Saudi Arabia's Support for Bahrain Risks Drawing Iran into the Conflict

(Telegraph-UK) Con Coughlin - Bahrain's Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince, has repeatedly sought to open a dialogue with the Shia demonstrators, with a view to addressing their concerns. But the more the royal family has attempted to reach out, the more intransigent the demands of the protest movement have become, with the more militant calling for the removal of the royal family and the establishment of a Shia state. An estimated 30% of Bahraini Shia are of Persian descent, and maintain contact with relatives in Iran. In the past, this has enabled Iran's Revolutionary Guards to establish terrorist cells in the kingdom, aimed at destabilizing the monarchy. The issue is further complicated by Iran's long-standing insistence that it has a legitimate territorial claim over Bahrain. There is considerable concern within British security circles that the situation could spread into a wider conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with calamitous consequences for the West.

2011-03-18 00:00:00

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