The king of Bahrain has blamed a “foreign plot” for stoking unrest in his country and also thanked troops from neighboring countries for foiling the conspiracy and preserving order after many weeks of unyielding protest.
Bahraini government soldiers, in tandem with foreign troops sent primarily from Saudi Arabia, have brutally cracked down on anti-government dissent from the kingdom’s Shia majority, who are calling for democratic reforms, political freedom and an end to corruption.
The United States and United Nation have both condemned Bahrain’s use of excessive force against demonstrators.
According to the state-controlled Bahrain News Agency (BNA), Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa told the troops: An external plot has been fomented for 20 to 30 years until the ground was ripe for subversive designs ... I here announce the failure of the fomented plot.
He also said their presence in his kingdom gives us strength and bolsters our status. Bahrain is bigger and stronger today than ever.
In addition, Hamad also warned the troops that a successful plot in one Persian Gulf nation could spill to the others, BNA said.
The strong implication is that Iran (a country dominated by Shias) is behind the “plot.” Iran has officially condemned the violence against Bahraini Shias as well as the importation for Saudi troops onto Bahraini soil.
(Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and various other regional nations are ruled by Sunni Muslims).
In fact, Iran has complained to the United Nations and is seeking support from Arab countries to pressure the Saudis to remove their troops from Bahrain.
Iran and Bahrain have already taken diplomatic action against one another -- Bahrain deported the Iranian charge d'affaires in the kingdom on Sunday, after accusing him consorting with Bahraini opposition groups, according to reports. In retaliation, Tehran expelled a Bahraini diplomat.
Bahrain is a crucial ally of the United States in the region; and it is the home base for the US navy's 5th fleet.
Reuters has reported that an uneasy calm has returns to the capitol city of Manama, although about 2,000 people joined a funeral procession in the Shia-dominated town of Buri. They chanted Down with Al Khalifa, reports claim.
The funeral was for a man who was found beaten to death after being missing for several days.
An official from the Wefaq opposition said almost 100 people have been reported missing since the crackdown, according to Reuters.
We don't know anything about [the missing], we've asked hospital and ministry authorities and none of them are telling us anything about them, said Hadi al-Moussawi, a former Wefaq MPs.