In a span of one month, King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain unleashed a merciless repression campaign against his subjects.
More than 80 % of the adult population participated in this spring’s peaceful protest movement, demanding the democratization of the monarchy.
• Washington is concerned that the nationalist awakening will call into question the concession contract for Juffair, a port which is home to the fifth US fleet and the naval command of CentCom.
• Paris is afraid that a revolution would jeopardize the recent defense agreements signed with the kingdom.
• London considers that any loss of power suffered by the monarch would spell a loss of its influence over this former colony which has had a semblance of independence only since 1971.
• Riyad fears that any advancement toward democracy or social progress in neighboring Bahrain might ignite a similar movement in Saudi Arabia.
That is why, on March 13th, the King received US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and, under his oversight, called for the intervention of Saudi troops.
Since they entered the territory, 25 mosques were completely destroyed (including the historic mosque of Amir Mohammad), and 253 others were damaged.
The gambit is to transform an "Arab spring" popular uprising - pitting a democracy-thirsty population against an absolute monarchy - into a Sunni-Shiite conflict.
The exact number of repression victims is not known, but more than 250 persons are reported missing.
Torture has been reintroduced as a systematic practice.
The military burst into hospitals and arrested the Sunni medics and nurses who were tending Shiite wounded persons.
(Photo: A tank enforcing colonial order in Bahrain. It bears the portrait of Khalifa ben Salman al-Khalifa, who was Prime Minister already during the time of the British and has been irremovable in this post since the country’s fictitious independence.)