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Bahrain stuck between Saudi Arabia and Iran

While protesters in Libya are attacked by armed insurgents the country is met with the UN resolution on no-fly zone and expanded sanctions. Bahrain’s security forces shoots down unarmed civilian demonstrators in the streets, breaks into private homes and have blocked the country’s largest hospital – where doctors cannot escape and patients cannot get in.

But still Bahrain’s brutal ruler Hamad al-Khalifa and his regime is not brought before the UN Security Council. Maybe it’s because this is a country that both the West and the Arab world need.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his deepest concern for what is happening in Bahrain and EU and NATO has asked authorities in the country to refrain from violence and resolve problems in the country through political dialogue.

The attack on demonstrators in Manama and other cities Wednesday was extremely brutal and reminded of Kadhafis forces. 6 people were killed and hundreds must have been injured. But the most serious is the situation at Salmaniya Hospital in the capital Manama, Bahrain’s largest and most modern. For some reason, the authorities found that the staff of this hospital is the demonstrator’s supporters – and must be punished – in a manner that violates everything called human rights.

SECURITY FORCES, according to eyewitnesses from both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain surrounded the hospital as no patients were allowed to enter, however, doctors and nurses who have tried to move out to retrieve the wounded, gets beaten up. Medicines and medical supplies is needed and cry for help from hospitals from telephone alone says; “Why will not the world help us?”

Now, sick people, whether they are shot or are acutely ill, brought to smaller hospitals with equipment that in many cases is not good enough to take care of their injuries. The government cares little for so long as the world is most concerned with Kadhafi.

What makes Bahrain so special?

As a small island in the Persian Gulf, the island is strategically important to the oil-rich area. With growing criticism of the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain has become more important and with such U.S. interests, the country has also importance in the NATO context. The Sunni Muslim King Hamad is a good ally of the West, so he has a far greater scope in terms of violence than less good friends. So it is just.

But Bahrain is also important for the Arab countries, not least for the six members of the Gulf Council GCC, in which Saudi Arabia plays the lead role. Golf Council cooperates politically, militarily and economically. In the geopolitical game is primarily one enemy you are interested in, and it is Iran.

Nearly 70% of the citizens of Bahrain’s Shiite Muslims, but Arabs . The possibility that they will team up with their Persian-Iranian co-religionists is small, but this argument is used as a pretext for the necessity of maintaining “stability” in Bahrain. Saudi Arabia has in principle a more urgent problem. The majority of the population in the oil-rich Al-Hasa province in eastern Saudi Arabia’s Shiite’s and the Saudi royal family fears a spillover effect from Bahrain. It is perhaps the main reason that the country Monday sent 1,000 soldiers to Bahrain to help the King Hamad to quell the revolt.

Arab Leaders Take Strong Measures – Middle East Crisis

King of Bahrain handing out 2728$ per family after Mubarak was pressured to resign.

Many of Egypt and Tunisia’s neighbors have tried to adopt cautious reforms to stop similar protest movements in their own countries. On Thursday, the King of Jordan, King Abdullah, formed a new government with both an Islamist and five left-wing politicians among the 26 ministers after recent weeks where protesters in Amman demanded political and economic changes. Prime Minister Mohammed Abu Hammur has a difficult job as he needs to calm down the protesters who demand cheaper food and energy. At the same time he must reassure the World Bank and the United States, who fear that the economy is out of hand again with subsidies.

The little Gulf state Bahrain has a history with strong conflicts among Sunni and Shia Muslims and already last summer huge violent riots occurred. While Shiites form the majority, the Sunnis have the control. Although Bahrain has a parliamentary system, many Shiites feel that they have a harder time getting access to public benefits and jobs than sunnimuslims have. Monday is the 10th anniversary for the country’s constitution, and it has been notified of demonstrations. Precisely for close ties to the United States was one of the objections against the Mubarak regime in Egypt, and the same thing is been said about Bahrain. So as a solution, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, announced on Friday that all families will receive 2728$ to stop the planned protests.

U.S. allies in the Middle East have put hard pressure on Washington to keep a protective hand over Hosni Mubarak. Along with Jordan, countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel warned of the spread of contagion if Mubarak is expelled. Saudi Arabia is America’s other strong allies in the Arab countries.

In Kuwait, all demonstrations have been banned after yesterday’s Friday prayers in mosques.

This week it was suddenly possible to get in on Facebook and YouTube in Syria who follows after the neighbouring countries as these popular sites have been closed for three years.

Iranian television announced that Mubarak’s departure is a major victory for the Egyptian people but the opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi was placed under house arrest after he called for demonstrations on Monday. The aim of the demonstrations was to show support for the rebellion in Egypt and Tunisia.

In Yemen proclaimed President Ali Abdullah Saleh is already in early February that he will not seek re-election and that he did not want his son to take over power in the country. He has tried to calm the protests by promising half of the level of taxation and impose price controls on food.

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