Gulf troops in Bahrain may spur Iran to join conflict

Islamic state may use Gulf troops as reason to intervene in Bahrain protests, say experts

The arrival of Saudi and other Gulf troops in Bahrain may provide a stepping stone for Iran to join the regional conflict, analysts said Wednesday.

“Clearly the situation is spiraling out of control and getting dangerous,” said Theodore Karasik of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

“I think we are moving to a new chapter… It has the potential of pulling in Iran rhetorically as well as physically. Last week, it seems more distant, now it seems closer,” he said.

Iran may use the notion of foreign interference to intervene under the guise of offering protection to protesting Shiites in the kingdom, he said.

“It is the proxy war they [Iran and the Gulf states] have been having that has come through various cycles and is now coming to a head,” he said.

Iran was quick to condemn the arrival of Gulf troops on Monday, urging Bahrain not to allow what it called foreign interference in protests that have gripped the island for more than a month.

“Using other countries' military forces to oppress these demands is not the solution,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hossein Amir Abdollahian told the Fars news agency.

Christopher Davidson, professor of Middle East politics at the UK’s Durham University, said the presence of Gulf troops would “delegitimize the ruling family, embolden the protestors, and anger Iran.”

Iran has denied rumours that it is backing Shiite activists in the kingdom.

Two Bahraini policemen were killed Wednesday during an operation to clear anti-government protestors from a central roundabout in Manama where they have camped for weeks, a health official said. [latest photos]

The two policemen were knocked down by protesters driving in cars at high speeds, the official said. It was not clear how many protesters were hurt.

Bahrain security forces used tear gas to drive protesters from their rallying point at the central Pearl Roundabout in Manama, after Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries sent military support.

The mostly Shiite Muslim demonstrators fled into nearby backstreets as military vehicles were deployed near the area and helicopters flew overhead. Gunfire was heard in the capital.

Riot police put out fires with water cannons and began to fan out into the city streets after Pearl Roundabout was emptied. The stock market suspended trading.

Bahrain on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency after troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states arrived in the kingdom to help quell protests driven by the majority Shiites, who are calling for democracy and civil rights.

Some opposition groups taking part in the protests have escalated their demands to include the overthrow of the Sunni rulers, the Al Khalifa family, and the declaration of a republic.

Bahraini police opened fire on protesters in the village of Sitra yesterday, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said. At least two people were killed and 250 people injured during clashes, Ali Al-Akri, a doctor in the emergency room of the Salmaniya Medical Complex, said in an interview.

“Their mission is supposed to be to protect buildings and infrastructure but that mission may change,” said Karasik. “They went in under the guise of the Peninsula Shield, which was an entity after the Gulf War and serves as a collective defense pact against outside force but here it is being used to suppress internal dissent in a member state.”

The US has urged Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and a key ally in the Gulf Arab region, to show restraint, though analysts said the escalation showed the limits of US influence when internal security was threatened.

“The international community is hamstrung as the US likely places its alliance with the Bahraini rulers against Iran above concerns for supporting pro-democracy protestors,” said Davidson.

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Posted by: Indian

Iran will use Bahrain as a shield from US.

Posted by: Muhammad

Iran must remain out of the GCC problem, they should solve their internal problems, should treat sunni muslims equally or atleast stop brutality against sunnis. Bahrain and other GCC can resolve their differences. I advise Bahraini protestors not to listen Iran otherwise they will be nowhere, enjoy excellent life and lot of facilities in your country and thank to Allah Al Mighty, stop attacking expat workers.

Posted by: dedos

Iran needs to stay out of conflicts internal to the Arabs. Interfering in countries in the Arab world using the excuse of protecting the Shiites Sects is nothing but an excuse to wanting to flex its power over the Arab neighbors. also, what is going on in Bahrain is nothing to do with sectarianism as the west keeps claiming. it is about people revolting and protesting against oppressive regimes in the Arab world and will eventually wins. In addition, Iran is diverting attention from its own internal struggle with its own population who are also revolting against this oppressive Iranian regime but interfering in Arabs affairs whether it is in Iraq , Lebanon and now Bahrain. there will be time when Iran will pay the price for this.

Posted by: Jonah

I feel sad having lived in this beautiful country for so many years to see this madness happening between Shias and Sunnis ... to my dear BAH_IRANI's (like u like to be called) please stop this madness...your Irani motivated political leaders and your Irani religious Matams are leading you no where ... stay calmly and enjoy your citizenship rights .... free education, health, housing, interest free loans, free grants for upgrading your skills, free un employments benefits, etc ... what more can you ask, or please pack your bags and go back to Iran where you belong ....

Posted by: JACK WILD

Is A BIG LIE
ALL THINGS IN BAHRAIN IS WITH DIRECT APROVAL FROM US.
ALL START AFTER AMERICAN SHORT VISIT TO BAHRAIN
I DON'T SAY THE SHIIA OR SUNNY HAVE SECTARIAN CONFLICT SHIIA PEOPLES FROM BAHRAIN ARE GOOD PEOPLES AND NOW ARE HUNTED DOWN
WHY IRAN IS ONLY SPEAKING AND NOT HELP STOP THIS MASACRE OF INOCENT PEOPLES

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