Saudi Arabia says it has responded to a “security threat” in neighboring Bahrain by staging a 1,000-troop invasion in an attempt to quell escalating anti-government protests.
“The council of ministers has confirmed that it has answered a request by Bahrain for support,” Riyadh said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.
It said that under an agreement of the six-country [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, “any harm done to the security of a member state is considered a harm done to the security of all members.”
A Saudi official said Monday that more than 1,000 troops, part of the Persian Gulf countries’ Peninsula Shield Force, had entered Bahrain.
This came as Bahrain’s opposition said it considered any foreign military intervention to be an occupation.
“We consider the arrival of any soldier, or military vehicle, into Bahraini territory…. an overt occupation of the kingdom of Bahrain and a conspiracy against the unarmed people of Bahrain,” said an opposition statement.
It called on the international community to act to ensure the “protection of the people of Bahrain from the danger of foreign military intervention.”
Meanwhile, Bahraini protesters are gathering in Pearl Square to protest against the occupation.
The Saudi intervention comes two days after US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Manama and held talks with King Hamada bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Gates said he urged the king to undertake rapid and significant reform. Agencies