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Bahrain: protesters fightback against Saudi troops

by Viv Smith

Some 1,000 Peninsula Shield Force soldiers entered Bahrain from Saudi Arabia on Monday.

The mainly Sunni troops were invited in by the US backed Bahraini monarchy—to smash the revolt taking place against the ruling Sunni royal family.

The protests, inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, are the biggest in the country since the 1990s.

Protesters from Bahrain’s Shia majority, joined by liberal and radical Sunnis, are demanding an end to political exclusion and repression.

Despite the clampdown, thousands are still camped out at the Pearl roundabout in the capital Manama.

Bahrain’s king has imposed a state of emergency and authorised the armed forces to take all measures to stamp out the protests.

But the entry of foreign troops has caused outrage. On Tuesday protesters opened fire on them, killing at least one soldier.

The Peninsula Shield Force was created by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1984 supposedly to deter military aggression against any member countries.

These are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

But the force is based in Saudi Arabia and led by Saudis.

This is the first time it has been deployed to put down a popular revolt.

Both David Cameron and Barack Obama have remained silent on this act of terror against people struggling for freedom. This is no surprise.

Britain has played a key role in the Saudi state throughout its history—providing weapons and exploiting cheap labour and oil, the country’s main source of income.

Sending in Saudi forces will not end the battle that has been going on for decades.

It may well also encourage further protests in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring states.


Article information

International
Tue 15 Mar 2011, 18:46 GMT
Issue No. 2243
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