Bahrain Might Be the Next Place We Have to Worry About

Shiites Muslim protesters face police riot close to Pearl Square, the epicentre of anti-government protests, as they block a near by high way connecting the capital Manama with Muharraq Island, on March 13, 2011. Almost a month into protests calling for deep political change in Bahrain, anti-government demonstrators and the Gulf kingdom's rulers appear to be at an impasse, with neither side backing down. AFP PHOTO/ADAM JAN (Photo credit should read ADAM JAN/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: ADAM JAN/AFP/Getty Images/Getty

Look, Bahrain, no offense, but it's really not a good time for you to start requiring our attention. First, protesters — mostly Shiites trying to take down the ruling Sunni royal family — took their slow-boiling rebellion up a notch over the weekend by beginning to "move from the encampment in Pearl Square, the symbolic center of the nation, to the actual seat of power and influence, the Royal Court and the financial district." Then yesterday 1,200 troops from Saudi Arabia and 800 troops from the United Arab Emirates (majority Sunni nations, both) entered the country to help prop up the regime, and experts predict this my spur Iran, a Shiite nation, to get involved on the side of the opposition, making Bahrain a proxy battle between Middle Eastern powers. "This may prolong the conflict rather than put an end to it, and make it an international event rather than a local uprising," an Iran expert tells the Times.

Already today, Bahrain's king declared a three-month state of emergency there, and a Saudi soldier was shot dead by a protester. So the situation is really starting to escalate. The thing is, we already have two international emergencies to worry about, which is going to be challenging enough. We can barely even keep up with what's happening in Libya as we focus on the unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan. (Not to mention, we have some madness of our own over here that's about to occupy a lot of our attention. It's a basketball tournament, very popular.) So it would be much appreciated if you could hold off for now and wait until the other international crises play themselves out. We really can't handle another one right at this moment.


Iran Calls Saudi Troops in Bahrain ‘Unacceptable’ [NYT]