear, I think that she “freaked” out when she went to Egypt and tried to meet with the youth opposition and they told her to go hell link to

      • Potsherd2
        March 16, 2011, 5:15 pm


        WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Bahrain amid Shiite-led opposition violence has exposed festering political differences between Riyadh and the United States over the revolts rocking the Arab world.

        The surprise Saudi decision to lead a regional mission into the strife-torn and strategic kingdom ruled by a Sunni minority also reflected the deep shadow cast by Iran in instability testing US-allied leaders across the Gulf.

        Washington appeared to have little if any advance notice that Saudi Arabia, a crucial ally, would roll with Gulf Cooperation Council troops into Bahrain — despite the visit of Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Manama last week.

        A Pentagon spokesman said Monday that Washington was not forewarned about the plan. Other senior officials modified that stance on Tuesday, saying Washington was aware of the action, but not “consulted” about it.

        But the fact that Saudi Arabia would take a step certain to embarrass the United States following Washington’s prolonged effort to prod Bahrain towards political reform revealed the tense nature of bilateral relations.

        Analysts said that the disagreement between the allies over Bahrain was a symptom of wider Saudi disgust at Washington’s support for the concept of “universal rights” as unrest and rebellion sweep the Arab world.

        “It is quite apparent that the United States and Saudi Arabia are not on the same page,” said Simon Henderson, a specialist in Saudi and Gulf issues with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

        David Ottaway, of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars agreed, saying “they are really upset by our pressing for democracy across the Arab world.

        “I think our relationship with Saudi Arabia is going to remain very tense for the next few months and maybe longer.”

      • annie
        March 16, 2011, 5:39 pm

        A Pentagon spokesman said Monday that Washington was not forewarned about the plan. Other senior officials modified that stance on Tuesday, saying Washington was aware of the action, but not “consulted” about it.

        oh i don’t believe that for one minute. the US just doesn’t want to be outed opposing democratic reform but there’s no way they’re putting their interests at risk in that highly strategic locale. there is a lot of posturing going on now trying to frame this and here’s one blaming it on iran. but note the 2nd bolded section below. everyone knows the US is in on this, or should.

        here’s stratfor global intelligence 3/14

        The Iranians clearly benefit from an uprising in Bahrain. It places the U.S. 5th Fleet’s basing in jeopardy, puts the United States in a difficult position and threatens the stability of other Persian Gulf Arab states. For the Iranians, the uprisings in North Africa and their spread to the Arabian Peninsula represent a golden opportunity for pursuing their long-standing interest (going back to the Shah and beyond) of dominating the Gulf.

        We are now off the map, so to speak. The question is how the Iranians respond, and there is every reason to think that they do not know. They probably did not expect a direct military move by the Saudis, given that the Saudis prefer to act more quietly themselves. The Iranians wanted to destabilize without triggering a strong response, but they were sufficiently successful in using local issues that the Saudis felt they had no choice in the matter. It is Iran’s move.

        The Iranians are accustomed to being able to use their covert capabilities to shape the political realities in countries. They did this effectively in Iraq and are doing it in Afghanistan. They regarded this as low risk and high reward. The Saudis, recognizing that this posed a fundamental risk to their regime and consulting with the Americans, have led a coalition force into Bahrain to halt the uprising and save the regime. Pressed by covert forces, they were forced into an overt action they were clearly reluctant to take.

  3. Saleema
    March 16, 2011, 1:19 pm

    This is really sick. I’m outraged. I hope this is the beginning of the end of Bahraini and Saudi totalitarianism.

    • fuster
      March 16, 2011, 2:50 pm

      Saleema, throw in the end of the Iranian theocracy along with those others and you’ve got the chance for something much better to emerge.

      • Seham
        March 16, 2011, 3:11 pm

        Fuster, you forgot the Jewish theocracy in Israel. Thanks.

      • fuster
        March 16, 2011, 4:24 pm


        I didn’t forget, Seham, merely didn’t notice any truth in what you think you see there. Theocracy it ain’t.

      • annie
        March 16, 2011, 5:43 pm

        Theocracy it ain’t

        walks like a duck, talks like a duck…it’s not a frog it’s a theocracy.

      • fuster
        March 16, 2011, 6:13 pm

        walks like a duck, talks like a duck, annie, don’t be a goose.

      • seafoid
        March 16, 2011, 6:26 pm

        It’s a Jewish ethnocracy innit. What’s the difference?

      • fuster
        March 16, 2011, 6:38 pm

        the difference between a state with a state religion or a state with a dominant ethnic group and a theocracy can be pretty extensive.

      • Shingo
        March 17, 2011, 7:30 am

        It’s not in this case fuster. Just listen to your pal eee and his verbal musing.

    • Shingo
      March 17, 2011, 7:27 am

      I hope this is the beginning of the end of Bahraini and Saudi totalitarianism.

      Me too. For a long time, the saudi’s have enjoyed being abel to carry out their brutality out of the gaze of the world community, but this has forced them out into the open, and reveal their true colors. They might survive this in the short term, but their authority will be mortally wounded.

