Violent Clashes Break Out In Saudi Island Neighbor Bahrain, Home To US Navy's 5th Fleet

Tyler Durden's picture

Following Algeria over the weekend, the latest country to see an escalation in rioting following the revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt, is the tiny island of Bahrain, situated just off the coast of Saudi Arabia, which just happens to be home to the US Navy's 5th fleet. From the Washington Post: "Bahrain's security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets Monday at
thousands of anti-government protesters heeding calls to unite in a
major rally and bring the Arab reform wave to the Gulf for the first
time." We are currently searching to bring readers a live feed, but don't hold your breath. As noted above, this country is situated just off Saudi, and the last thing the oil exporting country needs to show is how volatile the region has suddenly become despite attempts by various emirates in the region to purchase the loyalty of their citizens.

From WaPo:

Riot police - some firing bird shot pellets - moved against marchers in various sites to prevent a mass gathering in the capital, Manama, that organizers intended as an homage to Egypt's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the popular revolt that drove Hosni Mubarak from power.

Bahrain's protesters, however, claim they do not seek to overthrow the ruling monarchy but want greater political freedoms and sweeping changes in how the country is run.

Social media sites have been flooded with calls by an array of political youth groups, rights activists and others to join demonstrations later Monday, a symbolic day in Bahrain as the anniversary of the country's 2002 constitution that brought pro-democracy reforms such as an elected parliament.

But opposition groups seek deeper changes from the country's ruling dynasty, including transferring more decision-making powers to the parliament and breaking the monarchy's grip on senior government posts. Bahrain's majority Shiites - about 70 percent of the population - have long complained of systemic discrimination by the Sunni rulers.

The nation - no bigger in area than New York City - is among the most politically volatile in the Gulf. A crackdown on perceived dissidents last year touched off riots and street battles in Shiite areas.

On a highway to the capital, marchers ran for cover under a cloud of tear gas and barrage of bird shot fired by police. In the mostly Shiite village of Diraz, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to halt a march by hundreds of peaceful demonstrators waving Bahraini flags and chanting: "No Shiites, no Sunnis, only Bahrainis."

And here is why all attempts to buy the good will of your citizens, will always eventually backfire.

Bahrain's leaders have responded to the "Day of Rage" calls with concessions aimed at appeasing the protesters.

Government regulators have promised to ease state controls on the media. Last week, Bahrain's king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, granted each Bahraini family the equivalent of nearly $2,700. Bahrain lacks the energy riches of most other Gulf nations and cannot afford to match the generous social programs common in the region.

Next up- the people will demand more, then even more, until Bahrain will be forced to do what all other bankrupt countries do: print bonds with impunity (which they concurrently monetize).

In fact, the more we think about it, it is about time the race to the monetary bottom was joined by the Persian Gulf countries.

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dick cheneys ghost's picture

iran too and keep your eyes on pakistan........



SheepDog-One's picture

Algeria set to blow up.

Sudden Debt's picture

Actually Vietnam is number 1 on the list of next rioting countries as they just devalued their currency 8.5%!!



Cleanclog's picture

Yemen will be the one that ignites the penninsula, not Bahrain.  But Bahrain could motivate Yemenites.  Especially if Saudi Arabia doesn't clamp down hard.

critical_mass_soon's picture

Im curious to know why you think Yemen is the catalyst? do you care to go into abit more detail?

BorisTheBlade's picture

Wiki spells it somewhat right:


Yemen is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the Arab World, with a formal 65% employment rate, dwindling natural resources, a young population and increasing population growth. Yemen's economy is weak compared to most countries in the Middle-East, mainly because Yemen has very small oil reserves

Rampant corruption is a prime obstacle to development in the country, limiting local reinvestments and driving away regional and international capital. The government has recently taken many measures to stamp out corruption, but efforts have been only partly successful. Foreign investments remain largely concentrated around the nation's hydrocarbon industry.


Not to mention that population is almost like that of Saudi Arabia: 24 vs. 25 mln. Country is a disaster by all means, maybe it will take time for Yemen to ignite on a full scale, but when it does, it can easily destabilize neighboring Saudi.

