Saudi Arabia has dispatched more than 1,000 troops to Bahrain to help Manama quash sweeping anti-government protests calling for reform in the island kingdom.
The move by Riyadh comes almost two decades after its military deployments in Kuwait following Iraq’s invasion of the emirate in 1990.
Riyadh’s military intervention in its tiny Persian Gulf neighbor was not welcomed by the United States and faced a retaliatory military action from Washington.
Bahraini protesters, led by the country’s Shia majority and inspired by popular revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, have been calling for greater freedom, a constitutional monarchy and political change. Agencies
But taking a U-turn of policy, the US is now supporting the recent Saudi incursion which took place upon an invitation by the embattled Sunni-dominated Bahraini government. Washington has also refrained from calling the Saudi military deployment an “invasion.”
On Tuesday, witnesses said Saudi troops prevented ambulances from delivering injured Bahraini protesters to hospitals.
Violating resolutions by the UN and the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, the Saudi military interference comes at a time when massive protests have paralyzed educational and economic institutions across Bahrain.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for a meaningful and broad-based national dialogue and urged Bahrain’s neighbors and the international community to support a negotiated process and an environment conducive for credible reform in the country.