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Puppeteers and puppets of the Middle East

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 10:17

In a small prosperous kingdom of Bahrain, one of the most open and liberal Arab countries, which is rich in oil, fresh water, marine resources that make up the backbone of the economy of this state, happened mass protests of opposition. The riots began in February 2011 on the Pearl Square of the capital, which was later renamed in Tahrir Square (Liberation). Most of the media described this popular uprising in Bahrain as a riot, now common in the Arab world. However, it seems that the main reason for the revolution in the Middle East should be considered an increase in social and economic problems (unemployment, poverty and corruption). But the unrests in Bahrain were religious in nature, since the conflict situation between the Shiite majority and Sunni ruling elite has always existed. The Shiite opposition demanded from the rulers of the kingdom to provide political rights and freedoms, more working places and other preferences. Shiite protests were directed against the infringement of rights on religious grounds, as all the important political and military posts in the country were occupied by Sunni Muslims that made the minority in the state. As a result of the unrests, the split of the country on the religious basis became apparent. Thousands of people demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and the destruction of the monarchy. Shiite awakening had more political than socio-economic overtones, as it is wrongly interpreted by the world community. The rallies were brutally suppressed by the Sunni police; water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas were used to disperse them.
According to political analysts, the unrests in the areas of Manama were organized by Iran in response to the strengthening of the position of the opposition movement "Green". At the same time, some remarks of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicate support for the Iranian opposition. "The Iranians deserve the same rights that were received by the Egyptians and that they have from their birth. We clearly and directly support the aspirations of the people on the streets of Tehran" - this statement from a famous political figure of the USA was a clear conflict stimulant and further destabilized the situation in Iran.
As a result of the political games Bahrain became a battlefield, where the interests of Iran and the USA clashed, and they, of course, intend to dot the i. Iran used the weapon in the form of support for the Shiite opposition. In turn, under the pretext of preventing mass protests in the country, the Government of Bahrain asked to direct military units from the Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and UAE), because they could not cope with unrests without their help. If to remember the fact that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are strategic allies of the USA, it is possible to believe that the U.S. intelligence contributed to the military intervention in the oil monarchies. Washington is interested in the political stability of Bahrain, as in the small country there is one of the largest military air bases of the United States that controls the situation around the Persian Gulf and allows to have an unidirectional game without other players.
An important factor contributing to the beginning of a popular uprising in Manama is also a large-scale geopolitical rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. As it was stated above, there are versions that the interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain was planned by Iran. It is believed that such intervention is the only way for Iran to attract attention and to state itself as the strongest Shiite state, hegemony in the Middle East. It should be also noted that in Bahrain two-thirds of the population are Shiites, while in Saudi Arabia the presence of a substantial Sunni rulers in Manama is very essential. Since Bahrain is under the strong influence of Riyadh, so he naturally would not allow the rebels to achieve reforms, because "the Shiite plague" could spread to neighboring Saudi Arabia and provoke unrests of local Shiites being inspired by the events in Bahrain. Therefore, military intervention of Saudis in Bahrain was an important step in stabilizing the situation in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh, feeling the rapid rush of Iran towards the dominance in the region, decided to rearrange the figures on a chessboard, which was proved by a recent Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah meeting with the monarch of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on defense, foreign affairs and finance. And so the leadership of Manama handed the reins to these three most important structures of Saudi Arabia. At the same time the Saudis began the construction of the largest military base in the Persian Gulf on the territory of Bahrain and its main objective is to prevent the Iranian threat. "Friendly" relations between the two countries are not far from ignition, which may be the next opposition in the Arab world.
Events in Bahrain had extremely raised tensions not only between Tehran and Manama, but also Iran and the countries of the Persian Gulf, so in the end of March in Riyadh there was a meeting of foreign ministers of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG). According to the news agency "RIA News", based on the results of meetings of the CCASG there was a statement urging the world community and UN Security Council to take all necessary measures to stop the Iranian interference, and to make them stop to provoke discord and strife in the member countries of the CCASG. Iran immediately responded to these demands, which was followed by a series of counter-claims by the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who demanded the Saudi government to withdraw the armed forces from the territory of the Kingdom and accused the CCASG in subordinating to the USA influence. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran also did not stay away, promising to file a complaint to the Human Rights Council of the UNO and the Security Council of the UNO about the CCASG and the leadership of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. At the same time the foreign trade department of Iran called the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf to account for the blood shed by the participants of popular uprisings in Bahrain.
The confessional oppositions in Bahrain was merely a pretext for stirring up conflict, as in all times, the religious issue has always been and will always be unsteady border between religions, nations and people, and prudent "speculators" skillfully took advantage of the existing problem in the country and used the situation in the right way. As a result, the Shiites, who conducted mass protests, were suppressed and crushed, dozens of people were injured, hundreds of employees were barred from jobs for taking part in anti-government rallies. Ultimately, the basic problems remained unsolved, and the country's Shiite majority was in fact a Shiite "minority."



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