Bahrainis continue protests while Saudi forces and Bahraini security forces assault the population with barbaric force.
Press TV interviewed columnist Allen Roland about the Bahrain revolution, and the future consequences of this humanitarian crisis.
Press TV: Those were strong words made by the Medea Benjamin, the Cofounder of Code Pink. What do you make of them?
Roland: True, but we are not really talking about the central issue here. The Sunni and Shia divide in the country is particularly problematic. It is because of the close family connections many Shia have to Iran. So we are getting closer and closer to a face off here particularly since the Saudis are in this situation between the West and Iran.
The issues are further complicated by Iran's insistence. It has a legitimate territorial claim over Bahrain. In fact, I think a recent Iranian newspaper claimed the Kingdom was in fact the province of Iran.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Ayatollahs have taken a very protective role over the world's Shia. They haven't taken very kindly to over a thousand Saudi troops driving across the 15 mile Fahad Causeway that links the country to Bahrain.
This is the underneath story and we have the West with the fifth Fleet in Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, which is probably the most oppressive state armed to the teeth by the West getting closer and closer to a possible confrontation with Iran.
This is why oil prices spiked to over 114 dollars today. The fundamentalist Wahabbie- Sunni sect dominates Saudi Arabia. They planned a bomb attack that almost destroyed the US in 1996. Iran has responded to the Saudi intervention by cutting diplomatic ties with Bahrain and announced that reinforcements are unacceptable.
However, they are always squaring up with each other. A senior White House security official told this week. Not only would we have a major conflict on our hands in the Gulf, but also the West would be cut off from its major energy supplier. Therefore, it's back to oil again. The West has a stake in Bahrain and a vested interest in keeping our oil supplies and human rights are damned.
That is exactly what that young lady was saying. So she's right on. Once again, the Obama administration is caught like a deer in the headlights trying to talk about democracy, but still protecting their vested interests armed to the teeth in Bahrain as well as Saudi Arabia. There is more to it than just these surface things. It's the whole Shia and Sunni thing, which is very important.
Press TV: Mr. Roland, you spoke about the US wanting to preserve its oil interest in Bahrain, but the US has oil interests in Libya as well, so what's the difference? Why is there a double standard policy towards foreign intervention in Libya and the Saudi invasion of Bahrain?
Roland: Well first of all this is not the same type of demonstration. The CIA has been totally involved in the Libyan situation. The so-called rebels are very suspect. I would not put that in the same category at all. Now we are really talking about having drones. This is definitely Western imperialism at work, but this is not a people. Basically, this is a war by a so-called rebel group in Libya against Gaddafi under the context of a humanitarian intervention.
Now back against to Bahrain. Saudi Arabia is a West stooge government. So Saudi Arabia has accused the Revolutionary Guard of trying to torment unrest among its own Shia.
The majority live in the Eastern province, which is also the location of Saudi oil wealth. Last week when Saudi anti-government demonstrations attempted to stage a day of rage, most of the disturbances took place in Shia towns. Security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and everything else.
You have to get down to the Sunni and Shia level. Then you are talking about what is really happening here. It's just like it was in Iraq. This is why this is so dangerous. The United States, the West and NATO are backing the Saudis because we have an interest in their oil, and the last thing we want to see is the Eastern part of that country lost because that's where most of the oil reserves are.
It's all about oil. It was just recently revealed that the Chaney-Bush administration for the papers was finally released, due to the freedom of information act, which it was always about oil in Iraq.
It's still about oil. It's about the West trying to hold on to its empire. Plus they have the fifth fleet there to. So you got to keep looking at the possibility especially when we have these necons that are still very much in the Obama administration.
What was the last target of the famous three from the West we wanted to take care of? It was Iraq, Libya and Iran. Saudis and Iranians have no love for each other. What a wonder way to start a war! That's why oil prices are going up. That's why this is so dangerous.
The Code Pink lady was right. We have to look at the Saudis and this Sunni and Shia element here. This is what's building this whole thing, and it cuts right over to Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia being involved is the arm of the United States. They are our proxy velvet glove: Saudi Arabians.
Press TV: Mr. Roland, it's interesting that Israel is not taking any clear cut position on the recent issues going on in the Arab world despite it being close to some of these Arab states. What strategy do you think Israel has in the works?
Roland: They don't have to do anything right now. They're watching it all. Don't think that they are not involved. Mossad is always involved to some degree. The key decision here was when the Bahrain-Sunni-Royal family called in the Saudis to help quell and anti-government revolt by Shia protesters. That was the turning point.
When they did that, they literally brought in the West. With the West came what? Torture, and Code Pink is absolutely right, as we are still torturing. We have M. Bradley who's not even been charged for the Wikileaks' information. He has been tortured to some degree and held in solitary confinement in the United States.
We are still doing this. That was the key point. When the Saudis came in, that made this much bigger than it was. Going back to my main point. We have a Sunni and Shia. Remember what happen in Iraq with the Sunni and Shia? That is what we have right here.
This does not look optimistic at all. Why would the Israelis be interested right now? They are much more interested in the Egyptian situation than they are here. I don't even want to bring them in. This is the West saying hey look. We believe in democracy but we are going to use the iron glove.
We are going to use the iron glove in Bahrain. That is where our fifth fleet is. And since we can't directly get involved, we will have the Saudis do it for us. They are our enforcers. That is what's happening. The Bahrainis and the Shia in particular are rightfully revolting and taking to the streets. This has been escalating because it's bigger than just a small country revolting. It involves Iran and the United States too. Remember we are still demonizing Iran over here.
Press TV: You do speak of the Sunni and Shia divide in Bahrain, but the thing is we have Sunni and Shia leaders both arrested and detained by the Bahraini authorities. Why is it that the United States claims it's working towards the freedom of human rights activists? Why isn't doing anything for the freedom of these people?
Roland: We talk out of both sides of our mouth. We talk democracy, but it's always with a velvet glove. Remember the word control. That is what this is all about. We had our wonderful control in the Middle East and it's falling apart. Our empire is falling apart. So we will talk democracy but we want control.
Nowhere is it more obvious than Libya. Now Secretary Gates is saying we are going to use some long-range fighters and bomb droppings with our drones. We are going to have feet on the ground in Libya before you know it all under the context of humanitarian intervention. We can't do that in Bahrain, but we have the fifth fleet already there.
So, we can't really make that drastic a move so we have the Saudis do it for us. We are in bed with the Saudis. All of this is coming to a head, and it's going to get worse before it gets better.