Those seeking the spark that will set off the next middle east conflagration can finally rest easy. Reuters reports that Shi'ite-ruled Iran sent a flotilla to Bahrain on Monday to show solidarity with mainly Shi'ite Muslim protesters, escalating tensions with the island kingdom that is home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. As a reminder, Barhain is the nation that imposed a total and complete media blackout, going so far as to expel a Reuters correspondent, while most likely continuing its atrocities against protesting Shi'ites, which has raised the specter of a possible war erupting on the tiny island home, so critical to the US navy, and situated only 60 miles away from the world's largest Gwahar oil field. If Iran is serious about this latest escalation between Shi'ites and Sunnis, and it certainly appears to be, all hell may break loose as this could be the straw that not only breaks the proverbial camel's back but launches a full out Gulf States war (and woe to those short CL in a worst case scenario that sees the involvement of Israel, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, not to mention all of the the middle eastern countries).
It was not clear when the convoy might reach Bahrain, which has a majority Shi'ite population but is ruled by a Sunni king.
Bahrain, which has cracked down on pro-democracy protesters in recent weeks, has criticised the decision to send the flotilla and accused non-Arab Iran of interfering its affairs.
Iran's English-language Press TV said 120 activists, including professors, students and clerics, were aboard the convoy, sent to condemn the killing of Bahraini protesters.
"The convoy will seek to get permission to get inside Bahraini waters. However, it is very unlikely that at this point in time the Bahraini government would allow this," it said.
In an interview with Al Arabiya television, the head of Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority, Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed al-Khalifa, said the move was unacceptable.
"This is a blatant interference in Bahrain's internal affairs, especially since Bahrain does not ask for humanitarian aid from ... Iran," he said.
In a sign that the flotilla could heighten sectarian tensions in the Gulf, one newspaper reported that Kuwait would protect its neighbour from any Iranian threat.
Kuwait has sent navy units to Bahrain as part of a regional force deployed in Bahrain in March to help end weeks of unrest inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.
"Kuwait will not hesitate to defend the Kingdom of Bahrain against any danger that may threaten its security," the al-Watan daily quoted an unnamed senior Kuwaiti source as saying.
"Bahrain's waters are a red line, and Kuwait naval forces deployed there ... will not allow any Iranian ship to approach the kingdom's shores."
It may be time to go long crude all over again...