Stratfor Update On The Saudi Invasion Of Bahrain

Tyler Durden's picture

Stratfor has just issued the following Red Alert on the Saudi invasion of Bahrain:

Reports emerged on March 14 that forces from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will enter Bahrain to help the Bahraini regime quell unrest. The report was published by Bahraini Alyam Newspaper (known for its close links with the ruling al-Khalifa family), and came one day after clashes occurred between Shiite protesters and police in the capital, Manama. Troops from United Arab Emirates are reportedly expected to arrive in Bahrain March 14. Al Arabiya reported that Saudi forces have already entered Bahrain, but these claims have yet to be officially confirmed by the Bahraini regime. The only announcement so far came from Nabil al-Hamar, the former information minister and adviser to the royal family, who has written on Twitter that the Arab forces arrived in Bahrain. An unnamed Saudi official also said on March 14 that more than 1,000 Saudi troops from the Shield of Island entered Bahrain on late March 13, al-Quds reported, citing AFP. Meanwhile, Bahraini State News Agency reported that The Independent Bloc (a parliamentary bloc of the Bahraini parliament) asked Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to enforce martial law to contain the unrest.

These reports suggest foreign intervention in Bahrain, or at least the possibility that the Bahraini military is taking over the security reins. Such moves mean the regime is getting increasingly concerned with Shiite unrest, which does not seem to be subsiding despite dialogue calls from Bahraini Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa. The ongoing unrest is exacerbated by the split between Bahrain’s Shiite movement, which became clearer during protests on March 11. The more hardline faction of the Shiite movement, led by the Wafa and al-Haq blocs, has been increasing the tension on the streets in the hopes of stalling the talks between the Shiite al-Wefaq-led coalition’s negotiations with the regime. Military intervention from GCC countries means the situation is increasingly untenable for the regime. The paradox the Bahraini regime faces is that it cannot contain the unrest while trying to kick off talks with al-Wefaq. Al-Wefaq finds itself in a difficult position, since it risks losing ground against hardliners if it appears too close to the regime while Shiite protesters are beaten by the police.

The Bahraini regime has used a military option before. On Feb 17, the military deployed immediately after a police crackdown in Manama’s Pearl Roundabout and was able to calm down the situation for a while by encircling the area with tanks. If Bahrain indeed has called Saudi intervention this time, the implication is that the Bahraini military is not confident in its ability to contain the unrest now. Riyadh’s decision to send forces to Manama could be taken to this end, since wider spread of Shiite unrest from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia would aggravate the already existing protests among Saudi Arabia’s own Shiite population. Saudi military intervention in Bahrain is not unprecedented. Saudi Arabia sent troops to Bahrain in 1994 when Riyadh determined that Shiite unrest threatened the al-Khalifa regime.

Regional implications of the unrest in Bahrain became more obvious when U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Manama on March 12 and urged the Bahraini regime to implement bold reforms. Gates said Iranian interference would become a greater possibility if Bahrain fails to do so. While Bahrain and Saudi Arabia seem to be coordinating to avoid that possibility, it is not without risks. Leader of hardliner al-Haq movement, Hassan Mushaima, who is believed to be increasing the Shiite unrest in Bahrain by Iranian support, said on Feb. 28 that Saudi intervention in Bahrain would give Iran the same right to intervene as well. A scenario of regional Sunni Arab forces cracking down on Shia would apply pressure on Iran to respond more overtly, but its military ability is limited and it is a very risky option given the U.S. 5th fleet is stationed in Bahrain. As of this writing, there is no sign that Iranian military is taking steps toward that end, however, the situation on the ground could escalate if Shia in Bahrain ramp up demonstrations.

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firstdivision's picture

Couldn't this easily cause further unrest in Saudi Arabia by the Shi'ite population there?  I doubt they would take kindly to seeing their brethen being shot again..but this time by Saudi troops.

A Man without Qualities's picture

I have a horrid feeling that the Saudis might try to find a "Final Solution" for their Shi'ite issues...  The US will be pressurized by oil, Treasuries fears and Israel into turning the other cheek, so expect total blackout of this in the US MSM.

Twindrives's picture

The Saudis have Hillary's permission to bring the Shiite's under heel.  She and Bill did not give a damn about incinerating innocent women and children at Waco Texas........ why would she be concerned about a few dead Shiites?      

Missing_Link's picture

Congratulations, sir!  You have just posted the single most retarded comment I've ever read on the entire Internet.  I salute you!

Martin Silenus's picture

Some pundits have tagged today as Black Swan Monday.  Curious to see how this all rolls out...

xamax's picture

All this looks to me extremely bullish for ES (please dont ask why, accept the fact). 

Escapeclaws's picture

Love the phrase "Quell unrest". Well, I've got to go quell a crying baby right now. Oh, one of the neighbor kids just hit a baseball through my picture window. I'll have to speak to his parents to have him quelled. Perhaps that is what caused the unrest in the baby.

disabledvet's picture

i'm still unclear if there is a difference between a "shiite arab" and an "Iranian."  i understand there is a difference but that's as far as my "intelligence" on this matter goes.  in other words "maybe this is a civil rights struggle" of sorts?  i certainly understand the difference between a shiite and sunni arab!  that's "800 years of oppression" as i've read about.  long time to be "under the thumb" no doubt, especially as a "religion" no less.  that "oil" suddenly looks "not like God's version of yours" if you know what i mean.  "very powerful argument" shall we say.  "God's version of ours now"?  sounds pretty "wild" either way.  any case..."just oil with bombs blowing up all over it" so "move along."

