March 14, 2011
Oh bloody hell: 1000 Saudi troops to Bahrain
This is not going to do nice things to oil pricing, not nice things at all: Libya and Middle East uprising - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk
2.22pm: More on Bahrain. This just in from Reuters:Nor does Bahrain's "moderate future" look bright. Perhaps Qatar would like to build a brand spanking new naval city?
About 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered Bahrain early on Monday to protect government facilities following recent unrest by the country's Shia Muslim majority, a Saudi official source said.
"About 1,000 Saudi soldiers have entered Bahrain early on Monday morning through the causeway to Bahrain," the source told Reuters. "They are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) force that would guard the government installations".
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I can't find the open thread, but it's not only Bahrain -- do have a look at Yemen too.
Saleh's rule seems to be melting away fast now, but there's no successor available, and the opposition is both too weak and too divided to pick up the reins. Possibly Hamid el-Ahmar could step in with support of other factions if there's time for an election, but I doubt he could keep the place together for long -- I doubt anyone can, including Saleh.
Not as spectacular and media-friendly as some of the other Arab revolutions, but *really* fucking important. Imagine how Saudi Arabia feels about their entire southern flank turning into an Arab Somalia on steroids. Now that's bad for oil prices...
Posted by: alle at March 14, 2011 02:31 PM
Yes Yemen looks like its going into major chaos. Its always been an improvished place, like the poorest country in the ME and very similar to Somalia, also very tribal with no obvious leader. And I speak as a Somali who lived in Yemen for a long time.
Posted by: N at March 14, 2011 08:37 PM
I am not all that concerned about Yemen because... well Yemen is Yemen. There is less real blowback into the Peninsula, and frankly the change from Saleh to Chaos is one more of degree (or maybe the removal of a fiction of actual central Gov).
So in short, not really important re KSA southern flank as I don't believe it fundamentally changes the situ as such (given the fairly theoretical nature of Yemen central authority in the tribal uplands). What is rather more important is the Straights.
There, that is important. Bab El Mandeb is a key transit point for shipping. If that become something too dangerous - and Somali pirates are already causing problems - then there are serious issues. And issues new, unlike the Yemeni uplands.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at March 15, 2011 10:04 AM
See this USG Dep Energy page: http://www.eia.doe.gov/cabs/World_Oil_Transit_Chokepoints/Full.html
That's the worrisome part. If Yemeni hill tribes continue their ancient tradition of killing each other pointlessly, well... not really a global problem. But if the Straights are put in danger, whole different ballgame.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at March 15, 2011 10:08 AM
Bahrain is a relatively liberal state, too. They don’t have all the Wahhabist bullshit imposed on their citizens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saudi invasion changed some of that.
Posted by: Atlanta Roofing at March 16, 2011 11:52 PM