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Islands of Bahrain

Reports have surfaced today suggesting Saudi Arabia has dispatched troops to Bahrain, which is between the kingdom and Iran, and that has resulted in speculation from Tehran that it, too, may send troops to protect the Shi’ite majority on the island, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The Bahraini regime, led by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, already has invited troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which Saudi Arabia is a member, to quell the continuing violent unrest that is threatening the stability of the government.

Shi’ite protesters are demonstrating against what they see as repressive measures by the Sunni-led government. Indeed, many members of the Shi’a community have had many of their possessions confiscated, and have been forced to leave the country.

According to G2 sources, all Shi’a were required to prove that they did not belong to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which the United States and Israel regard as a terrorist group.

Demonstrations for political reform initially resulted in the killing of a number of protesters but, following international condemnation, Crown Prince Sahman bin Lamad al-Khalifa ordered security forces withdrawn and had been calling for talks with the opposition.

The demonstrations, however, have continued, sometimes turning violent.

The mostly Sunni Saudi kingdom is quite concerned over the rise of Shi’ism, which is predominant in the Saudi Eastern province where most of the country’s oil production occurs.

The Shi’a in that province are heavily influenced by the Shi’a in nearby Bahrain.

Some 1,000 Saudi troops reportedly entered Bahrain over the weekend. Saudi military intervention, however, has occurred before, when the Saudi kingdom sent in troops in 1994 out of concern that Shi’ite unrest then threatened the al-Khalifa regime.

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