Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crackdown in Bahrain Leaves Protesters Dead

At least six protesters were killed when Bahraini security cleared out the main square where protesters had encamped demanding political and social reforms. The Bahraini security was backed by the Saudis, who are trying to keep the situation in Bahrain from spiraling out of control and spilling over into their own country, but the situation is just as likely to backfire leaving the Bahrainis and Saudis disaffected and demanding change. Moreover, it potentially puts the US in an awkward position since it has had close relations with both the Saudi and Bahraini regimes.

For the protesters, their next concern is that the regime will begin mass arrests.

Once again, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has to declare that the violent crackdowns seen elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa are unjustified - which is particularly ironic since Iran's mad mullahs and Ahmadinejad have had no problems doing the same with Iran's political opposition - including house arrests for key leading members of the opposition including Mirhussein Mousavi.

Ahmadinejad's action's aren't surprising though. He's trying to exploit the sectarian differences between the protesters in Bahrain, who are largely Shi'ite, and the Sunni ruling regime - a 1,000+ year schism that still causes violence to this day.

Uncertainty and a worsening security situation in Bahrain is leading some governments to warn its citizens to stay away or to leave the country, including the Philippines.

The crackdown has also sent oil prices higher, even though they had been drifting down since the Japanese quake likely resulted in lesser demand in the short term.

No comments: