Following two revolutions, one civil war, a massive earthquake, a tsunami and a nuclear catastrophe, the world now appears to be a oblivious to geopolitical news of any nature. And yet geopolitics continue to matter. The latest example comes from Bahrain where The National reports that "there is no state of emergency in Bahrain, the nation's foreign minister said yesterday, but rather a "national safety situation" due to interference from Iran." Well, with Saudi troops and the US 5th fleet solidly still landed in the kingdom, it appears that this is nothing but another preemption of a Wag the Dog type scenario. "Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa told reporters on the sidelines of an
anti-piracy conference in Dubai that the Gulf Peninsula Shield Force was
needed to counter Iran's effect on his country." And just in case it was unclear how much of a "threat" Iran is, he added: "We have never seen a sustained campaign from Iran on Bahrain and the Gulf like we've seen in the last two months." Naturally, Iran was delighted to be blamed for what is a crackdown by the Bahrain government against its own people: "Meanwhile, Iran's foreign ministry has said the allegations of
interference in Bahrain, where Shiites form the majority, targeted
"Muslim unity", according to the state television website." In the meantime Brent continues trading at a price, and will continue trading at a price, that continues to take out several percentage points from US and European GDP. But this is so obvious it will take Hatzius at least a few more weeks before he downgrades his full year outlook.
More from The National:
"The repetitive and false accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran in the recent Persian Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) statement are rejected and unfounded," it quoted ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying.
The GCC - which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - called on the UN Security Council this week to halt Iranian interference in Gulf affairs.
Mr al Khalifa said a letter had been sent to the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon with evidence of threats from Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah.
In the meantime, Bahrain's own treatment with ongoing civil discontent has raised quite a few eyebrows:
He denied reports that officials were aiming to dissolve Shiite opposition groups, despite a lawsuit filed last week by the country's ministry of justice and Islamic affairs against the Islamic Action Association and Al Wefaq.
Addressing reports that the national football team had been arrested for protesting, the minister said only some players, who were also members of the Bahrain Defence Force, were held for violating their terms of service.
Demands for constitutional amendments and reforms, led mainly by Shiites, were quelled by Sunni leaders last month.
Calls against government corruption were "very serious" and should be addressed through parliament and the legislative process, the foreign minister said. He labelled a call for "toppling the government", however, as "something that no one can live with".
Lastly, what would a Middle East update be without just a little friendly truth inversion:
The Salmaniya Medical Complex, which has been at the centre of clashes between the government and protesters, had been a "no-go hospital" for a long time, Mr al Khalifa said.
"Instead of seeing it being portrayed as occupied, actually it's been liberated," he said.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had called the government's takeover of the hospital a "blatant violation of international law", while government officials have accused hospital staff of sheltering "organised gangs".
And yes, should the UN actually listen to this shining example of humanist concern and invade Iran, killing thousands in the process, the price of crude just may inch up modestly to quite modestly in the near future.