Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Support of the Bahraini Protesters...

Hosni Mubarak has been removed from power and the Egyptian military is overseeing reforms in the county's corrupt, schlerotic government (I hope), but here's something else potentially going wrong in the Middle East.


Bahrain is a largely Shi'a state ruled over by a Sunni royal family who employs foreign thugs to keep their people down.  It's also home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

There are Egypt-style protests brewing there that may well bring down the monarchy just like the Egyptian protesters brought down Mubarak.

There's one key difference though--the presence of a militarily-powerful neighbor that doesn't want its own oppressed masses getting ideas.  And I'm not talking about Iran, although that designation certainly applies.  I'm talking about our "friends" the Saudis.  The BBC article suggests the Saudis might intervene militarily if the al-Khalifa family looks like it's losing control of Bahrain, much like how the Soviets intervened in Hungary to crush the rebellion that had thrown out their Communist puppet government in 1956.

I hope Barack Obama tells the al-Sauds to keep their oppressive, terrorist-enabling fingers off Bahrain.  If the U.S. doesn't want a Saudi military intervention in Bahrain, it's not going to happen.  A long causeway connects Bahrain to the Saudi mainland and anything on that causeway is vulnerable to aerial and naval attack.  If we don't want Saudi troops crossing the causeway, they're not crossing the causeway.

I'm sure certain parties are going to go on about the dangers of radical Islam in this situation, with Iran standing in for the Muslim Brotherhood, but that would be rather foolish.  Based on the slogans the BBC is reporting, this is a non-sectarian popular uprising, not an Islamist one.

The only way terrorists will benefit from this is if the Bahraini monarchy or the Saudis crush the uprising and it appears the U.S. supported or allowed it to happen.  Then Osama bin Laden and his ilk will have a field day recruiting people who will be very upset at the United States and its allied regimes.

However, if the U.S. tells the Saudis to keep out and the Bahraini monarchy falls, something tells me that will generate a lot of good press for the United States among the Bahraini public and in the wider Middle East.

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