By lex, on May 17th, 2011
In an action that could increase tensions between Iran and Arab monarchies, two Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf carrying Shiite activists to Bahrain were turned back Monday by warships belonging to a coalition of gulf states that is aiding the island kingdom in its crackdown on anti-government demonstrators, according to the activists’ Web site.
The Shiite activists, members of the Islamic Revolution Supporters Association, said the Iranian government did not prevent them from sailing. But halfway to Bahrain, they decided to return to Iranian waters because of “the emergence of threats from the ships of the Peninsula Shield Force and the possibility of attacks,” the Hameyema Web site stated Monday.
The force is a military collaboration by the Gulf Cooperation Council, which consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Bahrain’s Sunni royal family called for its help in March, after mass protests led mostly by Shiite Muslims. Saudi Arabia sent tanks and about 1,000 troops to Bahrain, assisted by police from the United Arab Emirates, as Bahraini forces led a crackdown.
As an American, bred and buttered, I am conditioned to look for good guys and bad guys, throw my weight behind the former and root against the latter. But in this situation I’m left to choose between worse and worser: Iran is the world’s foremost sponsor of state terror, and we’ve a long list of blood grievances to settle with Tehran. On the other hand, it’s hard to condone all the loose skull cracking and peaceful crowd shooting of our Bahraini “allies”.
Without some sort of regime change in Iran, a fight between the Gulf Arabs and their Persian counterparts seems all too likely, if not this year then some few years down the road. Could be interesting to watch, from a polite distance.