Bahrain is puny by comparison: an overall population of 1 mln., of which 500 are expats, mostly from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philipinnes etc., who are on a frequent basis put in jail and then subsequently deported once start causing any trouble. Plus, Bahrain is already one of the most liberal places in the Gulf, one where you can actually go and get a hooker without any repercussions except for (potentially) STD. So, Bahrain is mostly a follow-up on Egypt, where Iran is also playing its hand with Shia minority.

Cleanclog's picture

Kudos to Boris and apologies to CMS - I was away for past 2 hours.

Yes, Yemen's population is young, poor, and unemployed - therefore idle and looking for action and change. Have less to lose than eastern peninsula states.  Also, the only democracy on the peninsula - not as entrenched as the emirates or kingdoms with respect to military and government power intertwined.  Easier to topple.

Also, it's location is very strategic for oil movements and Saudi borders.  It has sea access to Gulf of Oman,  the Red Sea, and the Arabian Sea.  A genuine potential threat to Saudi Arabia if it disintegrates.  Would Saudi invade?  That is another reason to watch Bahrain (though the US would probably take care of Bahrain for the Saudis, in part because of the naval base).  

Yemen exports oil, coffee and sea products but must import much of its food, livestock and machinery/moving parts.    About 50% of people live below the poverty line, so any increase in food prices are very difficult to absorb and move more into angry hunger. 

Ripe to roar and potentially destabilizing to Saudi Arabia.  Especially combined with Egypt.

critical_mass_soon's picture

islamic prophecy mentions yemen as a potential turning point in the state of the world as we currently know it, it mention this in relation to the downfall of the current saudi leadership

sjradeljic's picture

I believe Bahrain was once part of Iran.  The majority of the population are Shiites.  Bahrain is "controlled" by Sunnis.......what can go wrong?

Gigliola Cinquetti's picture

You sir , are spot on . It's an artificially created state , a direct result of the protectorate of the English Empire in that region

Bringin It's picture

No, he's not spot on.  When was Yemen part of Iran?  Try never.

Yes, all these costal entities were created by the British to control piracy.  The deal given was stop the pirates/ a.k.a armed entrepeneurs from operating from your port and you get money and protection.  Don't take the agreement and we level your port.

ShankyS's picture

If you are into preparedness and the survival thing, I have the owner of a suvivalist site coming to the blog today at 4:00 if you want to ask questions. Should be interesting. See my link on the left.

youngman's picture

It will spread...and it will be will leave...probably go to the dollar...LOL...but gold and silver will go up also..oil will go up highs I bet... but it won´t help the food problems..still short...boy is this getting exciting...

americanspirit's picture

Chenysghost is absolutely right - Pakistan is the big one. And unlike in Egypt, their military is riddled with religious fanatic/dissidents. The US government may think it has control of Pakistan's nukes, but you want to bet any real money on that? Another major difference - the only power in Egypt's region with nukes was Israel - nominally Egypt's buddy. Pakistan's neighbor India is full of nukes, and there are groups in each country who would gladly be immolated (stairway do heaven, doncha know) if it meant the other country was also. Food riots have a LONG history in both countries, and they get big and nasty quickly. Let's not forget the tens of millions of Pakistanis displaced by the floods last year. They are still huddled in camps, still starving to death, and still very angry at the wealthy elite-controlled government that has shown them no mercy. At least some of these millions have relatives in the Paki military. It is a powderkeg and the fuse has already been burning for quite a while. And don't even mention those drone strikes on schools, weddings, etc.

Batty Koda's picture

Drone strikes on innocent civilians? Would the Pakistani government do such a wicked thing?

While we're on the topic of destabilisation I'd like to point out that the reason the power elite are trying to destroy the government of Pakistan is their friendliness towards China. The US is tying to carry out the Bernard Lewis plan in the Middle East, they want to carve up strong, once independant states like Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan along racial boundaries making them weaker and more susceptible to Anglo-American Influence.

The name of the game is destabilisation, the wars, the coups, the drone attacks all aiming towards the breakdown of national governments.

Temporalist's picture
Protests Gather Steam in Tehran

"Thousands of Iranians gathered in several locations across Tehran Monday, heeding calls in recent days by opposition leaders to demonstrate in solidarity with Egyptian and Tunisian protesters, who recently toppled their own regimes."