  4. Sumud
    March 16, 2011, 5:55 pm

    Not only Saudi Arabi – another firm US ally the UAE also sent ‘around 500 policeman’ to Bahrain under the auspices of the GCC PS (Gulf Cooperative Council Peninsula Shield) – though you’d hardly know it from the minimal coverage the English presses gave it in the UAE [my emphasis]:

    Manama: Bahrain state TV says a three-month state of emergency has been declared to try to quell political unrest threatening the monarchy.
    The statement from the King of Bahrain, King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa, says that the nation’s armed forces chief is authorised to take all measures to stamp out protests that have gripped the island nation for the past month.
    A Saudi soldier was shot dead by opposition protester in Bahrain on Tuesday, a Saudi security official said. However Bahraini officials have denied the report.
    Tuesday’s move comes a day after GCC forces arrived to help prop up the US-backed regime.
    Bahrain on Monday confirmed the arrival of military units from the Peninsula Shield “following regrettable events that undermined security and threatened citizens and residents”.
    “The security and stability of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] is a common responsibility, and this was reconfirmed by the GCC foreign ministers at their latest meeting,” a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency said.
    The military force will help Bahraini authorities deal with the month-long unrest in the country.
    Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the UAE has sent around 500 policemen to Bahrain. “The Bahrain government asked us yesterday [Monday] to look at ways to help them to defuse tension in Bahrain,” he told journalists when asked about the UAE decision to send security forces into the kingdom at a gathering of Group of Eight foreign ministers in Paris. He later went into talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
    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.

    State of emergency declared in Bahrain

    The GCC consists of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, and Oman. Apparently they, with the possible exception of Qatar (possible b/c one of Sehams’s articles criticises Al Jazeera’s lightweight coverage of Bahrain) – have a common interest in fighting the threat of democracitic uprisings, or as they like to call it “Iran”. Apparently the shia in Bahrain aren’t really demonstrating for equal rights and democratic governance, they are shia robots being piloted by Iran. As for the sunnis demonstrating, well – we won’t talk about them…

    • fuster
      March 16, 2011, 6:17 pm

      that’s it Sumud, the fact that they’re allied with the US is central to the explanation of their actions.

      why it seems like only yesterday when George Washington was struggling against the British and the House of Saud, already prominent in Arabia, was waiting for the struggle to end so as to receive instruction from Washington in how to conduct business in the Gulf.

      • Sumud
        March 17, 2011, 12:56 am

        fuster ~ what do you know about the GCC, other than snark?

        I’ve lived in a GCC country, have spent time in others and have a reasonable idea of internal GCC politics and wider regional and international alliances/enmity.

        Vive la France.

      • fuster
        March 17, 2011, 1:14 am

        Sumud, have your experiences taught you to think that the Saudis are motivated primarily by their alliance with the US when they’re sending help to fight off protests in Bahrain?

        Would living in the area teach more that the Saudis and the other bigwigs are worried about US opinion more than they’re motivated by self-interest?

        tell the truth now, no snarking around.

        or you can’t eat any cake.

      • Avi
        March 17, 2011, 1:59 am

        The Saudi Monarchy should not be confused with the Saudi people. They are two separate and different entities.

        The Saudi monarchy remains in power thanks to internal and external factors. Chief among the external factors is American assistance and protection. For example, the CIA protected both Sadat and Mubarak during their respective terms in office.

        Now, the agency operates freely in Saudi Arabia foiling any attempts to oust the monarchs while the US government provides training and hardware to Saudi’s state apparatus.

        The relationship between the monarchy and the US government is thus a symbiotic relationship. Each party benefits from the close relationship, the US receives access to oil and to an influential regional player in the political arena. In return, the monarchy receives protection from the US.

        In short, Sumud is right in his assessment.

        As an aside, the internal factors I mentioned above are no different than those previously found under Mubarak’s rule. That is to say that the Saudi monarchy — as most monarchies — is comprised of a ruling family. Hence tribal loyalty takes precedence over national interests. However, much like Mubarak’s cronyism, Saudi Arabia’s rulers do not stand a chance in the face of millions of rebelling Saudis outside the family circle.

      • Sumud
        March 17, 2011, 2:11 am

        fuster ~ Kinda rude to answer a question with a question. I don’t need an encyclopaedic listing of what you know about the GCC, but if you have a different opinion, please do express it.

        I like French food, and I have my own gâteau ma petite grenouille.

      • Shingo
        March 17, 2011, 7:31 am

        Sumud, have your experiences taught you to think that the Saudis are motivated primarily by their alliance with the US

        No, but their legitmacy (or lack of) is higlighted by it. What’s why the uprisings (if you can call them that) in Syria and Iran got nowhere.

      • fuster
        March 17, 2011, 11:37 am

        Sumud, ma petite, I believe that I expressed the opinion, in my own way, that it’s not any alliance with the US that causes the Gulf states to react violently to protests or to have acted in such manner as to give rise to these protests.
        The regimes are acting in hope of preserving their privileges not anything else.

