Bahrain requests troops from Gulf States
The Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) is sending troops to the Kingdom of Bahrain after they requested assistance dealing with the opposition protesters and to protect government facilities. The opposition regards this as an occupation of their country by foreign forces. The civil unrest in Bahrain has continued. Protesters have refused to leave Pearl Square since hearing the news of foreign troops. They have also set up road blocks near the financial district of Manama. However, Bahrain authorities have urged the people to to “co-operate fully and to welcome” the troops, the AFP news agency reports.
Saudi officials report that approximately 1,000 Saudi Arabian troops were sent to the Kingdom of Bahrain and the UAE said it had sent 500 police officers. The Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) is made up of various Gulf States including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The GCC in Bahrain have been requested to guard oil and gas facilities and financial institutions.
Last month, seven anti-government protesters were killed by the security forces and violence increased on Sunday with many people injured. Reasons for the civil uprising and protests include religion and discrimination based upon religious differences. The Bahrain government is composed of Sunni Muslims headed by the Royal Family. The majority of the population is Shia Muslims who claim they suffer from discrimination, a lack of rights and freedoms, a lack of employment and economic power because of the ruling Sunni elite.
The US has stated: “We urge our GCC partners to show restraint and respect the rights of the people of Bahrain, and to act in a way that supports dialogue instead of undermining it.”
Hossein Amir Abdollahian, an official from the Iranian foreign ministry also commented on the situation. Ironically, Iran forbids demonstrations and protests in its own country but feels obliged to continually comment on the protests and uprisings in the Middle East. He said:
“The peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain are among the domestic issues of this country, and creating an atmosphere of fear and using other countries’ military forces to oppress these demands is not the solution.”
The U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the European Union have warned their citizens against travel to the Kingdom of Bahrain because of the continued violence and civil unrest.