Iraqis in Baghdad protest bad services, corruption


Rocks, batons fly in Yemen protests

AN0NYM0US's picture

Unlike Egypt those who are doing the protests in Iran are the secular elites who are a small minority in comparison to the religious uneducated majority who are generally content in their poverty.  The west would love a popular uprising in Iran but there is not the critical mass no matter how hard CNN tries to argue otherwise, and the military are not as benevolent as their counterparts in Egypt.

sabra1's picture

all this is not my fault!

the bernank:

dwdollar's picture

It will be interesting to watch the US play this one.  What happens if the Navy is told to leave?

Oh regional Indian's picture

Pakistan here and Syria there. 

Pak = Pure. Stan = Place

Makes sense that they would launch something big in the Pure Place/land.

US relations with Pakistand has to the most cognitive dissonsnce inducing, intrigue filled back-stabbing diplomatic heniousness known.


TradingJoe's picture

Very short term ALL WILL "CORRECT", then OIL GOLD SILVER WILL RALLY HARD, EMs will plunge further, SPs and Dow will plunge further, All Commodities Staples will RUNNNN! At least this is the "image" at this point in time, but as we all know, it can ALL "suddenly" change!?

The $ will meet a huge short lived "safe haven demand" and so on...! So what's the point in all of this anymore?!?!



eddiebe's picture

Trader, staying short means staying in dollars and t bonds? Doesn't seem too smart to me.

Hammurabi's picture

Iran give billions of dollars in the las decades to bring down regime in the ME like Egypt, Bahrain, lebanon, Iran is the winner of what is happening in the ME, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria are under the control of iran

bunkermeatheadprogeny's picture

China is the real winner. It comes down to good old fashioned checkerboard theory geopolitics.

China's historical enemy has been India. Now, both countries are economic enemies, vying for food for their huge populace while also competing with each other to be economic superpowers.

India's other historical enemy has been the muslims (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran).

Israel's historical enemy is also the muslims, so Israel and India are allies.

Following the enemy of my enemy is my friends, China has always been friendly with the muslim countries (remember Iran's silkworm missiles?)

So here is the alliance lineups:

U.S. (the govt., not the people, because the leaders are bought off by zionists lobbyist)

U.K (ditto as the U.S.)

Israel (causing all the trouble)

India (because it had no choice, it can't ally itself with the muslim border countries)




China and all the muslim countries



karzai_luver's picture

Chicoms pray every night that the US would nuke any muzzie that forms in a group of 2 or more.


They are not allied with moozies.


Try tacks or something, your real politics stink.

Quick Ollie is on line1 for yah!


AnAnonymous's picture

Following the enemy of my enemy is my friends


That is a conception developped by Muslims that indeed shaped quite a lot of relations in the US driven world.


This said, it is very doubtful that China or India share this approach.

bunkermeatheadprogeny's picture

India/Israel relationship:

India Main article: Indo-Israeli relations

India established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in 1992 and has since become Israel's strongest ally in Asia.[66][67] The two countries cooperate in anti-terrorist activities in the Middle East and Southern Asia. Israel is India's largest arms provider and India is Israel's principal arms market, and the trade volume between the two countries has increased significantly in the past few years.[68] Co-operation has taken place in the space sector as well with India launching Israeli satellites.

Israel and India share intelligence on terrorist groups. They have developed close defense and security ties since establishing diplomatic relations in 1991. Israel is India's biggest arms supplier, overtaking Russia in 2009. India has bought more than $5 billion worth of Israeli equipment since 2002. In addition, Israel is training Indian military units and discussing an arrangement to give Indian commandos instruction in counter-terrorist tactics and urban warfare.[69] In December 2008, Israel and India signed a memorandum to set up an Indo-Israel Legal Colloquium to facilitate discussions and exchange programs between judges and jurists of the two countries.[70]

AnAnonymous's picture

Countries sharing intel...

What an evidence.

eddiebe's picture

Bunker, I believe the bigger picture is this: The bankers tell all the governments you mention what to do via coersion or U.S. military threat/ intervention.

Batty Koda's picture

I don't think it's quite so simple, China and Russia are the enemies of the west, everything the banksters do is aimed towards them. They can't have their global neo-fuedal government until they destroy Moscow and Beijing.

Bringin It's picture

India is the world's second largest Muslim county by population.

