Thousands of demonstrators poured into the symbolic center of this key U.S. ally late Tuesday in a raucous rally that again demonstrated the power of popular movements that are transforming the political landscape of the Middle East.
. . .
In Bahrain, the small but strategically important monarchy experienced the now familiar sequence of events that has rocked the Arab world. What started as an online call for a “Day of Rage” progressed within 24 hours to an exuberant group of demonstrators waving flags, setting up tents and taking over a square in the heart of the capital city.
Tuesday began in sorrow and violence, when mourners who gathered to bury a young man, killed the night before by police, clashed again with the security forces. In Tuesday’s melee, a second young man was killed by police.
But as momentum built up behind the protests Tuesday, 18 members of parliament from the opposition Islamic National Accord Association announced they were suspending participation in the parliament.
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Country to country it spreads, where it will stop, all the regional despots dread. The fact that Bahrain’s now in play is somewhat unnerving for at least two reasons. First, the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain. The Fifth Fleet strategically controls the entire region and somehow having the command displaced from Bahrain would be a humiliating military disaster. Also, the unrest is now sweeping into countries that border Saudi Arabia. If Saudi Arabia were to descend into political chaos, Western oil supplies would be threatened and oil prices would skyrocket.
/although, I must admit, after all their years of financing worldwide terrorism, I wouldn’t shed many tears if the Saudi royal oil ticks were being dragged through the streets of Riyadh
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