Saudi Arabia sent 1,000 soldiers into neighboring Bahrain on Monday to help quell increasingly violent anti-government protests. While Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifah, a Sunni Muslim, has offered to start a dialogue with the mostly Shiite protesters, opposition leaders have refused, demanding that the government step down, and calling the arrival of foreign troops an invasion. Saudi Arabia has problems with its own Shiite minority, and fears the unrest in Bahrain could spill over into its own oil-rich kingdom. Will the Saudis be able to quash the unrest in Bahrain? (Watch an Al Jazeera report about the Saudi intervention)
Yes, and with a novel spin: Bahrain's royal family may be calling for dialogue, says Tahiyya Lulu at The Guardian, but it also called in the "big guns" to crush the protesters. Bahrain's opposition merely wants basic rights, but the regime has falsely labeled the demonstrators as "terrorists" and is trying to make it seem as if forces from neighboring Gulf states, led by the Saudis, are protecting Bahrain.
"Bahrain's regime talks softly while bringing the big guns in"
The Saudis can try, but it won't work: "The Saudi troops may succeed in quashing the demonstrations," says Aryn Baker at TIME, but they'll only strengthen the spirit driving the uprising. The protesters' demands are reasonable: Essentially, a constitutional monarchy — not the implementation of Shariah law or the expulsion of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which is stationed there. So the Saudi soldiers, fighting to protect "autocratic and dictatorial regimes," will ultimately wind up "on the wrong side of history."
"Why a Saudi intervention into Bahrain won't end the protests"
The Saudis claim they're not there to fight: According to Saudi Arabia, the troops have merely entered Bahrain in "a peaceful manner" to protect vital infrastructure, says Phillip Suderman at the Washington Examiner. If that's so, the arrival of soldiers from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states could be a sign that Middle Eastern nations are willing to take responsibility for stability in their own backyards. That would be an "indication that the U.S. is not needed to interfere in the nations around the region, such as Libya."
"Saudi Arabia sends troops into Bahrain, so why not Libya?"