India (because it had no choice, it can't ally itself with the muslim border countries)

It could if it allowed self-determination in Kashmir.  Like it did in Hyderabad.  Fair is fair.

americanspirit's picture

Saudi has just announced they will protect Mubarak's stolen gold against all claims

The rats sure do stick together - and together they will burn. MMMM I love the smell of roasted rat in the morning.

youngman's picture where do they fit in this play.....the final chapter I think...they will be made the villian and attacked at the end...

Temporalist's picture

Seriously who cares about Israel?  Mostly people care because the have nukes but I am asking who cares in the sense that they have their own interests just like every other country and they have corruption and they have politicians and sycophants and bankers just like everyone else.  Israelis are no different than people anywhere.  Maybe they will start riots and protests too some day against their war hawks and hard liners and theocrats.  Maybe they should support uprising in the Middle East to show solidarity against oppressive regimes and attempt to make peaceful partnerships without military fear mongering and the typical kleptocratic wedge drivers.  Perhaps the youth will lead the way.


eddiebe's picture

The youth, Hahahaha, good one! the ambitious ones are trying to feed themselves with low wage jobs, if they can find them; the rest are skating around with their pants hanging down the middle of their skinny asses or smoking dope.

Temporalist's picture

It has been the starving unemployed youth of the Middle East rising up.  They have nothing to lose.

Bringin It's picture

Existential Threat!!  Existential Threat!!

Everyone, every people have their own existential threats.  Threats include nuclear warheads with the Star of David painted on the side.

Some people are supposed to live with their existential threats.  Some peope create their own existential threats.

Dapper Dan's picture

Odd,  the protesters are labeled anti-government before a topple,

but are pro-democracy after.

MolotovCockhead's picture

Next...Pakistan....Bangladesh...Indonesia...if the price of rice go through the roof.

Josh Randall's picture

If Bharain gets up, we'll all get up, it'll be anarchy...

Zina's picture

Talking about Bahrain...


I laugh on all the confused folks who thinks that taxation is "avoidable". No, taxation is not avoidable. Taxation is unavoidable, in any kind of civilized society, because any kind of civilized society needs a least a small structure of government, and this structure needs money to work.

Well... In fact, there is an alternative to taxation... See some arab countries like Bahrain and Qatar. The governments of those countries earn so much money through the oil exports, that they don't need to tax the population.

So, if you invent a new way for the government to earn money, then, theoretically, the government wouldn't need taxes to survive.

Maybe one option is choose one specific sector of the economy, and "give" that sector to the government, so a government-owned company could have the monopoly over that sector, and with the profits of the company, the government could have the money to survive and provide the much needed public services (like the construction and maintenance of streets and roads).

For example: in the US, the fast food market could be a government monopoly. McDonalds and KFC could be "nationalized", and become a giant government-owned fast-food company. All other private companies should be forbidden of selling hamburgers, fries and other crap food. Only "McGovernment" could do that kind of business, in a monopolistic way. I'm sure the government would make huge profits from this company, and would never ever need to impose taxes on the population again...

Intuition's picture

Why does any civilized society "need" at least a bit of government? You do realize that all services provided by government have been, at some point or another, successfully provided by entities other than government, right?

AnAnonymous's picture

Taxation is unavoidable, in any kind of civilized society, because any kind of civilized society needs a least a small structure of government, and this structure needs money to work.


That is slighty different and it operates at even a lower level.

Not so long ago, I experienced from first hand, like so many around the world, that one plus one is three when it come to human association.

When dating a person, there was always the creation of another entity and another entity that requires resources investment in order to endure.

Me plus another person equals me, another person and the couple. The couple requires money to sustain.

Dont invest money on the couple and through time, it will dissolve, vanquished by attrition.

It is even lower that a government: it is human association that creates a structure that needs resources to survive.

SPONGE's picture

' What happens if the Navy is told to leave?"

They won't. 

velobabe's picture

H O T bed, bitchez†

Ancona's picture

If the Gulf nations not currently ablaze with protests step in with military force, it will only strengthen the resolve of the protesters and maybe even bring more in to the game. They had better be careful and use a measured approach to this.

bmwm395's picture

 Bahrain is the "sin-city"of the ME.  What goes on in Bahrain stays in Bahrain.


Hedgetard55's picture

The Radical Muslims are making an all out effort now, because they know their ally in the White House, Pres. Soetoro will not be around for more than two more years.