On the night of March 13, Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) troops marched into the small Gulf kingdom
of Bahrain in a bid to help local security forces quash weeks of violent anti-government protests. More than three months later, they have successfully completed their mission, and while their arrival in the country caused great fanfare, the Saudis’ quiet exit has gone almost completely unnoticed.
Before Saudi-led troops arrived in the country, thousands of people occupied the main square in Bahrain’s capital Manama on February 14, after heeding a Facebook call to rally for social and political reforms. Although more than 70 percent Shiite, Bahrain is controlled by a Sunni monarchy, which has been criticised for discrimination against its majority population. The protests, which were inspired by popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, dragged on for weeks.
As Bahrain’s government struggled to get the unrest under control, the GCC’s armed forces launched operation “Peninsula Shield”, which they claimed was intended to “maintain Bahrain’s security”. The intervention immediately provoked local
and international condemnation, in particular from Iran, who called the move “unacceptable
Three months after entering Bahrain, the Saudi-led forces have now silently slipped out of the country after having successfully stifled Bahrain’s anti-government protests, thus reestablishing the monarchy’s grip on power.
Since the Saudi’s departure, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has endeavored to sweep this period of unrest under the carpet. However, one of our Observers on the ground describes what life was like in Bahrain before the Saudi tanks rolled out.
Saudi troops withdraw from Bahrain. Video published on You Tube by ShbabShahrakan on June 28.