      • Sumud
        March 17, 2011, 12:53 pm

        The regimes are acting in hope of preserving their privileges not anything else.

        …including the American regime. Bahrain is the home of the Fifth Fleet and it would be naive to think the US isn’t manoeuvring to make sure that this time, unlike in Egypt, “stability” wins. If you’ve been following the release of the Wikileaks US Embassy Cables you’ll know the US has no qualms leaning heavily on other countries to get it’s way.

        That’s not to say, especially with regard to Saudi Arabia, that self-interest isn’t involved. The Sauds fear a shiite uprising in the Eastern Province and see Bahrain as a catalyst. At the same time I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the US’ two strongest allies in the GCC are the ones that sent troops to Bahrain. There’s much less incentive for the UAE to aid Bahrain than SA.

      • fuster
        March 17, 2011, 2:45 pm

        and still, Sumud, the main point is that they act in their interest rather than ours…….

        …..that our interests are oft aligned is also no coincidence, it’s sort of a pre-condition for becoming allied, non?

        and, but of course, stability in the Gulf wins for us, Sumud or we wouldn’t have remained tied to regimes that have failed to heed our decades-old advice to reform rather than to wait to be toppled.
        we continued dealing with them despite being brushed off because we don’t control them but our other allies and ourself need what they supply.

      • Sumud
        March 17, 2011, 7:54 pm

        …that our interests are oft aligned is also no coincidence…

        I think you’ll find maintaining Bahrain as a base for the Fifth Fleet is rather more important for the US than Saudi Arabia and the UAE, after all they already have all the oil (or easy access to it) they could want. It wouldn’t look good for the US to send troops onto the streets of Bahrain to quell the uprising would it now?

        and, but of course, stability in the Gulf wins for us, Sumud or we wouldn’t have remained tied to regimes that have failed to heed our decades-old advice to reform rather than to wait to be toppled.

        Decades-old advice to reform? Sounds like you’ve been watching the telly, only, from that rosy estimation of American advice-giving. Actually, the unreformed regimes offer all sorts of goodies that the US finds very appealing, like rendition and torture sites. Omar Sillyman, deposed Egyptian Vice President, being an excellent example – the CIA’s point man in Egypt. Do you think Egypt will continue to torture on the US behalf? I don’t. Any calls for reform from the US seem to me to have been issue only when the population begins to stir. A status quo of oppressed citizens doesn’t seem to bother the US, as long as they’re quiet. You haven’t noticed your Bill of Rights being shredded over the last decade? Are you bothered Obama can now have American citizens killed without any sort of due process or legal oversight?

        What self-interest is the UAE serving by sending forces to Bahrain?

      • fuster
        March 18, 2011, 12:40 pm

        Sumud, I don’t at all think that maintaining the base is more important than the oil….

        there wouldn’t be a base but for the oil.

    • Seham
      March 16, 2011, 6:49 pm


      • Sumud
        March 17, 2011, 12:57 am

        Seeeyaaammm! answer my DM will ya..!

  5. seafoid
    March 16, 2011, 6:28 pm

    The fall of the house of Saud will be brutal.
    So much for the Gulf being a haven of modernity. I wonder if Dubai is stable.

    • Sumud
      March 17, 2011, 1:10 am

      Dubai is stable. Emiratis are in the ‘bribed into submission [to the Sheikh & Government]’ camp, rather than the ‘oppressed into submission’ camp, and the Maktoums are benevolent leaders and for the most part genuinely admired, even loved, by their subjects.

      The separate Emirates still maintain a fairly strong individual identity but they are proud of being the United Arab Emirates, 40 years united this year.

      As for the Saud’s, their downfall will be proportional to how hard they’ve stomped on their citizens, so yes – it will be brutal!

  6. Saleema
    March 17, 2011, 2:43 am

    My sister-in-law lives in Dubai. She says the sheiks over there take care of the local population pretty well. She gave as an example, that if someone becomes an orphan the state takes them in, if no close relative will, and will gave them education all the way through higher education at top notch schools inside the country and outside as well.

    • Sumud
      March 17, 2011, 3:43 am

      I lived there for a period also Saleema and agree w/ your sister-in-law. Dubai is interesting because they don’t actually have a lot in the way of oil/gas and have largely self-built the city (ie. not with petrodollars) as a regional trade and transport hub. The transformation in just 50 years is remarkable, it must really blow the mind of the older generations to see a small seaside village with just a few dozen solid structures bloom into a city of millions w/ vast freeways and a building nearly 1km high..

      The state is generous with locals but they’re rather paranoid about demonstrations of any sort. At the height of the crackdown in Iran after the elections in 2009 Iranians in Dubai held a small candle-light vigil at the beach, and the police (gently) dispersed it. Labour strikes occur occasionally, but the strikers are foreign workers (Emiratis don’t labour), and they’re quickly deported. I did hear though, and it surprised me greatly, that a gathering was allowed at the Egypt Embassy (in Abu Dhabi) or the Consulate in Dubai. I’ve never heard of any locals organising, or, more to the point perhaps, even wanting to.

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