SilverFiend's picture

Persians are not arabs.  They share the shiite religion with arabs though.

samsara's picture

Yes,  differences,   One is ARAB shite, the other PERSIAN shite.

Read this to see other differences and considerations.

A Handy Guide to the Revolts in the Middle East—And Their Likely Effects On Us
malikai's picture

Now the question to ask is how much longer until these dissidents realize that they need to fight asymetrically and start blowing up pipelines in Saudi and Bahrain, or Qatar?

smeagol's picture

More than 1,000 Saudi troops, part of the Gulf countries' Peninsula Shield Force, have entered Bahrain where anti-regime protests have raged for a month, a Saudi official said Monday.

The troops entered the strategic Gulf kingdom on Sunday, the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

The intervention came "after repeated calls by the (Bahraini) government for dialogue, which went unanswered" by the opposition, the official said.


hell of a day already



tonyw's picture

I can confirm from my source at the causeway that a convoy of Saudi Forces have crossed the bridge within the last 20 minutes.


Silverhog's picture

The revolution has hit a wall. As in Libya, military might of these countries is a serious obstacle for untrained rebels. If they are to make headway, it has to be a  guerrilla style attack on key infrastructure. A full assault is suicide.  

Popo's picture

Exactly. It's all about pipeline and port infrastructure.

The faster the rebels realize this, the faster they win.

The pipelines are the softer target of the two.

zaknick's picture

Read a paper on the Al-Kalifas and how they have murdered, tortured and disappeared the civilian population and their democratic aspirations since the 1930s on

Nasty bunch of thugs that need a thorough spanking along with the saud scum. These shia in Arabia need to blow up the oil infrastructure stealing their oil.

Doubleguns's picture

How do you have a dialog after you murdered folks in the streets. Dialog ability ended when they began pulling the trigger.

virgilcaine's picture

The shooting and killing  of unarmed protestors, The US Govt supports this.  Via no comment in Libya, Yemen.. Bahrain..

Don't think it's not beyond them here.

Ima anal sphincter's picture

I doubt I'll ever understand what is REALLY going on over there. All I see is death. People killed for power or wealth (oil). Pretty damn sick.

Any leader that has his people murdered for ANY reason, has sealed his fate. If the people prevail, the leader and his cronies need to "feel" the same treatment.

If I kill my neighbor and I don't have the fear of punishment, I'll keep doing it. The guy next to him has a nice BMW that I would like and I think he's a Hindu gay person who puts his left shoe on first. He's gotta go.

Ben Chowd's picture

How come nothing on al Jazeera about this?

Mr. Doom's picture

The State Department monitors (runs) Al Jazeera. I am watching it now but have no illusions of it being a "independent" source of information. Like NPR and the BBC it has less inane crap than the MSM but always watch for the spin from the masters of disinfotainment.

Hannibal's picture


ThisIsBob's picture

So they are starting to eat each other now?  That is not particularly bad news.

seenod2010's picture

"The revolution has hit a wall. As in Libya, military might of these countries is a serious obstacle for untrained rebels. If they are to make headway, it has to be a  guerrilla style attack on key infrastructure. A full assault is suicide."

I would think that this means the rebels will utterly fail. By destroying infrastructure particularly resource based infrastructure such as oil/gas or etc, the rebels create a greater stake for other nations to intervene (particularly those dependent on importing said resources via trade); this causes said nations to seek to demonize the rebels and physical intervention gains priority. While this action might be temporarily satisfactory, it truly is a double-edged blade, and the revolution fails thus guranteeing demonized opinion and payback.

It would probably be better for the rebels' cause to seize control of said infrastructure, so they can use it as a bargaining chip for foriegn aid like training, weapons, or worse case foreign support troops. Otherwise, the best the rebels can hope for is putting a new face of the same regime and hope the new face doesn't seek payback. In essence, this appears is what happened in Egypt.

Winston Smith 2009's picture

The west probably wants the Libyan rebels to lose. Since Libyan borders are a post-WWII artificial construct, without a dictator in charge Libya would fragment into tribes and would probably become a "failed state." A loss by the rebels would also help to douse any rebellions against other western-friendly tyrants in the region. Massacred rebels in Libya would make other rebels reconsider.

JR's picture

Maybe this report is properly sourced and maybe it isn’t. For me, I’m unable to look at it without bias because of Stratfor’s reputation.  And I’m hopeful ZH can find another, more reliable source for critical events such as this instead of pro-war, neocon George Friedman's.

Here’s a little of what I remember of Stratfor bias:

A Stratfor article in January 2009 argued that, despite their rhetoric, Arab regimes really supported Israel’s punitive invasion of the Gaza strip that began in late 2008 and inflicted many civilian casualties. Israel’s action was condemned by a UN report for war crimes and crimes against humanity; the Stratfor article implies the invasion was not a war crime… 

Among Friedman’s predictions:  America’s southwestern states will secede and join Mexico. This move toward a breakup of America will be brought about, according to Friedman, by large scale Mexican immigration to the region, the rising economic power of Mexico, and Mexico’s festering resentment over the U.S. conquest of its territory.

Stratfor’s Wikipedia entry describes a close working relationship with the U.S. military; Barron's refers to his private intelligence corporation as “The Shadow CIA."

Victor Berry's picture

Sunni vs Shiite and Arab vs Persian ... so how is this different from Protestant vs Catholic and Irish vs English ... that is, besides for the brown skinned and pasty white skinned people involved in the conflicts?

How the human race manages to avoid extinction due to mystical religious beliefs is beyond me!

Too bad the religious nutjobs, who think that people and dinosaurs coexisted and that celestial objects further away than 6000 light years don't exist, would self-rapture themselves out of existence for the good of the rest of humankind.