Iran considers Bahrain as part of its territory. 30% of the population are of Persian descent with relatives in Iran. The majority Muslim sect in the country is that of Iran – Shiite. A Sunni minority lives and Rules in Bahrain.
Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince, has repeatedly sought to open a dialogue with the demonstrators, with a view to addressing their concerns. But the more the royal family has attempted to reach out, the more intransigent the demands of the protest movement have become.
Things took a dark turn when royal forces opened fire on the protesters and reached a point of no return when the Royal Family called in troops from Suni Saudi Arabia.
The battle for Bahrain will be the beginning of sectarian religious wars in the area that could be the fuse to ignite the entire region. It would paralyze western economies and create a chaos in the oil fields that could burn for months.
Forget Libia and Egypt – all of north Africa. Center court in this match features Iran and Bahrain both of which have now recalled their Ambassadors. Of course Ahmadinijad has issued dire warnings. This is a standoff over a roaring fire and extinguishing it will be as difficult as securing a Japanese nuclear plant.
…[B]ahraini government loyalists have sought to discredit the protest movement by alleging ties to Iran and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.The anti-government protest movement includes Shiite opposition parties who have complained of mistreatment at the hands of the Sunni-dominated government. Protesters maintain they are motivated by political, not sectarian, grievances, and deny any ties to foreign powers.
The Western powers are running out of options in the region and their current allies appear to be vulnerable to replacement either by weaponry or the will of the people.